RAS is defined as "the network in the reticular formation that serves an alerting or arousal function".
Setting personal goals focuses an individual's attention into a particular area to the exclusion of other thoughts and activities.
To illustrate, a manager gets bombarded with numerous situations, problems, questions, and demands during the course of a day. A good manager knows how to prioritize so that the most important tasks get immediate attention.
The human brain receives thousands of pieces of information a second, flooding in from the senses.
The Reticular Activating System filters through all these pieces of input and decides which messages receive top priority and full attention.
When setting personal goals, especially after committing them to writing, the brain has a specific subject or task brought to the forefront.
If a person repeatedly thinks about, and re-writes a goal, the brain is focused and suddenly becomes aware of related matters and needed resources which are important in the realization of the goal.
Setting personal goals creates an awareness so an individual suddenly starts noticing things related to the goal they might have overlooked or not given any attention to if they had not set that goal.
To quote Anthony Robbins in his book "Awaken the Giant Within", page 288: "This shift in mental posture aligns you more precisely with your goals. Once you decide that something is a priority, you give it tremendous emotional intensity, and by continually focusing on it, any resource that supports its attainment will eventually become clear.
"Therefore, its not crucial to understand exactly
HOW you'll achieve your goals when you first set them. Trust that
your RAS will point out what you need to know along the way."
In his book Mindstore, Jack Black elaborates on this matter of not needing to know exactly HOW when setting personal goals.
He shows that some children have come out of ghettos and abject poverty, facing the most challenging of situations, yet slowly but surely achieved the most fantastic outcomes in sport, art, on stage, in film, in business, science and politics.
he says: "And the one great truth is that the goal is BIG and
they don't know HOW they will do it but they make
their commitment to doing whatever it takes."
A quotation from Goethe is most appropriate here in relation to setting personal goals:
That is why setting personal goals, committing oneself to specific new levels of achievement, WORKS!
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