Things I learned to stay alive in Baghdad:

If you see a bald, clean-shaven man walking your way, run. Muslims like to remove all their body hair before they die. It’s very possible he’s a suicide bomber.

If you see a video camera pointing out a window in your direction, run. Terrorists like to record their attacks to show their bosses, and to post on YouTube.

If you see a car sagging low on its shocks like it’s carrying a heavy load full of explosives, run, because it probably is.

Staying alive involves being aware – noticing what’s out of the ordinary, or doesn’t belong.

That’s true everywhere. You don’t have to be in Baghdad to apply these techniques.

The problem is, we’ve lost our natural animal instincts. When we lived in the wild, we naturally scanned our surroundings for threats. We watched warily for predators, for the unusual, for the out of place. And that wasn’t just animals.

If we saw a stranger, we naturally read his movements, looking for signs of danger: Was he looking around suspiciously? Patting his clothes as if checking to see if something, maybe a weapon, was there?

The students in my seminars come from all walks of life – military, law enforcement, NGOs, and corporate executive ranks. I tell them all the same thing: the same rules apply today. You have to be in touch with your gut instincts. And trust them.

If you’re at the movies on a warm summer day and someone walks in wearing a heavy overcoat, or someone walks into a bank wearing a raincoat on a sunny day, something’s wrong. You may not have to run, yet, but you should notice, and be alert.

As every one of my students, and everyone who has ever worked with me has heard me say:

If there’s doubt, there’s no doubt – get out of there![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]