Creativity

Have You Lost Your Magic and Can You Get it Back?

magic

In a poignant post I read awhile back, Austin Kleon urged us to keep it light and remember to do what comes naturally. He was referring to writers and artists who want to be taken more seriously. Sometimes in pursuit of mastery we can lose that spark of magic that makes us unique.

The advice could be applied to anyone. We’ve all had experiences that sap our spark. When we fail a college entrance exam. When produce a piece of work that nobody cares about. When embarrassed parents shun our silliness. When we do something really cool and awesome and special but nobody claps. Or nods. Or even smiles. Not even the tumbleweed.

We’re sensitive little souls, us creative-types. We create stuff because it’s who we are. But we cling to external validation so we can feel like we’re acceptable.

Please smile. Please clap. Please say “well done”, so I can feel like I matter. Because I don’t – feel like I matter.

That’s when we lose the magic.

magic baby

When we decide that the magic is in being accepted. As if Renoir or Mozart are only magical because a bunch of people of people decided their work was worth seeing. (Posthumously, mostly.)

I didn’t know Renoir or Mozart personally- they’re quite a bit older than me. But I could make an educated guess that acceptance wasn’t a big consideration in their creative head-spaces. If I run into them in the afterlife I’ll check for accuracy, but for now let’s suppose my theory is true.

It’s not about what you get back, in terms of praise, it’s about what you put out. Ryan Holiday is spot on when he suggests:

It’s far better (and more resilient) when doing good work is sufficient. In other words, the less attached we are to outcomes the better.

When fulfilling our own standards is what fills us with pride and self-respect. When the effort—not the results, good or bad—is enough.

We lose our magic when we play it safe. We dampen down our spirit to be less annoying but end up dull. We take the so-called “sure path” to success and end up on a grid-locked road full of other play-it-safers. We censor our words so we don’t look stupid and end up saying nothing important at all.

We stop being light and doing what comes naturally.

True magic lies in authenticity. It takes courage to be authentic and try new things, regardless if we’ll be met with applause or thumbs down. But without authenticity, without letting your all your best stuff shine even if your best stuff could be crap… You risk becoming something much, much worse:

Stale and unoriginal.

Mindset

Fear Less

fear

Fear is not the enemy. Fear is the friend who keeps you safe – grabs your shirt and holds you back from dangerous leaps and treacherous bounds.

Fear is not an enemy who means to hold you back. It’s just that… he’s afraid. Afraid you won’t succeed, that you’ll embarrass yourself. Afraid that you’ll get hurt or won’t ever recover from missing leaps and tripping on bounds.

Fear is also the friend who hangs around too much, comes over uninvited and interrupts you when you’re trying to get things done.

He’s the friend who nags you to do what he wants you to do, even when you want to do something else.

He’s the guy who calls late at night when you’re trying to sleep, who thinks he knows everything and ignores what you have to say. He overshadows your accomplishments with his own victories and “I told you so’s”.

He’s a friend. But not always a very good one.

Though you shouldn’t shut him out completely, you may have to kick him out when he won’t go home. And though shouldn’t ignore him, you’d do well to remember he’s not your only friend.

Confidence is also your friend – the one who’s got your back. Who says “You can” and celebrates when you do. He’s the guy that listens and nods when you tell stories of success and gives you a nudge when you confess your failures.

He’s the friend who wants you to succeed because he knows you can. He’s the one who consoles Fear then gags him and sticks him a closet so he doesn’t ruin the party.

Fear and Confidence… they’re both your friends. But it’s up to you which one you hang out with more.

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
Dorothy Thompson

Mindset

Even With a Magic Wand, I’d Keep My ADD. Here’s Why:

Years ago, when I was still a fledgling therapist, I took a training course in Solution Focused Therapy. At the time, the idea of shifting the focus from a client`s problems onto potential solutions was still a novel one, where I was working anyway.

The idea of it excited me. Suddenly, there was a way to move past “therapeutic drudgery”. Instead of getting stuck, analyzing and scrutinizing past and present maladies, we could start looking for a brighter future, by imagining ways it could be created. The imagining of a better future, and all its intricate parts, was part of the process in actually creating it.

The key therapeutic prose used to invite a shift in our clients’ perspectives was deceivingly simple, yet so very complicated for many clients to get their heads around and answer. It went something like this:

“Let’s pretend I had a magic wand, and with one wave of it, I could make all these troubles go away for you, tonight as you sleep. When you wake up in the morning – what would be different? What’s the first thing you would notice? What exactly would it look like – for everything to be better in your life?”

Pretty straightforward question, albeit fantastical. Not that difficult to answer if one allowed themselves to keep in mind the operative words – “pretend” and “magic”.

But it was difficult. People struggled to imagine a better future, even when given the permission to fantasize about ANY possibilities, free from the constraint of present-moment “realities” or “likelihoods”. They were invited to think without the restraints of logic, reason, and data comparison. But the past and present they knew to be true always influenced their expectations of the future, even when “magic” was invited into the equation.

This phenomena wasn’t unique to my clients – it’s a human condition. We all view our future from our own frame of reference, guided by our past experiences.

I was not immune to this.

If I had asked myself that very same question at the time, I would have imagined myself in a life being free from this thing called ADHD, though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. I could have imagined it – but wouldn’t have believed it possible. And so I likely would have concocted some other more “realistic expectation”, like hoping to be more organized or focused. Or less focused, on rumination anyway.

That me would have never imagined being exactly the same person I was (am), only happier and … doing ADHD better.

