Sun Tzu, the master and author of the “Art of War” knew that having a powerful grasp on the situation and increasing what is called his “State of Awareness” can lead to victory after victory on the battlefield. In some circles it’s been called the “All-Seeing Eye”, and one that never rests.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.” – Sun Tzu

A simple quote like the one above can be misleading, though, since knowing your enemy, yourself, Heaven and Earth is a complex and rigorous process. It takes a lot of work, yet the payoff is real success. For example:

The folks who live and die in this realm work in the Special Ops world, fire service, law enforcement, and extreme athletes, and this skill puts them in the top 10% of the population when it comes to ability and function.

Within that community there is another group that narrows the playing field, it’s where out of that top 10% emerges a much smaller group that functions constantly at such an extreme level.

It is where intuition, analysis, recognition, experience, knowledge and understanding converge. It’s a place beyond the idea of situational awareness and individuals become more capable than most.

You may or may not know that guy that is always on, the one that never flinches, that is always calm, and that makes life look effortless.

I have some questions for you:

  • How relevant is knowing the situation, yourself, and completing the mission for you?
  • Are you in a competitive field, like the folks mentioned above?
  • How can you become a better you and how do you get there?

As you sit with these questions, let me state that my whole 20+ year career has been oriented around what’s called Situation Awareness. (Note: even though the military is inundated with the term “situational awareness”, it’s not contextually correct). I’m a former intelligence specialist, point man, SEAL sniper, surveillance expert and lifelong martial artist. There is a theme here and it’s all about what’s going on around me with the purpose of doing something about it…

We all have our reasons for increasing our own human potential – What’s yours?

So back to the question, how do you know what’s going on in the world so you can do something about it? News helps, sure. Most of us, however, use our eyes and ears to make on-the-spot assessments. Read Escape the Wolf, a book and program to help build skills.

Good Situation Awareness is a learned SKILL, which means you must be trained and practice this skill continually. Our own ego must be dropped and we have to realize that these skills are competitive, which means we might be fighting for our lives with these skills.

I’ve spent my life applying the fundamental aspects of superior situational awareness. I have pushed myself in this area of study and practice. I feel confident in my abilities to live and function in a way most do not is some crazy-ass places. But… over the years there hasn’t been much that has added to the area of study and practice. I haven’t found the piece that will help me move forward to the next level until now.

I’ve watched a good friend of mine, Jeff Banman, take a disciplined approach to challenging the institutional restrictions that inherently come with the scientific community.

He’s taken decades of research and then challenged it with decades of real world, practical experience from all of us. He’s examined that top 10% we talked about earlier to truly dissect how they function and through that, he’s been able to identify the path that narrows the field from that 10% to the top 4%.

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He’s worked with elite units, clinical psychologists, performance coaches and others to build a program that drives performance and awareness to new heights. Because he has existed in our worlds, come from our communities, he’s been able to achieve one thing that sets him apart from the others… his ability to interpret all of this information and put it into a language of action and understanding.

He’s taught his Operational Mindset seminar for almost seven years, of which I have attended many. I’ve watched as it’s gone through the evolutions and now he’s taken it one step further… he’s put it in your hands.

He’s designed an online community with the learning tools, research and videos. He’s brought all these elements together to enable all of us to expand our own abilities. To take away what’s best each of us and change the outcomes in our own lives.

For example, did you know the best human potential is achieved when the human heartbeat is around 110-130 beats per minute? Lower or higher doesn’t cut the mustard when you are pulling the trigger or fighting for your life. It’s just one of many key components of his training seminars.

Chris Kyle, author of American Sniper and currently the “deadliest sniper” in US military history, said his heartbeat dropped in combat, most likely into this exact range, allowing him to pull off some amazing tactics and keep his wits when being shot at or blown up.

Some of his stories are just plain incredible, but I find it very interesting that he learned such powerful awareness skills and human potential mostly on the job. His unconscious knowledge helped him gain control of the situation and brought his body to the perfect (or almost) balance point of action.

Most of us normal folks would have our heart rate shoot into the 200+ realm pretty quickly, thereby increasing our potential to do stupid stuff, like maybe get killed. (Jeff has plenty of examples of this in his seminars)

Most of us are always looking for new ways of going further, pushing past the norms, driving our bodies to do things that would make most of the population cringe. Here’s a few pieces that drive your mind and push your mental abilities beyond everyone else and will ultimately take you from that uncommon 10% to that extremely uncommon 4%…

If you want to build your ability to sense and act quickly (and powerfully), check out Chris Kyle for some real stories and Jeff Banman for his latest research and new technologies at

As for me, I’m bringing these skills into the emergency preparedness community. That’s my path for now…

Randy Kelley is a former SEAL Sniper (yep, another one!), business owner and lead instructor at the civilian emergency preparedness program Ready 5 in San Diego.