Have you ever been somewhere and felt unsafe? You know the feeling I'm talking about. You know something is off, and you shouldn't be where you are.
Perhaps you've wandered too far off-trail and there's a sense you're no longer alone. You might have heard a noise, seen a glimpse of a shadow, or simply felt in your gut that things aren't right, and you're in trouble. This sense is known as intuition, and it's one of the most important survival skills you can develop. If you know what I'm talking about you're already a step ahead, and it saddens me that so many people today suppress and blatantly ignore these gut instincts. Worse, they refuse to even carry a can of pepper spray or even a tactical flashlight to protect themselves from the very people intending them harm.
Your intuition is a super power. It's the ability to suddenly know something, without any reason. It's an instinct, like fear causing you to panic, or hunger driving you to eat. Intuition gives you an advantage in a situation. Well, so long as you're paying attention. Often, it'll help you make a quick decision before your mind actually processes what's going on, like walking onto a road but stepping back almost instantly, so that car speeding in the lane doesn't smash into you. Or slowing by that couple on the side of the road before realizing something isn't "right" and quickly speeding away.
That's your intuition. You can use it to get a better understanding of people's intentions, and even to predict the outcomes of a certain situation. Like a news report of a violent assault from someone you used to know, and "somehow you just felt" they were bad news. In a survival situation this could help you steer clear of problems and not get into trouble in the first place. It can keep you alive and out of harm's way, if you simply pay attention.
Trouble is, too many guys write these feelings off. They see a link between this feeling and what they've been calling "feminine intuition" and fail to take it seriously. In my opinion that's a mistake. Intuition is a skill you need in your arsenal, to give you every possible advantage in a SHTF scenario. And if you're not listening to it now, you're bound to ignore it when it could actually help. And that could be a deadly mistake.
For me, I learnt to rely on my intuition in the wild. Following these three steps I became more attuned to the environment around me, often to the surprise of my friends. I'll know who is pulling into my drive by the sound of their car, spot the deer out hunting before anyone else, and have strong opinions of new people which ultimately turn out to be true.
Focus on using all of your senses
Everything we encounter in this world is through one of our five senses. Sight, hearing, feeling, smells and touch. I always laugh at the challenges on Masterchef where the contestants aren't able to identify certain foods by taste and texture alone, but this highlights just how dominated we are by sight. Our eyes are glued to screens all day, and we prioritize this over all else. The first step is to learn to focus. Head out into the wilderness, away from technology and learn what it feels like to just "be." To listen to the world around you and take in the different sights, sounds and smells. To feel the grasses beneath your feel, and the roughness of the wood for your fire. Focus on these different senses and let everything else go.
Start developing all of your senses
But just being aware of your surroundings isn't enough. You need to be able to process the information you're taking in, and actually understand what it means. In this step you need to start using the information available, in an active way. Put a blindfold on and see how well you can navigate your home. Stripped of sight, it's a humbling experience just how foreign your own house can feel. Learn to identify different birds by the calls they make, and what this means for you in the wild. Are they alerting others to your presence, or oblivious to your movements? I'd also recommend practicing your tracking skills to discover how to follow your prey through the wild,
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
In this final step, your goal is to break down the barriers you've slowly built over your entire life. You need to leave comfort behind, and discover just how far you can push your own limitations. Fear is an emotion we normally run from, but it's powerful. Fear heightens your senses, and if you are completing this exercise in the woods you will inevitably run across something that sets your heart racing. Accidentally startling a bear by the river is an experience I will never forget, the way my heart pounded I thought it would explode. I'd also recommend doing a dark campsite one night to experience what true darkness is, and make a conscious effort to be alone and without distraction in the wild. The peace you can find within your own mind will help you get attuned to the signals your intuition is giving.
Your brain is one of the most unique pieces of organic machinery ever created. Without any conscious effort it's constantly absorbing, categorizing and filing everything we encounter in our surrounding environment. Your job is to learn how to listen, and to pay attention to what your gut's telling you. It may just save your life, or the life of a loved one.