Why the reticular activating system is the key to success

by John Hilton01 Apr 2016
Everybody has bad things happen to them. The key is to not let it torture you, learn from the experience and use it to your advantage, said Chris Helder, professional speaker and author of the new book Useful Belief.
And it doesn’t matter whether it’s your professional life or your personal life, useful beliefs will help you move you into action.
For example, one of the useful beliefs in Helder’s book is that you have the parents you were supposed to have.
“Some people have horrible parents, some people have wonderful parents. But either way you learnt lessons that you were supposed to learn on your journey,” Helder told L&D Professional.
“Whether that is true or not, it doesn’t really matter because you create the truth.
“If you said ‘I was supposed to have that business not work out’ or ‘I was supposed to have that relationship not work out’, then all of a sudden there is learning from it because you know why you had it.”
When we are talking about useful belief, we can choose whatever belief system we want, added Helder.
“For example, there is a part of the brain which I talk about being the key and core of success called the reticular activing system,” he said.
“If my belief is that the world is a beautiful place then your reticular activing system will find beautiful things like flowers, trees, puppies and babies."
And it’s no different with success, added Helder.
“When we talk about goals, I tell people if you believe there is opportunity your brain will filter that and find that opportunity,” he said.
“All of a sudden you will create a way that you are going to be successful as long as there is some form of market there.
“So if you have a belief that the market is tough your brain will listen and your reticular activating system will find you all the reasons why you can’t be successful.”
Another example is when you drove to work today you probably didn’t see a red Toyota, and that’s because you weren’t looking.
“But if you decided to buy a red Toyota your reticular activating system would instantly see them everywhere because your brain is filtering for them. It’s no different for opportunities and it’s no different for success,” he said.
For Helder, being more self-aware is another crucial factor in putting people on the path towards professional success.
“I think consciousness is everything. I talk a lot in the book about useful time management and the idea that 'is this thing that I’m going to do useful or not?' If it is then do it, if it’s not then don’t,” he said.  
“And when I say ‘being self-aware’ that’s being conscious of ourselves, being conscious of what our belief system is, being conscious of our behaviour, and being conscious of how we spend our time.
“Having a level of consciousness around all of those activities is going to be the key to making a change from where you are today.”

Why positive thinking is problematic for professional development