I heard a football coach recently talk about a lesson he imparts to kids, and it hit the nail on the head for living in today’s unpredictable world.
His advice? Have fun. Live your life as you wish, but always “keep your head on a swivel.” To appreciate the beauty of that wisdom, let’s discuss what it means.
In football terms, it refers to an offensive lineman who gets down in his stance and — right before the play — turns his head left, then right, then left again and maybe right yet again, all the while searching for unexpected moves by the defense.
Coaches teach their players to consider all possibilities and advise them to keep their heads on a swivel. Their bodies must remain motionless to avoid a penalty. As in football, so in life.
We all know that things can be pretty dangerous out there these days. You don’t want to live life in fear; but on the other hand, awareness can go a long way toward avoiding trouble — sometimes of the serious variety.
In restaurants and stores, know where a second exit is, just in case.
Walking down an empty street, look around occasionally, just to make sure no one is following you.
At a concert or sporting event, keep eyes and ears open for anything a little suspicious. Sometimes it requires not much more than looking around and checking out the surroundings.
Repeat above recommendations for outdoor parks or public buildings.
Crossing the street when the light signal indicates walk is an exceptionally important occasion. I notice a lot of people see the walk signal and put their heads down and proceed to meander across a busy street, often while looking down at their cell phones.
Your friendly coach here doesn’t need to tell you that there are lots of “distracted” drivers out there.
When you cross an intersection don’t assume cars are stopping. Despite warnings and training, many behind the wheel continue to text or check emails while driving. All it takes is one distracted driver who doesn’t see a red light and we have big trouble.
Finally, you don’t want to go through life paranoid and devoid of spontaneous enjoyment, but “keeping your head on a swivel” is a good habit.
As Cohn-Fuscious would say: “If you are busy rowing the boat, you don’t have time to rock it.”