Recently, an explosion of research explaining the intricate workings of the human brain has occurred. Neuroscientists are now able, using advanced equipment, to literally “see” how the brain responds to stimuli as they’re happening. This was never before possible and has provided astounding findings about how the brain works. You can now learn to “Mind Your Brain” and apply techniques based on these new discoveries to greatly enhance your brain’s performance and create a lifetime of greater achievement.

Thoughts Are Things

Your thoughts are physical things. Your thinking and your thoughts are biological, electrochemical impulses. They can be seen, measured, and examined. They are real. If you understand brain function, you can learn to control your mind and control your thinking. If you control your thinking, you will control your behavior, and your ability to achieve is most affected by your behavior.

Your behavior is controlled by your feelings, and your feelings are created, controlled, or influenced by your attitudes. Your attitudes are the perspective from which you view life. Whatever attitudes have been firing in your brain will create how you feel about stimuli in your life and will always affect how you act.

Your attitudes are created, controlled, and influenced by your beliefs. What you believe about anything will determine your attitudes, which create your feelings, which direct your behavior. Belief neuron patterns are so powerful that they can even make something appear to be different from what it really is. Belief does not require things to be factually true; it only requires us to believe them.

Where do beliefs come from? They come from your thoughts: the interconnections of neurons that fire a given idea. Thoughts that fire the most are relied on the most to create your beliefs. Thoughts are physical things. Every thought that comes into your brain from the outside world and every thought you feed yourself is stored as a neuron pattern in your brain. These neuron pattern firings, these chain reactions, these thoughts, create your beliefs. Learn to control your thoughts, and you will learn to control your behavior.

Brain Plasticity

Your brain is not hardwired! If your brain is stimulated from learning or experiencing, no matter your age, it will physically grow new connections. These new connections will increase the total number of connections within your brain and will increase your brain’s capacity for achievement.

This fantastic news means that you and I have only to destroy any neuron patterns that have been firing thoughts saying, “I can’t.” All those excuses need to go. Scientists have proven that whether you are 6 years old or 60, your brain can form new connections, and the number of new connections you have the capacity to make is greater than the number of molecules in the universe!

It’s scientific truth: there is no limit on your capacity to achieve new things. Remember, your beliefs are not necessarily based in reality. It is your perception of reality that ends up controlling your beliefs. If you allow neuron patterns to fire that put limits on your ability to achieve, those limits will become real for you. Stop firing the limiting neuron patterns!

Reticular Activating System

The reticular activating system (RAS) is a bundle of interconnected neurons located near the back of your brain, in the noncortex part, and is not voluntarily controlled by your thoughts. It is an automated system that functions constantly. All impulses that enter your brain for interpretation first pass through your RAS. If you are driving and a ball bounces in front of your automobile, you do not have to consciously process thoughts to hit the brake pedal. It happens automatically.
Once the RAS recognizes an impulse coming in, it sends a signal directly to your conscious level, interrupting whatever you are thinking at that moment and bringing you a conscious set of neuron patterns about the stimulus it has observed. You cannot stop it. You cannot keep yourself from thinking about it.

What if you could turn over to your RAS responsibility for taking action toward your goals? Think about how marvelous this would be. If you could turn that over to the automated portion of your brain, procrastination would be eliminated. Stimuli related to your goal would be recognized by your RAS, and you would be forced to respond either in action or reaction to those stimuli automatically.

How can you assign responsibility to your RAS? Repetition makes it your belief. Remember, your thoughts fired over and over again formulate “beliefs.” If your beliefs (goals) are on your RAS “important list,” then every time an impulse related to that goal enters your brain, it would automatically cause an instant message to go to your conscious level.

Think back to when you got a new automobile. Remember how you started seeing that same car everywhere after that? What happens? The car was put on your RAS “important list.” Some magical force turns your head and makes you look. You cannot resist it.

This is the power of the RAS. It calls your conscious attention to anything related to neuron patterns that are on your “important list.” Determine what’s going to be on your “important list” (goals) and get it there! (It takes about 30 days of affirmations to create enough new brain connections to get something onto your “important list.”) Then, your RAS will take over and automate your achievements toward those goals.

Mind Your Brain!

So, how do you apply these discoveries to achieve more?

1. Pay attention to your thoughts. Your thoughts are real things, and they create connections in your brain that are forming your beliefs, and your beliefs control your actions. If your thought patterns are negative, they will literally create negative neuron patterns that fire the most (negative beliefs) and create your reality. Keep them positive!

2. Understand the enormity of your brain’s capacity to form new connections and to do new things. Your abilities have no limits. Neuroscientists have proven this!

3. Get your positive goals on your RAS “important list.” Write them down. Repeat them over and over until they are burned in. Use affirmations to help you. You will have turned action toward your goals over to the automatic portion of your brain and will have achieved “motivation automation.” Just watch the action! Before realizing it, your goals will be your achievements . . . automatically!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Doug Bench, MS, JD, AAAS, a retired lawyer and former Applied Physiology researcher, has read and researched over 60,000 pages of recent brain research to create what he calls his “Mind Your Brain” Home Study CD Course, which contains all 16 recent revolutionary brain research discoveries, 16 Science-Based Techniques for Success, and over 110 lessons gleaned from brain research that you can apply to greatly improve your achievement skills and your life. Learn more at