Millions of bits of data stream through your brain over the course of a day.  

In order for your brain to process all this information without getting exhausted, overwhelmed, or shutting down, it has a personalized filter in place.

This ‘life sieve’ is called your Reticular Activating System (RAS).  It assists you in your ability to make sense of the world, and it filters out excessive amounts of data to prevent sensory overload. Interacting with the world without it would be far too intense and, quite frankly, impossible.

Your RAS is made up of a net-like bundle of neurons that run through your three-dimensional brain, which consists of:

  1. Hindbrain – coordinates functions necessary for your survival
  2. Midbrain – associated with vision, hearing, motor control, sleep, wakefulness, arousal, and temperature regulation
  3. Forebrain – responsible for a variety of functions including receiving and processing sensory information, thinking, perceiving, producing, and understanding language, and controlling motor functions

Neuroplasticity Creates a Filter that is Unique to You

Over time your RAS becomes more and more personalized to your beliefs, fears, values, priorities, and past experiences, etc.  This is due to the sculpt-ability and modifiability of your brain.

“Just like a computer, your brain has a search function — but it’s even more phenomenal than a computer’s. It seems to be programmed by what we focus on and, more primarily, what we identify with.” — David Allen

This, in turn, strengthens your personal belief systems. The reason is the lens through which you view the world continues to re-enforce itself based on the way you activate and wire your RAS. 

It’s like a self-fulfilling cycle that keeps you in a world view and a realm of life experiences that are completely personalized and also limited to you. This means that while your RAS is involved in determining qualities such as confidence, happiness, and self-esteem, it also can support or hinder you in achieving your goals and reaching the next levels of success.

RAS in Daily Life

Your RAS filters the world according to your priorities and the parameters you set for it.

  • When you buy a new car, you suddenly see that same type of car more frequently.
  • When you take up a new hobby, you start to find others who share the same interest.
  • When you are at a noisy party and cannot make out what people are saying, but you can clearly hear your own name when it’s said.

Your filter is subjective, and it partners with you in attracting a world that aligns with your inner needs, views, and priorities.

Here’s an experiment:

  1. Close your eyes and imagine the colour blue.
  2. Then open your eyes and scan your environment.
  3. What did you notice?

It is likely the colour blue stood out because you’ve already primed your RAS for it.

Without realizing it, your RAS is continuously working for you in order to filter the millions of bits of data coming in and only to present the data that you find important.

All in all, your RAS helps you to see what you want to see. Thus by doing so, it influences what actions you’ll take. This is exactly why you’ll attract what you focus on.

Activate Your RAS For Success

Because your RAS shapes your reality and beliefs, you need to take control of it and leverage it’s functioning to your advantage, by priming it to focus on what you want to attract in your life. 

Here are 2 quick tips:

  1. ‘DO WANT’ vs. ‘Don’t Want’ – Energy follows thought. While it can be easy for your brain to over-focus on a problem, that is not going to change it. Of course, we all need to learn from our mistakes but dwelling on them is another thing. Change and improvements will happen when you create NEW neural pathways and not when you strengthen the old ones that aren’t serving you. 
  2. Keep it Simple – You don’t need to reconstruct your whole filter system. By just replacing one unhealthy habit with a healthy one, it will have a positive ripple effect into all areas of your life.

    For example:
  • Drinking more water daily instead of being dehydrated.
  • Going to bed earlier instead of staying up late.
  • Limiting your time on social media instead of letting it monopolize your schedule, etc.

One new habit will pay off in more ways than you initially realized! Being hydrated, going to bed earlier, or limiting your social media will lead to all sorts of new learning, better health, and productivity gains.  Plus, by mastering one change, it will unleash happy neurochemicals and give you the confidence and motivation to change another habit.

Ultimately, it’s not about being fancy, or complex – it’s about consistency. Whatever you repeat on a regular basis influences your RAS and strengthens the brain pathways that are involved. So, focus your energy on simple changes and show up every day; do them and repeat!

To Your Fit Brain & Fit Life,