The simple fact is, there are people out there who are nothing more than a bipedal cheeseburger. They're a self propelled snack pack looking for someone to eat them. There is no helping the truly consumable among us. -- Ken Cook, a term coined at SDF.
Pretend you are a mugger. You want your score, but you also don't want to be caught or shot. So you wait for the right person to come along. After all, you're not exactly going to be late for work. You size up people as they walk down the street.
Are they distracted? Are they looking around, or walking with their eyes up? Do they walk with a purpose, shoulders up, or are they shuffling along with a sort of half-glazed, half-asleep look in their eye?
Which one would you choose to attack? If you're like me, one looks like a harder target, while the other looks pretty easy; a big, tasty, cheeseburger if you will.
Ok, you get it. Walk around with your eyes up and look tough. Right?
BZZZ. Sorry. What's the use in looking around if you're not noticing anything? So how do we become accustomed to processing information? Simple. By practice.
Here's a really simple awareness drill to practice in class with your students.
Line everyone up, and ask them to close their eyes (you can do this at the beginning of class, or wait a bit, doesn't matter.)
Now ask one of them at random: "who is directly in front of you? to your left/right/behind?"
Shuffle the class, and do it again (for example, go from rows of 4 to rows of 5.)
Black belts should be able to close their eyes and name everyone in class.