One of the most interesting things about being a self-improvement writer is that your mind is always working on noticing ideas to write about. This happens subconsciously a great deal of the time. I will notice several people noticing the same issue in their lives and struggling to deal with it. Sometimes I will read something online or hear it on the news. The reason this works is scientific. It involves the use of a part of the brain called the reticular activating system or RAS. This is the part of your brain that decides what is important and what is not. I liken it to when you buy a new car or outfit and begin to see that very car or outfit everywhere. It would seem obvious that not everyone went out and bought the same thing you did, despite how charming and cool you are. It is just that our brain said “Hey we have one like that. It must be important.”
Why is it important to know that my brain is always on the lookout for great ideas and tools to share with all of you in this blog important? More to the point, how can knowing this benefit you? Glad you asked. Knowing about this phenomenon can allow you to put your subconscious mind to work for you! Once you realize the power of this, it becomes quite exciting. I go into further detail about how to do this in my latest book, Living the Dream, but will give you the abridged version here so you can begin to put it to use. If you would like to delve further into the subject, I highly suggest heading over to Amazon when you are done reading this blog and pick up a copy of that very book.
Do not let this complex diagram intimidate you. I have no idea half of what they are showing us. It does show that the RAS is indeed a real part of the brain, but you do not need to know every nuance to understand how it works, or more importantly, how to put it to work for you. There are several ways to impress upon your mind what is important and what it should work on while you are busy doing more important things like binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix. The first is through repetition. An example I like to give is one that happened shortly after Margie and I started dating. I was at the grocery store and wanted to pick her up a little something to brighten her day. Here is the problem – I had no idea what the heck that would be. Although we had been shopping together several times at this point, I never paid attention to what made her smile. Every time we went shopping after that, I would tell myself “Remember to pay attention to what she likes.” It was through this I learned what kind of sugar she buys, what size of egg and things that just make her smile. I kept doing that so often that even now as my conscious brain is busy reminding her that the store does indeed close and we need to wrap up our shopping trip, my subconscious mind is still noting what brand of hot sauce she likes.
The second way to impress upon our subconscious mind what is important is by creating an emotional attachment to it. To me, being able to create a sense of happiness in the life of the woman I love creates such a sense of joy in my own life that my brain knows it is important. You can create an emotional attachment in your own mind by visualizing the end result you are pursuing. The more powerfully you do this, the more engaged the subconscious mind will become. One way to do this is by using as many senses as you can. Looking for ways to fund that next vacation? Picture the beach, but also smell the salt water, feel the ocean breeze, hear the seagulls and best of all, taste that daiquiri. Soon, you will find your mind catching ads for resorts out of the corner of your eye, or overhearing someone mention they are a travel agent.
Your subconscious mind is working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we put it to work for us, it is like hiring a person to spend their entire day on the lookout for things that are important to us. I can tell you in the example I have used in my own life, it has paid off big time. Whether it is making up for the extremely rare times I do something upsetting in our relationship, or if it is just used to add more joy, I do so with the knowledge that my subconscious mind has gained for me. Hire your own brain today. It will be the best employee you ever have.