Did you know?
The part of your brain that helps you achieve your goals, ISN’T the same part of your brain that sets the goals. I explain this in more detail in this video, where I talk about the subconscious mind and how it helps you (or keeps you from!) achieving your goals. But there is yet another part of your brain that has a different important role.
It’s called the Reticular Activating System (RAS), the entryway through which almost all data enters the brain, and which filters the information that comes in, having an effect on what gets your attention.
Think of it this way:
What if you need an opportunity—but you can’t see the one right in front of you? What if you need more customers—but you can’t think of that one incredibly effective thing you could do right now to reach them?
The answers we need are all around us.
The resources we lack aren’t as far away as we think. Everything we need is only an idea away; or in more scientific terms, your Reticular Activating System simply needs to be alerted to bring those ready-to-go ideas/resources/and people to your attention.
You’ve already experienced your RAS in action. Maybe you noticed that when you bought a car, suddenly that kind of car began showing up everywhere. Or, when you thought you invented a clever name for your child, pretty soon you started noticing other children all around you with the same name.
Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not as mysterious as you think.
While these kinds of experience may seem inexplicable, remember that the Universe operates very predictably based on a set of natural laws. The system was set up perfectly in the beginning, and it continues to run perfectly as planned. Almost like a computer program created to handle different scenarios in certain ways based upon the data input it receives. If X, then Y. If A, then B. Now that computers are such an integral part of our lives, we humans are beginning to understand how such a system could be structured and yet appear or feel so random.
You experience this every day.
The New York Times published the following story, which illustrates on the micro how simple a delivery-system like this can be, once it has been set up properly to begin with:
The shoes that Julie Matlin recently saw on Zappos.com were kind of cute, or so she thought. But Ms. Matlin wasn’t ready to buy and left the site.
Then the shoes started to follow her everywhere she went online. An ad for those very shoes showed up on the blog TechCrunch. It popped up again on several other blogs and on Twitpic. It was as if Zappos had unleashed a persistent salesman who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“For days or weeks, every site I went to seemed to be showing me ads for those shoes,’ said Ms. Matlin, a mother of two from Montreal. ‘It is a pretty clever marketing tool. But it’s a little creepy, especially if you don’t know what’s going on.” Helft, M. and Vega, T. (2010, Aug 29). Retargeting Ads Follow Surfers to Other Sites.
As this story illustrates, what shows up can absolutely be a result of the attention you gave something. Click on shoes, and they come back to your computer screen time and again, no matter what site you’re visiting. (In fact, this is exactly what is happening with me and a beautiful baguette ring I clicked on at the JC Penney website a few months ago. I’m not bothered… I think it’s gorgeous. It kind of makes me happy every time I see it. But I would remove the outer stones and only keep the center 5, and I’d put it on yellow gold, and I’m a size 5. In case anyone is wondering.)
So based on what you click on, your computer screen can very naturally become it’s own kind of vision board. Be careful to only click on the kinds of things you want in your life!
Computer software that uses targeted ads is just an example of how life itself works.
Based on what you think, your life begins to take new shape according to the nature of your thoughts. So only think on the kinds of things you want in your life! Think less about the parts you hate. Think more about the parts you love, and think lots about the way you want it to be.
What shows up in your life is very much a function of the thoughts you choose. Corresponding opportunities, people, and resources are brought to your attention in response. Don’t worry too much about the unwanted thoughts that pop in, just replace them as quickly as you can when they show up. And think often and emotionally on your hopes and dreams, because by the same kind of system that marketers use to target audiences, life will bring you the ideas, resources, and people you need to help you achieve them. It’s automatic, like a computer program.
And then expect to find those things! The expectation is what activates your RAS, so you’ll notice them and have a chance to engage with them when they arrive. In many cases those things are already right there, but you just haven’t noticed.
Here’s an example from one of my students of how this works in real life.
She wrote the following to my husband:
So, your wife is a genius! The book was incredible…I have a great story… I could not put the book down, finished it in just a few hours one night. I was at the beach with my kids the next day after I was done, and decided to test the theory. We belong to a beach club defined by huge rock jetties and good shells are hard to come by. We’ve never ever found a decent shell. Anyway, I walked down to the water and realized this was a great place to test…after all, no better place for the universe to be able to provide than the ocean!! So I put my energy on finding those big white gorgeous shells – we’ve never seen them anywhere near our beach. I imagined us all picking them and carrying loads back to the house… I reached down into the water and immediately pulled out a sand dollar – hmmm…
We walked the length of the beach, no shells. I did not let go of my focus. At the end, we went through the lagoon, and my kids climbed up on the last jetty. For the first time, they wanted to keep walking onto the next beach. They wanted to climb down the other side of the jetty and keep walking. At first I said “no” the jetty isn’t really safe to climb over, we could get hurt….blah, blah, blah…
Out of no where my youngest finds a small path that leads right over the jetty. We have never, ever noticed it before. We are now on the next beach, I go down to the water, and start pulling these huge white shells out of the water – bigger that we have ever seen. My kids are picking them up off of the sand…it was so weird! We had armfuls! OH MY GOSH. The jackrabbits had literally turned into shells! It was wild. I sat down dizzy at the experience, and then realized the power. Now, I’m working on doing this with bags of money…I picture myself walking into my back yard pulling up bags of money instead of weeds…hey, you never know!
Shells, check. But what about money?
She wrote again 2 Months Later…
Ok – so you may remember my first experience …after reading the Jackrabbit factor…the shells at the beach. Well, at the end I think I mentioned that I would like to attract bags of money…I have, and I am blown away. In early September I put out …that I would like to have $5,000 within three months. I was willing to work for it (should an opportunity present itself), but really, I just wanted the money to appear…hey, what the heck, one can dream. Well, my parents took us out to dinner this past Saturday evening as a celebration as they have recently come into some money from my Grandmother’s estate (she died in March). At the beginning of dinner my parents handed my brother and I checks for $20,000. Oh my gosh! I now put it out there …when I need about anything …the concept of scarcity is gone from my life…there is an abundance. Once again, thank you for the Jackrabbit Factor!!”
So have you tested it for yourself? Share your story here.
If you haven’t tested it yet, what one problem (big or small) would you solve today?
For help on this topic, read the Jackrabbit Factor (free!)
If you’re ready to try a scientific experiment with these principles, join me now in the Mindset Mastery Program
Related: Reticular Activating System and a Tranquilizer Gun