Learn. Act. Assess. Strategize. Repeat


Why The Scholar?

A system of consistent learning and improving in a highly competitive environment like Filmmaking, Writing and the Creative Arts will give you an edge. The simple Act of Living requires constant Growth. The Scholar informs the Warrior. The Warrior Acts. Lead with the Scholar.

blog image

Creating Powerful Habits: RAS and Focus

October 30, 20234 min read

Focus is a critical skill that the Warrior can acquire with consistency and work.  In today’s hyper distractive world, we always have options for music, internet, news, gossip, social media, radio, streaming programs and more.  The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) drives our information need.  

For a while, I focused on breaking global news as I am fascinated by the international interplay of cultures and countries.  But a friend told me that their mental and physical health improved dramatically when they turned off the news because it is emotionally draining, biased and inflammatory.  Everything is an emergency to draw in viewers becoming, in essence, the clickbait of so-called journalism.   So, avoiding this breaking news, I too found my health improving in terms of mood, sleep, anxiety, contentment, balance, well-being, etc., 

Let’s define "Focus" from the dictionary

Focus noun  fo· cus ˈfō-kəs 

Plural  foci ˈfō-ˌsī   also  -ˌkī also focuses

  • a center of activity, attraction, or attention

  • the focus of the meeting was drug abuse

  • a point of concentration

  • directed attention 

  • The focus is on hitting the target

  • a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding

Yes, the Scholar Warrior can utilize focus for self-defense and pursuing a project.  This intense centering of activity is critical - and one that can be practiced on numerous levels but let’s focus (pun intended) on two: present and future. 

Now, think about when you wanted to buy a car like a light blue Ford truck for example.  You suddenly saw them everywhere, right? Let’s find out why you did. 

How Our Physicality Helps Our Focus

Our  Reticular Activating System (RAS) provides the major pathology for being in the "flow state" and controlling focus.  The what?!!  The Reticular Formation controls cardiovascular functions, pain, sleep/consciousness, and the Reticular Activating System.   The Reticular Activating System controls and Central Nervous System and other critical systems: 

  • Consciousness

  • Fight vs flight response 

  • Focus

  • Pain (even Itching)

  • Self-perception 

  • Wakefulness/Sleep

That’s a lot of critical system in our body relation to both he Scholar and Warrior.  The RAS, in a weakened condition, creates a variety of afflictions such as Alzheimer’s, Autism, Depression, Fatigue, PTSD and more. 

The RAS controls consciousness and filters - yes filters - the data and sensory input into our brains.  Imagine if you had to spontaneously process all the information in your body’s sensors:

  • Smell

  • Sound

  • Sight

  • Taste

  • Touch

Your brain would literally explode so we have the RAS to filter out what you need to know, when you need to know it.  You are looking for a light blue Ford truck and that’s your focus.  There’s one!  Oh, another right there!  One on the other side of the street!  You know this phenomenon occurs for you without thought.  You  are at a noisy restaurant - but can focus on the conversation.  In a fight, your physical body diminishes sensory input to focus on the life or death fight at hand. But what if you could take this incredible tool with the computing power of your brain and use it for your continued and growing benefit?

The RAS controls your perception of your own self-image.  How you perceive yourself.

“Focus on your goals, not your fear.
Focus like a laser beam on your goals.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart 

How to Make Your RAS Work for Your Future

Now you know from personal experience in looking for a specific car model or focusing on conversation in a noisy restaurant that the RAS Works.  How do you work it?Your  thoughts change your focus, but your thoughts also have greater power.   In The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World, Lynne McTaggart writes:

A sizable body of research exploring the nature of consciousness, carried on for more than thirty years in prestigious scientific institutions around the world, shows that thoughts are capable of affecting everything from the simplest machines to the most complex living beings. This evidence suggests that human thoughts and intentions are an actual physical "something" with astonishing power to change our world. Every thought we have is tangible energy with the power to transform. A thought is not only a thing; a thought is a thing that influences other things.

Your  thoughts change your focus, but your thoughts also have greater power to feed your future.  Your present focus becomes your future life. You can use tools such as 

  • Vision Boards - I created one on my phone with an app in 10 minutes. 

  • Mindmapping - Drawing where you are going with your enthusiastic goals

  • Gratitude - being grateful gives you balance and contentment

By realizing that you can chase your dreams and see them as easily as the light blue Ford truck that you are looking for, you can work your own life and your body’s innate powerful systems for your betterment. 

blog author image

Michael Mandaville

Michael is a writer, filmmaker and dedicated World War II historian who studies martial arts, action films and is learning more about VFX every single darn day. Oh and a Scholar Warrior

Back to Blog