I believe there are two kinds of smart – “street smart” and “book smart.” We need both to navigate successfully through life.
It seems as if people tend to have more of one than the other. A lucky few have a good amount of both. If I had to choose between two, I’d choose to be street smart. The reason why is that I don’t want to be a victim. A good dose of street smarts can often steer a person away from trouble.
Street smart is often the voice in the back of your head that is telling you that something is not quite right. Sometimes we choose not to listen to that nagging voice. We are more likely to ignore the voice when we have been consuming alcoholic beverages. Alcohol tends to turn down the voice’s volume. The more we drink the quieter that voice gets. Once that voice is silenced we tend to put ourselves in bad situations or to do things we would not do if we were sober.
As a first sergeant I see firsthand the negative effects of over consumption of alcohol. It upsets me when an Airman gets into trouble or is victimized because they silenced that voice. Overuse of alcohol makes us vulnerable and there are people who think it is okay to take advantage of that vulnerability. I do not believe people who take advantage of others are justified in their actions.
Instead I believe they are in the wrong, and they should be punished for their actions. I also do not believe if someone puts himself in a vulnerable situation and becomes a victim, it is his fault. But I do believe that if you silence that voice with overindulgence of alcohol, you greatly increase your risk of becoming a victim.
What can you do to keep your street smarts honed and stay out of trouble? When you go out, make sure you have a plan, a backup plan and a backup to the backup plan. Don’t silence that voice telling you to steer clear of danger. When consuming alcohol know your limits. Don’t let others pressure you into over indulgence.
Lastly, listen to that nagging voice in the back of your head. If it is telling you something is not quite right, listen to it and get yourself out of that situation. If you do these things you should be able to go out and enjoy yourself while staying safe.