Your Brain on Business: Part 1
How the Brain Works
Hello, and welcome to my latest blog series, Your Brain on Business. My name is Rick Phelps, and I am an ActionCoach business coach, and I’m going to talk about some of the lessons I’ve learned since becoming an ActionCoach that have to do with our brains and how they work in ways that I had no clue. And they are profoundly important to our business and to our life
What is the Reticular Activating System (RAS)?
And so we’re going to start this series by looking at a part of the brain called the reticular activating system. And this is an important part of your brain because it determines what we notice: what you see, and what you hear, and so on. It is not arbitrary.
Our brain actually this part of the brain actually serves as a filter. And so the reticular activating system is a part of your brain that was discovered in 1957. And, basically, your sight, your hearing, your other senses are wired through this part of your brain. So that the brain can determine what you see, and what you hear.
Why is the RAS Important?
And, and so the RAS, the reticular activating system, is the filter for your senses. And your thoughts set the filter. Alright, so once you’re thinking about what you’re talking about, what you are obsessing on, is actually what is setting your filter in your brain for what you’re going to see to hear. And therefore what you’re going to experience in life. And this has some profound implications. And some profound applications, right
Common Examples of RAS
The common example that we use, or we’re teaching RAS is that of when you buy a new car. So when you buy a new car, an interesting thing happens because your brain recognizes that this particular vehicle is of interest to you.
You start seeing them everywhere. It’s like you are a trendsetter for, you know, adoption of this particular model of car, and probably this particular model and color of car, in particular, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.
How Do You Know the RAS is Working?
And that’s because your RAS recognizes that the automobile is important to you. And so on to your peripheral vision, you might see a car over here, you know, at an intersection or whatever. And your brain is oh, look, there it is. And you’ll find yourself looking toward it. And recognizing, oh, look, there it is there. And there it is over there, and so on and so forth. And so the new car phenomenon, as it were, is because of your reticular activating system, knowing that it’s important to you
Now. I was explaining this to a new client. And I use the new car example. And, and they were saying yeah, you know, that’s funny when we bought our Volkswagen Tiguan. I started seeing him everywhere. You’re what? I’ve never heard of a Tiguan. I certainly had never noticed one anywhere, right. And so I shared with them my experience. The last time we bought a new car. And it actually doesn’t have to do with the actual car has to do with the dealership. When we had to replace our Honda Civic, we went to 10 different Honda dealers and had them bid against each other. And we bought a Honda from one of those dealers.
And I was talking about this as I was standing outside one of my client’s businesses next to our new car. And he’s also a Honda person, he says, I’m surprised you didn’t buy it from Ganley. And Ganley is apparently one of the large dealership systems in this part of Ohio. And I’ve never heard of Ganley.
It’s interesting. We’re standing outside so he points to the back of his Honda Accord. And there’s little silver letters on the back, let’s say Ganley. And from that point on, I started seeing Ganley everywhere. I could be walking down the sidewalk staring at my feet, because I don’t want to trip with all the uneven sidewalks here in Cleveland.
And all of a sudden catch myself looking at the back end of a car. And because I see Ganley I started noticing Ganley billboards everywhere. Everywhere I go, I see Ganley because I keep sharing this example and my mind keeps saying well Ganley isn’t Important to Rick. And so I explained to this to this couple as I was talking about the Tiguan and we had a good laugh about it.
And at the end of the coaching session, I walked to my wife’s office, which is about six blocks from our condo, right where I made the phone call. And on the way I was, again, staring at my feet because of uneven sidewalks making sure I don’t trip when out of the corner of my eye apparently, I saw something and I glanced at a car that was parked right there. I immediately took a picture of it. There you can see it’s the double RAS hit. Alright.
Just two blocks from my condo, I see a Tiguan sold by none other than Ganley Motor Company. So here I just had a conversation about Tiguan, Volkswagen that I never heard of, and shared with them about the dealership, and I’m walking, staring at my feet for the most part. And all of a sudden I find myself staring at the back end of a car.
Be Mindful of Your RAS
That’s what the RAS does for you. It listens to what you’re thinking about. And it shares with you sounds and sights that fit in with what you’re thinking about. And we’re going to explore more of that in our next session. But for now, that’s it on the RAS. My name is Rick Phelps, an ActionCoach business coach. I can be reached at 216-533-1387 or visit my website and see more of these blogs at Phelpsltd.com. You have a safe and prosperous day.