Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning

Brain Fact Friday on “Using the Reticular Activating System to Set Your Intent and Achieve it!”

March 5, 2021

Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, for our very first Brain Fact Friday episode.

When we recorded episode #109[i] on “Achieving Quantum Level Results Using Price Pritchett’s You Squared Principles” we announced we would be pulling out an important Brain Fact every Friday to dive deep into some of the brain-based strategies we are offering in each episode.

I love how my good friend Samuel Holston and Kirin Goy pull out their brain tools on their podcast Brain Tools[ii] or how Lewis Howes has his 5 Minute Fridays on The School of Greatness Podcast.[iii] And I did mention one of the top strategies for taking your results to the next level is to find a mentor who is achieving outstanding results and do what they are doing—so we are following in their footsteps.

BRAIN FACT: Did you know that Giuseppe Moruzzi, from the University of Pisa, is responsible for discovering the Reticular Activating System?

What is the Reticular Activating System and How Can it Help You?

To achieve your goals, or things that you want in your life, learn how to understand and use your Reticular Activating System[iv] which is a filter in your brain that helps you to focus on the things that are important to you. If you have heard the idea that “energy flows where your attention goes” this explains why putting some focus on what you want to create in your life is so important. Be very careful of where you are putting your focus, because your RAS will help you to achieve whatever you are focused on, good or bad. There really is a power of making your environments work for you, not against you.

Tobias van Schneider explains how the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that’s a “bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information, so the important stuff gets through.”[v] He believes that the Reticular Activating System can be trained, and I agree.

Using the Reticular Activating System

So let’s apply this important brain discovery to our daily life. First, think of when you have noticed this system at work in your life.

I remember a time I met someone at an event, and I asked him what he did for a living. He said, “I’ll tell you, but then watch out, because you will never forget me, and you’ll see what I invested EVERYWHERE” and he went on the share he was one of the people responsible for the MAXON ® Liftgate you see on the back of trucks. He was right. I never forgot him, and think of him every time I see that yellow Maxon sign while driving. That’s my RAS at work.

So how do we use this part of our brain to achieve our goals? Just knowing that it’s there is a start. We have a part of our brain that helps us to filter out what we don’t need, and focus on what we do need. This is why saying your goals out loud is so important. Know what you want, say it out loud, expect it, and let your brain help you to achieve what you want. It’s really that simple.

Sorry if now you will also see the MAXON sign everywhere. This also happened to me when someone mentioned the country Botswana. I had never heard of this country at the time, but after hearing about it, for some reason, I couldn’t stop hearing about it. IT appeared on the news, in the articles I was reading, and reminded me again that what we focus on, we notice—everywhere.

 I hope you have found our first episode of Brain Fact Friday to be helpful. Stay tuned for EPISODE #111 next week with Horacio Sanchez on his new book, the Poverty Problem.[vi]


[i] Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast Episode #109 with Andrea Samadi

[ii] Brain Tools Podcast with Samuel Holston and Kirun Goy

[iii] Lewis Howes School of Greatness Podcast

[iv] What is the Reticular Activating System May 2013

[v] If You Want it, you might get it. The Reticular Activating System explained by Tobias van Schneider (June 22, 2017)

[vi] The Poverty Problem: How Education Can Promote Resilience and Counter Poverty's Impact on Brain Development and Functioning by Horacio Sanchez (January 2021)

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