Razzing your Way to Success

You get what you focus on.

Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

You may have heard that our brains find it impossible to process negative instructions. Take these examples from adult to child –

  • Don’t spill your milk!
  • Don’t forget to ask your teacher about –x.

Well, you can guess what happens. In spite of a child’s best intentions, the milk is spilled and the teacher is ignored. Why is this?

We have something in our brains called the Reticular Activation System (RAS). It literally gives us what we focus on: a filter of sorts. Our RAS sets its sights on something in order to carry out an activity or behaviour.

The funny thing however, is that the brain cannot understand negatives. We need to conjure up the very thing we are trying to avoid, before we apply the NOT part to that thing. Our RAS is imprinted with the tangible easy-to-understand part of the equation first.

The brilliant thing about our RAS is that we can choose what we tell it.

Our ingrained, often negative, beliefs can in fact be changed in a flash. Just think of the power we can unleash by overplaying the tape from our childhoods and life experiences that supposedly proved all our limiting “told-you-so”s time and time again. All we need to do, is choose something simpler. One thing that we want to become or do. Something for our RAS to focus on and make happen…

Don’t believe me? Try this for 30 seconds, then scroll to the end.

Do NOT think of a pink elephant!

Now wait for 30 seconds without picturing a pink elephant in your mind's eye…

…Scroll down.

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Did it work? Nothing? ok, you win.

A very pink elephant © Narjas Carrington

;)

Note: Andy Gwynn used the verb 'ras'ing in a recent talk on successful selling. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that our beliefs can be changed in an instant via the Reticular Activation System.