The miraculous RAS and achieving more success
The miraculous RAS and achieving more success
If you do nothing else but read this section, you will have done much to improve your understanding and ability to achieve greater success in your life. You simply must read about the RAS.
When I first learned about the RAS I was simply amazed! It certainly changed my life for the better!
I would certainly like to fully acknowledge and credit Lou Tice, President of the Pacific Institute, for first making me aware and teaching me about the workings of the RAS in his book ‘A Better World a Better You’.
The workings of the RAS
What I learned, and what I have subsequently applied and proven in my life, is that there is a part of the brain called the reticular activating system. It is a sort of filter, a very special filter, and what it does is filter out and present to you things that are important and valuable, especially if they are very important and very valuable to you.
If you think about it for a moment, it would be impossible for any of us to be completely conscious and fully aware of everything around us. There is simply too much for the brain to absorb. Take a moment to look around you now. For example, you may be looking out of the window and becoming consciously aware of some trees, hedges, flowers, perhaps a road with cars travelling by, a bicycle by the tree, and a gravel footpath leading up to the house. Then suddenly, you become aware of many of the things in the room you are in. You might even become aware of your fingers typing on a PC keyboard, as mine are right now, and the clicking sounds of the keyboard.
In other words, you become consciously aware of something when you put your attention to it, and consciously unaware of something when you do not put your attention to it.
In fact, you become so unaware that you do not even notice it or even see it before you. You seem to ‘select’ things that you want to see and you seem to switch off things and not even see things that are there all the time, but are not of interest to you at that moment. It’s a process of selective perception. The key thing is that you select what’s valuable and important at that moment and you, sort of, ignore the rest.
This is a very necessary and practical thing for your brain to do. Otherwise, with so much sensory information in the universe before you, your brain would explode with far too much information to process. It can only take in a certain amount of information at any one point in time.
Let me give you an example. Imagine you really want a new bicycle. It’s something you really value and it is very important for you to be able to have one. In all probability, in normal circumstances, I can guarantee that you will immediately start to see bicycles pop up all over the place. You will see them being ridden. You will see them parked. You will see them for sale in the local newspaper. You will notice them more in magazines and on the TV and on the internet.
It will seem that everywhere you go there are bicycles!
This is the RAS selectively filtering bicycles from the universe and presenting them to you because they are important to you, you value them, and you strongly desire a bicycle at that point in time.
But, to take the same example further, have you also noticed that if bicycles are not important or valuable to you at all for the moment, and you have no desire whatsoever for one, that you do not see them everywhere you go! In fact, you may not even see or be aware of any bicycles at all, even if they are there! You probably do not really notice them in newspapers, magazines, TV or the internet at all!
But the same bicycles are there in the universe all the time! The only difference is whether you see them or not, based on the importance of your values and desires.
This is the workings of the reticular activating system or RAS.
You can apply this to many circumstances in your life. Whatever is important and valuable to you, and has your attention, you will start to see. Whatever is not at all important and not at all valuable to you, you will probably not even see at all. Sometimes you will not see it, even if it is almost right in front of you.
Achieving success using the RAS
So how can the RAS help us achieve success in our lives?
Well, simply put, if you do not have any strong values and desires and nothing is of great importance to you, at a certain period in your life, you will not see all the events, circumstances and opportunities that are there to take advantage of.
If you have strong values and desires, and certain things are of great importance to you, especially if you feel passionate about them, you will see many events, circumstances and opportunities to take advantage of, and achieve even greater things in your life.
What a great assistant the RAS is! It will work for you. It will help you move towards what you really want. It will focus on the important things and even discard for you the unimportant things.
The secret of the RAS working well for you is to know what you want, and to then develop a strong passion, desire, importance and value for it and then to see events, people, opportunities, and even the object itself appear before you!
But beware! If you place a great deal of attention on negative thoughts and negative things, with much worry and belief that the negative things will happen the RAS will probably present you with them also. They may well happen! The RAS selectively filters what you value, be it a positive or a negative thing.
If you are still not convinced, try to remember things that have been very important and valuable to you in your life so far. For example, maybe you were seeking a loan for your very first car from the bank. Do you remember how it felt that everyone seemed to be applying for a bank loan that week! Do you think about bank loans now? Only if you want one and it’s important to you. Try to remember the successes in your life. Were you passionate about achieving them? Did they have great value and importance to you?
When I talk about the RAS and achieving goals in my workshops, people say to me, ‘Yes Ron, but why do I not achieve all my goals?’ Well one good reason may be that you did not feel the goals to be valuable or important enough, with little or no passion, that’s all. The RAS does not work just on a logical definition of a goal, but it works on the feelings, values, passions, desires etc.
I like to think of the RAS as my personal results engine and assistant. It has eight cylinders and I know that when it is firing on all eight cylinders fully, it is working fully for me in presenting me with situations to better my life. If it is just ticking over, not much is likely to happen.
We all have values and beliefs. We cannot live without them. But are your values and beliefs positive or negative. Are your values and beliefs empowering or limiting you.
Are your values and beliefs strong or weak?
Are you passionate about anything(s)? Could you be passionate about more things in your life. Could you ‘stoke up’ your values and get the RAS working better for you?
You bet! It is critical to your success and it is working for you powerfully or slightly all the time, non-stop!
What are my values and what is important to me right now?
So now that you know what the RAS is, how it works, and how it can help you better achieve success in life, you will probably want to immediately check out what your values are and what is important to you right now. This will then tell you where the RAS is really working well for you right now.
I was once taught, in a time management course several years ago, seven questions to ask yourself, and for which the answers will help you identify your values. A sort of quick personal values audit, if you like. They worked for me so I would like to share them with you. The questions can take anything from a few minutes to several hours, even days, so you might like to try them out, do what you can, and come back to the questions at a later date.
Remember that your values will probably change over your lifetime, based on your changing knowledge and beliefs. For that reason, I like to ask myself the same questions at least once a year. I find it a great exercise to do whilst travelling, especially while flying or taking a train. I even like to do this when I am on a beach on holiday. I find it to be refreshing, inspiring and motivating. They also help me to remove limiting beliefs.
So take a step if you can, here and now, to identify your values and what is important to you right now! Write down your answers and keep them in a binder filed in a ‘Values and Beliefs’ section.
What are the three to five most important things in your own life right now?
Without thinking and any judging at all, in other words just relying on your intuition, what are the two to three most important goals in your life right now?
If you won $10 million dollars, tax free, on a lottery, what things would you first want to do in the first six to twelve months?
If you were told that you had just 6 months left to live, but then no more time, who would you want to spend your remaining time with and what would you want to do?
List what you have most wanted to do in your life, but have not yet done, because you have feared to do it/them?
List what events in your life have given you the greatest sense of well being and/ or the greatest self esteem?
Is there a dream, is there one great dream that you would dare to dream, if you were told that beyond any doubt whatsoever, that you were absolutely guaranteed, with total certainty, you could not fail? What would that one great dream be?
Your answers to these questions will help you identify your strong values and what is important to you right now.
If you remind yourself of these things regularly, even daily, and if you build up your values, desire and passion for these things, the RAS will work even better for you in achieving them.