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How Controlling Our RAS Can Make Our World a Better Place!

First published on June 4, 2023 - Mindset Made Simple Tip #1

In light of all that is going on in our world today, I thought I would throw out some thoughts on how our brain takes in information and how this process may draw us toward or push us away from where we really want to go or who we really want to be…and affect how we see and react to the world around us.

I have spent the past few days worried about Amber Lowe, a kid who played for me at Cleveland State and at Akron, who is now a police officer in Akron working midnights. Amber is a black officer on the streets during a tough time. I can only imagine what is going on in her head as she has witnessed all that has gone on, not only in Akron, but all over the country. I can only imagine how all of this affects her…and has her whole life.

I have never walked in Amber’s shoes, but I am sure the world had been harder for her than it has been for me, which makes me incredibly sad. I love Amber as much as I love my son. I trust her with my life and always have…I knew she was special when she was 17 years old.

All I can do is pray for her safety and all of those who have been hurt by racism, oppression and violence, not only this week but for centuries. I can also do all I can to help promote a LIVED EQUALITY (which is the mission of a board I chair here in Akron).

I can also help others think about how they see the world and get them to think about how their THOUGHTS -> EMOTIONS -> ACTIONS -turn into PERFORMANCE (not only in athletics) and RESULTS!

In our workshop yesterday, we talked about how our brain can find exactly what we are looking for, good or bad and how we can control how we think about ourselves and our circumstances.

Our amazing, yet frustrating brains, use our Reticular Activating System (RAS), a system of neurons in your brainstem as a high-tech filter, like your own personal assistant, that allows certain information to your brain and filters out other information. We, and others from our past, have programmed our RAS.

The RAS has an important job. If our brains let in every bit of information that crosses its path, millions and millions at any given moment, the brain would implode. Instead, the RAS protects your brain and allows only things it deems important.

How does it decide what is important…it knows what you FOCUS ON and lets in information you agree with…information that confirms your biases and finds proof for your beliefs.

Think about this…you buy a new car and suddenly you see them at every stoplight? You are now alerted to the new Mercedes you bought and realize they are everywhere! This is a perfect example of how the RAS works. Prior to your car shopping, you didn’t care about the silver Mercedes. Now you see it everywhere!

The RAS seeks out data that validates our beliefs. It screens the world through the parameters we give it and is constantly seeking proof for our beliefs. The more proof you see, the more you believe its true…the stronger your belief the more likely you are to talk to yourself about it. So, in your brain, you talk to yourself, you look for proof to back it up and you solidify your beliefs. What a loop!

So, we need to be very careful about what we focus on. We are certain to find what we are looking for which can either help us or hurt us.

We can find our similarities…. or information to perpetuate our biases. We can find reasons to be happy or miserable. We can find ways to be helpful or hurtful, just by deciding what to focus on each day.

Especially today, let your RAS look for the positives….it will start showing you things to prove to you those positive things are true!

Now, we know this isn't as easy as it sounds. How do we do that…stay tuned for the next Smarter – Stronger – Better Mindset Tip!

Have a great weekend!


Julie Jones

Mental Performance Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946

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