Your brain is a very very complex organism. Theory says that we only use 10% of it and considering the amount of trouble we can get into with only 10% perhaps that’s a good thing. Our brain has the capability of being aware of everything which is going on around us. But the problem is that there’s no way we could process that amount of information without going crazy. Fortunately, our brain has a little mechanism that allows us to focus on what is important to us.
The Reticular Activating System (Reticular Formation) is a part of our brain which is involved in arousal and attention, sleep and wakefulness, and control of reflexes. It filters information based on what we are interested in and what we need to know at that moment. For example, it is well-known that any noise a baby makes during the night will wake their mother. The reticular activating system (RAS) is aware that listening for baby is important. Thus when the baby makes noise, the RAS wakes the mother.
Another example of the system at work involves your name. The reticular activating system is aware your name is important to you. When you hear your name spoken by somebody, even if they are not standing next to you. The RAS alerts you, and in a reflex action you will turn and look in that direction.
Finally, another example of this is seen around the time you are considering purchasing another car. You will decide on a make and model that you’re interested in, read up on it, and possibly go to the dealer and take it for a test drive. What you are doing is telling your reticular activation system that you are interested in this car. In next to no time you will start to notice a multitude of this particular model of car on the roads as you drive. You will even start to believe that a large percentage of the population drive that model car. However, it’s not that it is the only car on the road, but it’s the only one that you are noticing. The RAS is not bringing other car models to your attention even though they are there.
It is entirely possible for us to control what information we are aware of. A negative person seems to be trapped in a negative spiral all the time due to their reticular activation system drawing attention to what is negative in their life. Negative people tend to focus on the negative, and the RAS obediently points out negatives and ignores the positives in the process.
Successful people expect to find opportunities. The reticular activation system is, therefore, searching out opportunities. Individuals who are unsuccessful in life are not looking for opportunities and wouldn’t even see them if they fell over them.
You can control the information you receive. What you deem as important determines what things you will see happening in your life.
Here are the steps to do that
1. Decide what you want
2. Focus on it. Invest time learning all you can about it
3. Your reticular activation system sensing the importance will start to find information and opportunities based on what you want.
You are way more powerful than you think but for this to work for you must be genuinely interested in experiencing what you want. If you’re not really interested, you will not focus on it and will not educate yourself. Many people say this sort of practice does not work. However, they have just chosen something which they merely wish for and not actively desire.
It is not sufficient to want something because someone else has it. Your must want it for yourself.
(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017
07 3458 1725