What is “RAS” or the “Reticular Activating System” and how do we get it?

Answer: We all have it; the question is how we choose to use it?

First, the trick is to understand how this part of our brain works. Most of us never learn, thus, we do not reap many of the incredible benefits from the system. So let’s get clear on RAS and how it works. As you can see in the illustration, the RAS is near the stem of the brain. It absorbs information from the senses (sensory information) and then filters and prioritizes all information and delivers to the brain whatever subject matter it has been taught to deliver.

Most of us, however, have never taught our RAS to deliver anything because we didn’t know this filter system existed or how it can benefit us. The system is stimulated by what we focus on. It’s like having our own, personalized “Google” built into our brains to search, scan, find and access all the information we’d want or need to develop an idea, thought or project. It’s really that simple. Well, maybe it’s a little more complicated!

An example of how it works, even when we’ve not programmed it, is as follows: You decide that you’re going to go buy a new car and you do. You buy a black, 3 series, four door BMW. You drive off the lot and over the next several months, you notice an abundance of “black, 3 series, four door BMWs.” The funny thing is, until you personally focused on that car and decided to purchase it, you never realized so many people drove this particular car or that so many of these cars existed. This is RAS at work.

When you focus on something, all the data and information on that “something,” regardless what it is, is filtered, prioritized and sent to your brain for use. If we’re not purposeful in utilizing our RAS, it just seems like a bunch of random data coming to us, which is somewhat interesting and coincidental. Once understood, we can harness this brilliant part of our brain and put it to good use. A great habit to create, if you don’t already do this, is to take time to think every day. Set aside time each day to focus on your dreams and passions, even if they are so big they seem impossible. Once you focus daily, your passion and/or dream will become clearer. Become a student of how or what would make your dream possible. Be a believer and allow your passion to fester and grow.

What we know is that successful leaders of a cause are super passionate as well as clear and focused on their goals. They tend to be creative and thoughtful. It’s amazing how they seem to attract the right people and circumstances to drive the cause. One of the reasons is because they have programmed their RAS to “Google” their brain and capture all the sensory information that may be relative to the goal.

All of this brain power is going on behind the scenes and is, in part, how the “law of attraction” works on both a physical and spiritual level. When we become focused on a new passion, many things change in our lives, including the dreams we have at night.

It’s exciting when new thoughts, ideas and answers begin coming our way.

In closing, I would recommend that we remain humble, become vulnerable and maintain an open heart. This enables our RAS to process all the possibilities we are focused on.

The key successful leaders understand is being deliberate and selective about what they’re focusing on.

Remember, RAS works regardless what the focus is on so be clear that if we focus on the negative, then we are filtering and prioritizing negative stuff to come into our brain and lives. If we take time to think every day about living a big, happy, crazy life full of big dreams, our RAS will bring all that positive data to us and help us build the life we choose.

The bottom line here is we are responsible for our thoughts, successes and failures in life. It truly is up to us. I thought

this simple concept was super cool and wanted to share it. The RAS dynamic is an easy one to implement and returns maximum benefits.