“Spotto!” my daughter screams at the top of her lungs as we round the corner. Sure enough a lovely yellow hatchback speeds past us in the opposite direction and my daughter wins the award for spotting the highest number of yellow cars on that trip.

I always thought that yellow cars were a bit of a novelty and car manufacturers only made a few of this very bright colour. Not so! Since I’ve been playing Spotto with the kids I have seen more yellow cars in the last month than I have seen in my entire life.

Why is that?

Our Reticular Activating System (RAS) allows our brain to focus on things that are important and filters out unimportant messages. Perhaps the most important function of the RAS is its control of consciousness; it is believed to control sleep, wakefulness, and the ability to consciously focus attention on something. In addition, the RAS acts as a filter, dampening down the effect of repeated stimuli such as loud noises, helping to prevent the senses from being overloaded.

The brain only knows what is important when you tell it so. In other words, the brain focuses on what you focus on. For example, ever notice how when you are angry you have more frustration on the road, find more things to complain about and make everyone around you angry too?

I have a theory about how this scientific rule can apply to networking and to life. And this is just one example, but a good one to start with.

If our subconscious mind can select what we see and experience via our RAS then it stands to reason that we would attract or notice happy people if we focused on finding happiness or consciously looked for happy people. Rather than simply acting on the Law of Attraction and focusing on the outcome, we are looking for people who embody the qualities or the skills we are wanting to emulate. We are manufacturing a happy environment.

We all know that person at an event or party who is the life of the party. You know, the one everyone loves to be around, the one who is always happy. What I have learned in my observations of thousands of people over the years is that there are two types of “life of the party” type people. There are people who may be the life of the party this week, who are loud and rambunctious and hilarious in many instances.

Sadly these are people who are loud in order to cover up their fear of being exposed and who make fun of others to deflect the attention from themselves. These people are funny one week and often end up being considered boorish the next.

The other type of “life of the party” person is the one who is genuinely happy to see you. The one who is genuinely curious about what you have to say and can find the good in any situation. They are fun to be around because they can tell a story with intelligent good humour rather than insulting comedic sarcasm. What if we consciously focused on looking for and unearthing these type of people?

Surely, if we made a regular effort to find more of these people within our targeted groups, we would notice more of them. If many people made a conscious effort to find these people then many would notice more of them and maybe we would just tip the balance and create more happiness. It would certainly create stronger and happier networks, which can only be a good thing.

Taking this one step further, what if we consciously looked for people with similar values about the planet, politics and family? The possibilities are endless.

So while you get busy looking for shiny happy people, I’m off to find some more shiny yellow cars!