What if I told you that you have complete access to the secret ingredient to achieve your goals?
In fact, it’s built into your brain!
Buckle up for a little neuroscience lesson. I’ll keep it simple.
Our senses flood the brain with billions of pieces of information, but the conscious mind can only handle a very small fraction of this information.
The reticular activating system (RAS) is the part of the brain that filters all the sensory information.
RAS is tasked with determining which of these billions of pieces of information is relevant and then breaks them into manageable chunks that the conscious mind can handle.
In the simplest form, RAS is a gatekeeper for your brain. Its job is to make sure your brain doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle. What a powerful and discriminatory role it plays!
So how is this relevant to you and your goals? I’m glad you asked!
Our conscious mind is the goal setter and the subconscious mind is the goal getter. The key for the goal getter’s success – RAS.
Since RAS is tasked with distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information, we can train it to seek out the information we want.
Let me give you some examples that you may have experienced without understanding what was happening in your brain.
Have you ever noticed when you decide to buy a certain color and type of car, you start to see this car everywhere? Or you decide you want to adopt a certain type of dog and suddenly you see this dog everywhere?
This happens because you have consciously decided what you want, you focus on it and it gives the signal to RAS to be on the look out and filter through billions of pieces of information to bring this relevant information to your brain. Viola!
Consider this in the context of a goal. You can train RAS to find the solution or the outcome that you desire. This requires you to consistently focus on what you want and keep your goals in front of you, top of mind.
Now I can hear some of you saying: Wait a minute. I have goals and I keep them in front of me and I’m not getting the results I want. In fact, I’m getting more of what I don’t want.
My question to you is this: What are you focusing on?
We say we WANT x or y goal, yet we FOCUS on the lack of this goal and the challenges to achieve it. We maintain our focus on what IS rather than the outcome we want. Now that you understand how RAS works, what result do you suppose you’ll achieve from this focus?
We want to hit a revenue goal, but we focus on the current balance in our account or the existing receivables and all the challenges we face to hit the goal.
We want to lose weight but we focus on what the scale says and the foods we want to eat.
We want to work on our relationship with our significant other but we continue to focus on the behaviors we don’t like.
Guess what we’re going to get? More of the same.
If we keep focusing on what we have, what we don’t want, our limitations, our fears or what we lack, we are programming our RAS to filter through the billions of pieces of data to bring us more of what we are focusing on. Ouch.
The good news? Change our focus, change our outcome.
It is imperative to be clear on the outcome we desire, keep it in front of us and focus on it and potential solutions – NOT on the current reality, the challenges or the obstacles.
We’ve all heard the stats that the more people write down their goals and keep them in front of them and regularly review them, the more likely they’ll hit them. Now you know the science behind why it works.
Let’s create a habit of training our RAS and tasking our brain to go after the outcome we desire for our goals.
First, create meaningful goals and keep them in front of you. Be very clear on the outcomes you desire and keep a laser focus on them.
Second, task your RAS to lead you to the resources, people, experiences, ideas, feelings, actions, etc., to help you achieve your goals.
Third, expect to receive the outcome you desire. If you don’t really believe you can achieve it, you’ll never achieve it. You’re better off creating a more realistic goal that you believe you can achieve.
Fourth, feel your way into your goals. Get sensory and feel the experience of achievement. How will you feel when you achieve the goal? What will you see? How will it sound? How will you celebrate it? Remember, RAS filters information from your sensory organs so let it know how you want to feel.
Give it a try and be sure to circle back and share your successes!
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