An Introduction to Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) and How It Is Your Key to Prosperity

Larry Olsen December 17, 2019

I talk a lot in my workshops about changing your perceptions and expectations, and when you do, it will change your life. How does this happen? You will have a new vision about what your life can become, and this new vision will trigger a powerful force within yourself. You’ll “see” new opportunities, you’ll be able to overcome virtually any obstacle, and your life will be transformed by the changes that take place within and around you.

So, what is this “powerful force” used to overcome any obstacle, and how do I obtain it?

I’ve got good news for you: you already possess this “incredible tool.” It’s called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is about as big as your pinky and connects your brain to your spinal cord. What does the RAS do? It is an alerting device that keeps us conscious. This net-like group of cells at the base of the brain also performs another important function. It screens out unnecessary information that’s of absolutely no use in getting what you want.

Think of the RAS as a good executive assistant. The company president doesn’t open all the mail and take all the calls. Somebody screens the mail and the messages, letting only the most important information get through. That’s the key to the RAS: it only lets the information through to your brain that you perceive is important.

We’re bombarded daily with sights, sounds, images and so on. The RAS screens out most of it. Why? Well, for one thing, there’s too much information out there. Imagine you’re on a long driving trip. You’re going hundreds of miles. Do you “see” every exit that you pass by? Every billboard? No. But what happens when you know that you’re getting close to where you want to go? Suddenly all the exit signs and billboards become much more important.

Because it filters information, the RAS can be your best friend or your worst enemy. What if you woke up with a bad attitude and thought that your entire day was going to be a series of inconveniences and negative experiences? Guess what? The RAS would only allow the information and images that support your beliefs to reach your brain and not knowing what’s going on, you believe you’re right because that’s all the information you can see.

But the opposite is also true. What if you’d awakened this morning and said to yourself, “Man, this is going to be a great day! I’m going to have fun with my family, make progress on my visions, and enjoy myself to the fullest!” What do you think that would do to your RAS? It would open it to everything that matches your original premise. The RAS is the key to prosperity, to living the life that you’ve always dreamed about.

When you become aware of how the RAS works and use it to your advantage, you will be able to accomplish more in the next year than you have in the last five, and you won’t have to work any harder.

That’s a heck of a proclamation, isn’t it? That’s the great thing about the RAS: you don’t have to work harder or smarter. You simply have to program your RAS to let in what you want (I’ll get to how you do this in a future blog article, but know it will focus on your vision), and all the information you need will come to you.

So, ask yourself, what have you set your RAS to look for? What are you telling your RAS to notice? My hope is that you’re constantly reminding yourself to look for things that uplift and empower you and those around you. Remember, you will only “see” what you’ve instructed your brain to look for.

Reticular Activating System