I Like To Watch The Door

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I’m sitting on a pool deck right now, at a cabana which can be somewhat partitioned off for semi-privacy. There was a curtain blocking my view of the entrance. I maneuvered the curtain to be tied up and not flowing in the wind, as an open curtain would have blocked me from seeing the entrance to the pool deck that everyone must pass through.

That view is more important to me than privacy.

I don’t have a true conscious reason to need such a view.

I have never been ambush-attacked at a pool. I’m in an area where such a thing is not very likely to happen. But the need is still there, despite all that.

This way of thinking leaks out of me in other ways, too.

  • I will not sit in a restaurant with my back to a door.
  • When I wake up in the morning, before the bathroom, I always peek at the front door to make sure it’s closed.
  • Save for when I’m running or biking, I never move about in the streets with music blaring in my ear, which would limit my ability to hear what’s going on around me.
  • I don’t park my car head-in unless the posted signs require it.

I was sitting in the passenger seat of car with a woman once. We were having conversation, and she noted how I continuously checked the side and rear view mirrors. We were in a mall parking lot, and she was parked head-in. All the action, aside from our personal interaction, was behind us.

In Philadelphia where I’m from — and probably all the east coast, we call this bring “on-point.” paying attention to everything, noticing stuff, seeing how people move and never being caught by surprise.

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There are many ways to be on-point, though, aside from watching the people walking behind you in a mall parking lot. Take note:

Get information from as close to the source as possible. You know what they say about how fast a lie moves vs. the speed of the truth. Bloggers who are paid by the word and click-thru make “stories” out of rumors. TV networks create debate shows out of made-up conflicts that take on a life of their own.

And because the average person’s life is boring, people pick up on this garbage and spread it around as truth. Your job is to stay as far away from this as possible. Accept no information which you haven’t verified. Don’t believe a story that “everybody said” or which comes from unnamed “sources.”

And keep enough going on in your own life that these sensationalism don’t draw you in.

Be early. On hit HBO show The Wire, Chris was a well-known killer with a Deadly reputation. When planning a murder, Chris would always arrive at the location of the job hours ahead of time, to scope the scene and make sure no one was counter-plotting on him at the same time.

Chris ended up imprisoned, but was never caught unprepared.

They say the early bird gets the worm. Well, the early person gets the freshest information, the cleanest look at what’s really going on, and the clarity of knowing the terrain before anyone else arrives. All of which play a role in winning.

Let late people be fashionable. Everywhere in life where time matters — airports, paying taxes, court dates, your job — being early is preferable to late. Being on-point isn’t a cool contest. And there’s nothing cool about being unprepared or being the last to know something.

Keep your mind free of junk. It’s hard to be on-point when you’re high on drugs, drunk from alcohol, or groggy from a lack of rest. Actually, you can’t possibly be as On-point as you could be if any of these is affecting you.

In addition to that bodily junk, you have other junk like “reality” TV, rumors, silly disturbances people try to rope you into, and your own lack of focus on the task at hand. Pay attention and stay mentally where you need to be.

Being on-point is not about always watching your back or some continuous paranoia about people and life. It’s about knowing what’s going on and being prepared to take advantage of it, before it takes advantage of you.

Who’s that behind you?

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