Reticular Activating System in Goal Achievement 20.12.2007
About a year ago, I bought a new car. I was keen to buy something reliable that would last for some years, so I took a bit of time researching the best options. Strangely, when I did decide on the model, I started noticing the same car wherever I went. I had never noticed it before but now I was seeing it everywhere!
It’s a strange phenomenon that I’m sure you’ve experienced before but it actually has a name: the Reticular Activating System. Let’s simplify it and call it the R.A.S. It’s a fascinating function of the brain that allows you to prioritise things of importance, urgency or particular interest to you. This system can be very handy in many circumstances, even life-saving.
So, how does it work? Well in physical terms, the R.A.S is a web of cells that spread from your brain stem (medulla) to the cerebral cortex, filtering sensory information to your conscious brain. At any given second, your brain is being bombarded with approximately 2 million pieces of information gathered by your five senses. However, it can only process about 5 to 7 pieces of data at a time.
Therefore, your R.A.S acts just as antivirus software works for your email account. It filters out unimportant information and stream-lines your email-box to avoid overload and overwhelm. Take for example a young school boy. He can get terrible maths grades but at the same time he will know every premier league footballer’s name and their scores for this year. How can this be? The boy is not stupid. He has just focused his R.A.S to filter out all information not relating to football.
So, now that you know how your R.A.S works, it is a very handy tool for being more productive and achieving goals. By setting firm targets in your mind, you are actually reprogramming your brain to filter this new information to your conscious mind as a top priority. Watch how much quicker your new goals will be achieved with the help of your Reticular Activating System.
Without goals, your energy and attention tend to spread out in multiple directions like a hose which is set to 'spray'. When you have your goals written down then you are able to direct your energy and attention into directions you want to go. The R.A.S will help you get there!
Enjoy the journey.
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