What is Your Reticular Activating System?

Your Reticular Activating System the gateway to achievement.

In order to succeed in life, to be great and achieve greatness, you need to understand how your brain can work for or against you.

Did you know that you can learn to put your mind on autopilot to accomplish your goals and live the life you desire.

As human beings, we experience the world around us through our five senses. We are consistently taking in and processing information we receive around us.

In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi concludes that “we filter around 2 million bits of information per second down to 7 plus or minus 2 chunks of information.

This means the data available to your central nervous system will go through a process of deletion, distortion and generalisation in order for you to make sense of all the information.

This unimportant data gets filtered out by a bundle of nerves at the core of the brain stem; the control center, this is called the Reticular Activating System or RAS for short.

Search and acquire tool

The Reticular Activating System is a kind of search and acquire tool, it’s very good at finding material in your environment that matches your current interests and focus.

It’s the part of your brain that takes care of your focus. Just like a bloodhound, you tell it what you’re looking for and off it goes. It filters out information that is not important to you, and concentrates on finding what you’ve told it to look for.

More importantly you can train the Reticular Activating System to recognise opportunities, objects, articles, ideas etc, and use it to help accomplish your goals.

The Reticular Activating System is the main reason why goal setting works. By writing your goals down, and focusing on them you are telling your RAS what information you find important and valuable.

There is an incredible amount of processing going on behind the scenes; but the Reticular Activating System is excellent at recognising and using information to achieve your goals better than you could on a conscious level.

Your Reticular Activating System will start to connect the dots and immediately go to work in finding ways you can align yourself with your goals and dreams.

Because the Reticular Activating System is efficient in what it does, you should make sure it is being used to improve and enhance your life, as it can inadvertently be used to sabotage your life.

Be Aware of your self-talk

The Reticular Activating System becomes activated when you set goals and focus on them, it becomes attune to how you think, how you feel and responds to “inner self-talk”.

So be careful what you say to yourself and the thoughts you hold in your mind, they shape the world in which you live, they will become your self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you keep telling yourself you can’t drive a car, or you can’t do selling or speak to people, your mind will go to work to make sure you attract only the things that would be in agreement with what you currently believe, thus reinforcing your experience of not being able to drive, or speak to people.

The Reticular Activating System is a self-filtering system that chooses what you accept and reject based upon your beliefs, values and prejudices.

So next time you think about why things happen the way they do in your life. Just think about what you are currently focused on, what are your beliefs, about money, work and relationships?

You may find that you need to change the way you view the things around you, as well as change the things you focus on most in your life.

So in closing – learn to program you RAS to what you would like to manifest into your life.

Mark Csabai

Mark Csabai is an NLP Life Coach in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He works with clients in and around the Free State to help them achieve more, manage stress, build self-worth, increase confidence, overcome fears and help maintain a better life-balance.