Friday, May 23, 2008

If What You See is What You Get - What do You See?

I am going to explain to you how your Reticular Activation System (RAS) works and how to use it to get more of what you want. OK, so now you want to know more...

Our Reticular Activation System, or as it is also referred to on Wikipedia as our Reticular Activating System, is one of the most underused tools that we, as humans, have the potential of utilizing.

How many times have you bought a new outfit, car or a cherished item and suddenly everyone else has that same exact dress or vehicle? Why does this seem to happen? It could be because you have so much influence over others that everyone wants to wear what you are wearing or drive what you are driving, but I imagine that many of the people that you see wearing your clothes or driving your car don't even know you. Hmmm.... so then, why are there suddenly so many people with that same car, when before you bought the car, hardly anyone else drove one, or at least you didn't notice them. And, suddenly, you want to subscribe to my blog.

And that is the key right there. You didn't even notice them before, because until you decided to make that item important to you, you didn't notice it. The cause of this is due to the fact that our brains see literally thousands upon thousands of images every single day. Our conscious brains can't possibly retain all of this information, so our brains were created by God (personal belief - not to get off subject) with the ability to sort out what is important to us vs. what is not. It does this on a sub-conscious level and it is done within nano-seconds of taking in an image. For a great BBC article about this see: Brain 'irrelevance filter' found (thanks to misterDog for pointing out the article in the BlogCatalog(dot)com discussion on this subject.)

Stick with me here, I will be getting to the good stuff in just a moment. If we had to consciously make a decision about every image, sound and touch that entered into our brains, we would become incapacitated due to the overwhelming amount of decisions we would need to make just to use the restroom. And, that could get ugly! By filtering out the items that our brain determines are "unimportant", than we can free ourselves up by only noticing things that are important.

Using the Reticular Activating System to get what you want!

What is important to us, is what gets noticed. However, most of us don't realize at any given moment, what "script" we have given our RAS to run, so what we notice, is left up to whatever we randomly focus on the most. And, most of us don't realize that we can change that script, any time we want. Many things have, in the past, simply slipped by us like a business opportunity, a friendship, a relationship or even another person in need.

Our thoughts control our RAS, meaning that whatever we focus our mind on most, is what we tend to see in life. For example, someone who is always looking for the worst in people, will usually find it. And, someone who tries to make the best of the situation, usually does.

Whatever we focus on (or think about) the most, is what we get more of.

In this great post by Jerry Graham on his blog The Coaching Pair he describes how most of our daily thoughts are negative.

In his post: More Ant Poison Instructions:

A glad heart makes a happy face; (Pv. 15:13a; NLT)

Let’s serve up one more plate of ANT poison. If you recall, earlier this week, I spoke of ANTs, an acronym for automatic negative thoughts. Research shows that as many as 80% of our 60,000 thoughts a day are ANTs.

I'm here to tell you today, that if you want to, you can change that. You have the power and the ability to do so. And, it's not that difficult to do. All you have to do is change what you think about most. In fact, we are commanded to do this in the Bible:

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB) "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
The next time you feel yourself slipping into a pattern of negative thinking, or hopelessness look up, look to God. Change what you are focusing on. Change your focus to those things mentioned in the verse above. Truth, Honor, Righteousness, Purity, Love, Good Reputation, Excellence, Praiseworthyness. Think on these things.

Graham continues in his post:

...Have the intention to notice everything good that happens to you: any positive thought you have, anything you see, feel, taste, hear, or smell that brings you pleasure, a win you experience, a breakthrough in your understanding about something, an expression of your creativity–the list goes on and on. This intention activates the reticular activating system.”

In conclusion, what you see... is truly what you get! In other words, what you focus on most, is what you will notice in your life. This, then, becomes your reality. So, I ask you. What have you been focusing on?


  1. Wow, lots and lots of things to think about. thanks!!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this information, very interesting.


  3. I have noticed that also! A friend of mine bought a new car that we never noticed, but once he had it, it seemed to pop up everywhere. That's a really cool bit of information.