Mindsetting & Personal Security

While working on a project on kidnapping prevention techniques recently the subject of mindsetting came up.  By mindsetting we mean spending time considering potential situations that may occur and thinking through potential responses.  This will help you develop a gameplan or a framework for responding to potential threats.


The principle of mindsetting is discussed in detail by Sanford Strong in his 1996 book Strong on Defense.  I highly recommend Strong on Defense – though a little dated it provides very clear and straightforward guidance for preparing to face violent crime.  My only caveat is that the book is very US-centric and some of the guidance is a little too black-and-white so readers should take that into consideration – otherwise it’s very good.  Strong goes into detail about factors to consider with mindsetting and visualization.


Back to mindsetting:  When doing this you need to concentrate on the more likely possible situations that might occur and practical effective potential responses.  To the degree possible you should choose simple responses that can be applied across several different situations.  Giving yourself too many responses can lead to paralysis should a situation occur.  As an example if you are living or traveling in a place where criminals, insurgents or others set-up unauthorized roadblocks and stop vehicles to carry out robberies and kidnappings you should consider what actions you should take if you encounter one of these roadblocks.  If you use a driver you will want to discuss this with the driver and even consider conducting immediate action drills to practice what you will do if the threat level warrants it.  By doing this you prepare yourself and hopefully will be able to respond more effectively if an incident happens.  Even if you have to shift from your original plan – and you should leave yourself the flexibility to do that – you will at least start with a roadmap for action in place.


This is an exercise that you can do anywhere and should do regularly – especially if you are operating in a high threat environment.  This does not have to be limited to physical responses – you can do it for numerous other types of situations as well.  For example if you are working or living in a location where there is a high threat of detention and possibly interrogation by the local authorities you may want to work through verbal responses or scripts to prepare yourself for that type of situation.


This type of mental preparation can cut reaction time and allow you to have a more thought-out response even when there is no time for thinking because you have already considered the situation, or one very much like it and determined how you will respond.  You can use newspaper articles, incident reports and other sources about the type of events that occur in the environment where you are operating to devise the most realistic scenarios.



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