Being positive and Reticular Activating System

  • Post category:Psychology
  • Reading time:5 mins read

There are so many books about being positive, how to achieve your goals and 7 things that someone else do and so on. This article is nothing more than my effort to pen down my own random thoughts about this topic. As usual, this has been running in my mind for a long time, but a recent video I watched, triggered me sit down and spend some time pushing my laptop keyboard keys. I would encourage everyone to watch the video before you continue with the rest of the article. Of course, it is not against any law, if you choose not to do so.

I am not sure when did I start to think about being positive. I can, however, relate one story of being constructive to this effect. Once an artist setup an exhibition and in the center of the hall, he put his special painting. To its side, he kept a big white board with heading saying, “What is not good about it?” By the end of the day, the board was full many times over with all kind of negative comments. The next day he put up the same board with clean papers and put the headline, “What can be specifically improved in it?”. He was not so surprised to see that the board was still blank by the end of the day. This for me as young boy was a story to think, ” Can I give a positive suggestion/idea? ” rather than “What is wrong with everything?

I am no expert on being positive and of course not trying to become any motivational speaker. But, since that day, I try on regular basis to see if things are positive, can be improved or to see any drawbacks based on some facts rather than some personal feeling. I learned with time that it is not easy being positive. It is like staying “smoke free” when almost every one is smoking. It is like that old steam engine, which is trying to pull a 40+ bogies/coaches packed to full capacity topped with frequent stops on the journey and sometimes new bogies gets linked to it.

This video provides the scientific background on why and how creating a habit of being positive and constructive helps us in the long run. Having studied bit of cognitive sciences and neural networks, I could understand how a routine to certain activities can make them a habit and builds up stronger prints in our brain. Now I know there is a specific region, which builds on top of that repetitive strengthening of neural chains. But, there is one thing which I missed in this video.

I understand, that this focused 30 seconds on daily basis can alter/strengthen our Reticular Activating System. But, what is that component that makes a person do it in the first place? What makes one person define his/her goals while other does not care about it all? What makes a person getup early and give these 30 seconds all his attention, while the other would like to stay up late in a bar and stay in the bed late as well? What would make an addict ( smoker, drunkard, gambler etc.) put these 30 seconds and visualize himself/herself without those habits? What made Jack Ma to keep on pushing hard, while many other who would just like to stay at home and have someone pay for their expenses and go out to drink somewhere and criticize the world for all the bad things in their life?

How many of us believe already that we have done enough or more for ourselves? How about others? How many of us sit to think and talk about all the positive things others have done for us or for themselves or the world? How many of us really sit on regular basis and say, “Do you know the system is working better now”. Did we ever say, ” The system made all the roads and all the infrastructure and healthcare, and all I had to do was caste a vote (sometime not even that), get some money deducted from salary without working outside during summer or snow and not to deal with any of those complexity that comes with it” ? How many times do we sit together and find a way to improve something outside and not in our house? What “activating system” is needed to initiate that kind of commitment to improve ourselves and others?

I hope that I can commit myself to focus my 30s everyday to visualize myself smiling and laughing while having constructive and positive thoughts. Maybe one day, that visualization comes to reality!

Keep smiling


Arundeep Singh

Mulla Nasrudin was telling a friend his future through palmistry. He said, “You will be poor and unhappy and miserable until you are sixty.” “Then what?” asked the man hopefully. “BY THAT TIME,” said Nasrudin, “YOU WILL BE USED TO IT.”