Have you ever noticed how you notice things? Wonder why some things get your attention, and others pass by completely unseen? You can thank your Reticular Activating System (RAS) for this filter. The RAS is responsible for sleep/wake cycles. And for conscious/unconscious states, and knowing how it operates can be very helpful in making real changes in your life and behavior.
So why do brain wiring and systems matter? It turns out that if you dedicate some concious attention to a topic, you can activate the RAS so that it will help you in your goal. For example, we have all had the experience of buying a new car – and then noticiing that everyone else just bought the same model! Those cars were there in the enviroment all along, but the act of evaluating and purchasing a car helped you to ‘see’ them.
Start thinking about the goals you have for your self – how can becoming more conscious of something help you?
Let’s use the RAS to our advantage. Think about things you want to have happen, elements you are hoping to add into your life, and then see what the RAS does with that information. Those looking to improve their presentation skills often find that if our trainers point out their ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ while they are happening, they can begin to hear them without assistance after a few minutes. The RAS takes over and makes the presenter conscious of the ums in an effort to elimate them completety. There is a Buddhist proverb that states, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Readiness requires awareness, and that relies on tickling the RAS.
So, what would you like to improve? Start the process of putting conscious attention to the issue and see how much progress you can make.