Reticular activation describes the operation of the reticular activating system.
So, what's the reticular activating system?
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through.
The RAS is the reason you learn a new word and then start hearing it everywhere, take interest in a new car/gadget and then start seeing it everywhere.
It’s also why you can tune out a noisy crowd, yet notice when someone says your name or speaks your language.
This concept offers a nice explanation to how we recognize opportunities. You recognize opportunities when one or more key components are similar to what you already know or are interested in.
Put differently, you only notice opportunities in areas you already know something about.
This supports the notion that opportunities are abundant, but our ability to detect (and maximally utilize) opportunities are limited.
If you know nothing about transportation, you cannot recognize opportunities in that area.
But, if you know something about human needs and/or wants, or something else connected to transportation, you can recognize & take advantage of opportunities around transportation (which can explain how an outsider can disrupt the transportation industry).
To make the best of opportunities - which I take to mean detecting & utilizing opportunities, you need to increase what you know.
With a vast knowledge about many things (or deep knowledge about a few things), reticular activation then works to your advantage.