Have you ever had this experience? You decide to buy a new model of car. You’ve chosen the colour and extras, or you’ve trawled the internet and found the exact thing at the right price. You’ve set your heart on it. You’ve weighed the pros and cons of buying it. You’ve made your decision – yes, you’ll get it! Suddenly on your morning commute, when you’re driving around town, dropping the children off, parking up in Sainsbury’s – what’s this?! That particular model of car is EVERYWHERE! What’s going on? Has everyone decided to copy you?
Here’s the thing – there’s a primitive part of the brain called the RAS – the Reticular Activating System. It’s the part of the reticular formation in the brainstem that plays a central role in bodily and behavioural alertness. It acts as a filter for all the incoming stimuli bombarding us from all directions through the senses. Your brain can only process a small proportion of this information at a time. So what gets filtered out and what gets registered by your conscious mind? Simple: whatever you focus on registers. In the car example you’ve set your RAS to notice that model. They were there all the time but your subconscious wasn’t primed to notice them.
So all perhaps mildly interesting when it comes to changing your car but how can this knowledge help us in other ways? Well, when it comes to setting goals for ourselves, to reaching the gold at the end of our rainbow, it’s a very powerful process to harness. You can ‘set the filter’ to allow those things that relate to what you’re interested in through your subconscious to your conscious mind. Once you’ve told your subconscious what’s of interest to you you’ll begin to see opportunities that were there but you weren’t noticing before. You can then consider them and make a decision on whether to pursue them further. It’s seems to happen like magic, or a sudden surge of coincidences. Some people call this the law of attraction whereby the universe provides that which you desire. I don’t know about that but I do know the power of the RAS.
What can you do to help prime your RAS?
Some people use daily affirmations to prime their RAS, other create vision boards of images that pertain to their goals. Whatever approach , by activating your RAS you will notice that things seem to magically appear before you to help you achieve your desires: maybe there’ll be a person who can help you, a useful book comes to your attention, a TV programme full of highly pertinent information, a training course, a job advert etc. Use it to create your future, whether that’s finding an ideal career, a great new partner after a divorce or relationship breakdown or new opportunities to make positive changes in your life.
Be careful what you focus on
Be careful what messages you give your subconscious – I’m rubbish at money-management, I’m bound to hit this golf ball into the rough, I’ll never be able to lose weight blah, blah, blah …
If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right (think about that). Whatever you tell yourself, your RAS will filter accordingly and present to you evidence to show it to be true. This will build a body of evidence that creates a strong belief that it is indeed true. And what do you think then happens? Well, the more likely you are to keep telling yourself you’re rubbish at money-management, you can’t hit a golf ball where you want to, you’ll always make a mess of relationships blah, blah, blah … and how does this kind of self-talk serve you? It’s a vicious circle. Be sure to break it. And be kind to your RAS – give it some positive stuff to work on for you.
Let me know how this pans out for you.
PS I’ll be running a short workshop in Manchester the near future based on these principles and more. Like my page on Facebook at Debra Thorpe Coaching to keep abreast of all my events or see Events & Retreats on my website at www.debrathorpecoaching.com for details.