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Setting Your Intention: Harnessing the Power of the Reticular Activating System for Exponential Growth

By: Shel Hart

How often have you set a specific goal, only to find that you begin to notice opportunities or ideas related to it? Perhaps you've decided to buy a new car and suddenly, it seems like everyone around you is driving that same exact model. This isn't mere coincidence; it's the work of your Reticular Activating System (RAS). By understanding and setting our intentions deliberately, we can program our RAS to amplify our efforts and bring the necessary signals to our conscious mind.   

What is the Reticular Activating System?

The RAS is a network of neurons located in the brainstem that acts as a filter for the myriad of sensory information we receive daily. It determines what data gets priority and attention in our conscious mind. The RAS filters out the "noise" and brings to our attention the information aligned with our beliefs, values, and—most crucially—our intentions.

The Power of Intention

The brain, in its natural design, seeks clarity. When we set clear intentions, we provide the RAS a specific focus. This is why visualizing our goals, affirmations, and even the act of daydreaming can be so powerful. They give the RAS a direction. If your intention is to become more health-conscious, the RAS will start to highlight information or opportunities related to health and wellness. It might be a new gym opening nearby, a friend mentioning a yoga class, or even a sudden awareness of healthier food options.

Reprogramming the RAS

Can we "reprogram" our RAS? Absolutely. By changing our narratives, focusing on new priorities, and setting clear intentions, we essentially provide the RAS with a new directive. Here’s how:

Define Clear Intentions: Start by asking yourself what you truly want. Whether it's personal growth, better work-life balance, or a specific achievement, be as specific as possible.  Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, and time bound). 

Visualization: Dedicate time daily to visualize your goals. This serves as a constant reminder to your RAS about what's important. Create a vision board or journal if it helps.

Affirmations: Repeat positive affirmations that align with your intentions. Over time, these repeated messages rewire your RAS and, in turn, your perception.  Affirmations examples could be: 

For Self-Worth and Confidence:  "I am deserving of love, respect, and positive experiences. My worth is intrinsic and unchangeable."

•       For Achieving Goals:  "Every step I take is bringing me closer to my dreams. I am capable, determined, and resilient."

•       For Health and Well-being:  "My body is a temple, and I nourish it with love, care, and healthy choices. Every day, I grow stronger and more vibrant."

•       For Overcoming Adversity:  "Challenges are opportunities for growth. With each obstacle I face, I am becoming more adept, wiser, and more resilient."

•       For Abundance and Prosperity:  "The universe is abundant, and it conspires to bring prosperity and success into my life. I am open to receiving all the blessings that come my way."

Limit Negativity: Be mindful of the information you consume. If you're constantly exposed to negative news or pessimistic conversations, your RAS will consider these as priorities. Make an active effort to surround yourself with positivity.  You are ultimately the average of the 10 most prominent voices you surround yourself with. 

An Example: Changing a Career Narrative

Consider John, who has been in a steady job for a decade but feels a lack of fulfillment. Every day, he dwells on his dissatisfaction, and his RAS, in response, consistently imprints negativity and highlights more negative attributes of his job.

John decides to exercise his free will and change his narrative. He begins to visualize a job where he works within his gifting, feels valued, has a flexible schedule, and can pursue his passion. He sets clear intentions to find such a job and repeats affirmations like, "I am deserving of a job that fulfills me." Soon, he starts noticing job postings, networking events, or even casual conversations pointing him toward opportunities that align with his new vision. The change doesn't happen overnight, but with consistent effort and a reprogrammed RAS, John finds himself in a job that checks all his boxes.

Our bodies are designed brilliantly and harness the power to ascend or decline.  The RAS is a tool waiting to be harnessed. By setting clear intentions and aligning our daily actions and thoughts with those intentions, we can create an environment where success and balance are not just possible, but inevitable. Remember, the brain seeks what the mind sets. Give it a clear direction, and watch the exponential results unfold.



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