Your conscious mind can process 40 bits of data per second. Your unconscious mind can handle 40 million! How do you keep your brain from exploding? This is the RAS’ (reticular activating system) job. It literally screens out all the stuff you don’t need to pay attention to in the moment, such as how your behind feels in your chair right now.
Are You Thinking About Your Behind?
That’s because your conscious mind just sent a message to your RAS, telling it that how your behind feels is suddenly important. Now your RAS is letting this through.
It’s more than a neuroscience parlor trick. Now that you know how this works, you can use it to set and meet your goals.
You literally have to tell your RAS what you want, by speaking, writing and repeating your goals. Then it goes to work, monitoring those millions of bits of data per second to find the people or other resources to help you get there. And — miraculously — all of these start showing up!
Maybe this has happened to you, too. I’ve gone to bed thinking about an issue or asking myself a question: “What can I do to get that potential client — who has been sitting on my proposal for two weeks — to work with me?”
Often I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, or the next morning, with an answer or strategy to use. “I’ll call and say, ‘Something is preventing you from saying “yes” to working with me. If you tell me what it is, I’ll try to find a way to get you what you need so we can get started.'” That’s because my RAS and subconscious have been “chewing” on it all night while I’ve been sleeping. These ideas always feel like such a gift!
Feed Your RAS Well
Here’s the important thing to remember about the RAS. It can’t tell the difference between a positive and a negative message. This is what Henry Ford meant when he said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Have you ever struggled with a proposal or memo and thought, “They’ll never sign off on this idea!” Guess what? Your RAS heard “never sign off on this idea” and is working hard to make sure you use words, tactics and strategies so that happens.
Be careful what you feed your RAS! Use it to get both your conscious and unconscious minds working for you.
Start today by writing a few goals for an important call, meeting or memo — or a conversation with your kids. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the good things your whole brain can do for you!