This is an excellent article. We’re overwhelmed with stimulation on a day to day basis, so our brain does boot stuff out of short term memory. This can be a major problem, especially when you consider your own personal safety.
My friend runs a martial arts school where he preaches awareness. I’ve heard him ask a similar questions about how many steps are in your front stoop. How many books are on the bookshelf by your bed? Most people don’t notice. They also don’t notice dangerous things around them either.
My friend loves Sherlock Holmes and teaches games that build awareness. He practices them with his children. He plays the exit game where his kids point out the exits to every building they walk into. This is valuable if you have to leave a place quickly.
They also play the shoe game where they look at the shoes people are wearing every so often. People who are threatening may be hiding something in their hands — police are trained to look at people’s hands for weapons. My friend believes if he gets you in the habit of noticing the lower parts of peoples’ bodies, you’ll notice their hands.
He also plays general people watch games with his kids. How many people are walking on your side of the street? What color shirt is the guy in the table next to us wearing? What do the couple standing next to you look like? He turns it all into games. He explains these games to his students too and encourages them to play them either on their own or with their kids.