Yes – doing ADHD better.

Another common human mindset is one of dichotomy, black and white. That’s the kind of thinking that leads us to believe something is either all good or all bad. It is or it isn’t. It is here or its gone.

That kind of thinking would never allow me to believe that ADD could stay, and be okay. Maybe even be good.

I was diagnosed later in life. Late enough to know that there was no miraculous pill or treatment that would take ADHD away altogether. Late enough to accept that it was a part of me, and that no matter what I thought about it – it played a part in shaping who I am.

Yet early enough in life to know that there was still time to change the way I lived with it.

The most difficult concept for us ADDers to get our heads around, is knowing what, in our lives, is ADHD – and what isn’t. Which part of how we are built, how we think and feel, how we act – is due our brain chemistry? And which part of us, our being, is simply our personality?

Does it really matter?

I know, as I hope you do, that ADHD is only part of me, not the whole. It does not encapsulate who I am as a person, anymore that my physicality could be summed up by a description of my legs. It is there, but it’s not me.

At the same time, in my heart, I believe that I could not be me (the person that I know right now), without ADHD. The same part of me that does not sum me up, is still a key component of that sum. The whole is a sum of the parts – and so much more.

The magic that has happened in real life, all these years later, is a new opinion of myself. It didn’t happen with the wave of a wand. It happened with hard work, experience, a lot of soul searching and circumstances that cajoled me to get outside of my own perspective.

That’s when I decided to take control, own that part of myself. I didn’t have ADD. It had me, and it was lucky to have me. Because I could turn it around and make it work. I could be an ambassador of ADD, or at least try damn hard.

When I let go of the black and white thinking, I allowed in more magical possibilities. ADHD is not gone. But it works a lot better for me. And I can see clearly that it has brought some benefits to my life, despite its challenges. Those benefits I have deemed to be valuable enough, I could never wish ADD away just to get rid of the challenges. I could not throw the baby out with the bath water.

This is my frame of reference, after many years of working hard to change it. I don’t propose that you should instantaneously agree with my perspective, or ever. Your perspective is your own, as unique to you as your own path in life.

What I do propose is this fact: ADD, though not all of you, is part of you. It cannot be separated from you, and it will never go away completely.

You can learn to live with it, manage it better. You can learn to do ADD better. And if you are having a hard time doing that right now, perhaps a shift in perspective may be the key to moving forward.

Mindset

13 Interrogation Tactics for a Confidence Break-Through (and why you deserve it)

IF YOUR CONFIDENCE HAS EVER BEEN AT ROCK BOTTOM, THEN MAYBE IT IS TIME TO HOLD THAT SELF-DOUBT ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT IT DOES TO YOUR LIFE…

The room is dark and damp, the lights are bright and oppressive. Self-loathing is in the interrogation room, charged with the crime of ruining your life. It says:

I don’t deserve to feel good about myself.

I have had so many failures and made so many mistakes, there is nothing in my life to feel good about. No matter how hard I try, I let people down. I let myself down. There is nothing about me to feel confident about. I don’t deserve it. I’m not good enough. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am i to be brilliant,

Gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

 

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking

So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

 

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously

Give other people the permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,

Our presence automatically liberates others.” 

                                                                                                   

Says the good cop, quoting Marianne Williamson.

Nice try. Sweet, poetic, moving words but they didn’t break through to your self-loathing whose conviction in its righteousness is inpenetrable. It won’t budge, won’t confess its sins.

Enter the bad cop.

He has only one question for self-loathing and its kind of a rhetorical one at that.

 

“Who the hell do you think you are?”

 

You can tell by the tone he’s not looking for existential prose.

He’s stating a pivotal truth.

 

You don’t deserve to feel bad about yourself.

 

Your self-loathing doesn’t buy that. It has plenty of bonafide reasons to believe it has every right to be there. Failures from your past, experiences that shaped your lack of confidence and criticisms from important people whose opinions really mattered at the time.

But the bad cop doesn’t give up just yet. He’s got plenty of staying power, just like your self-defeat. He challenges you with these concepts:

 1. You are human.

We all make mistakes. Everyone knows that. Nowhere in the book of life does it indicate a cut off point which divides the worthy from the unworthy. Fifty mistakes and you’re a-okay, 75 and you’re a loser? Its not in the rule book – go ahead and check.

2. Your life is a miracle.

I don’t care what you believe about the origin of the universe and mankind, the fact that you are alive is a miracle. The plight that one single sperm goes through to force itself through the millions of others, through hazardous and hostile environmental conditions, to penetrate the egg and form the union that made you – is a miracle.

To loathe “that you” is pure irreverence to the majesty and miracle of life.

3. You’re not here for you. 

You weren’t born to serve only your own purpose. If that were the case, you would have manifested as a virus or a parasite. You are here to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem, to the world and the people in it. Confidence in your worth opens the door to making that difference in a bigger way. Self-doubt keeps you locked in the closet.

 

4. You’re wasting time.

I’ve got some terrible news for you – you’re dying.

Every day we live, we are all dying. Its not a reason to get depressed. Its a valid and paramount reason to not waste a single minute of this life. This life that we have already established is a complete miracle.

If being small and self-oppressive serves in any way to make the most of your life, then go ahead and keeping on despising yourself. But most of the time, self-reproach stops you from doing valid and important things with your life.

 5. Your critics are human too.

The voices who have influenced your low opinion of yourself belong to people who have a multitude of their own sins. Casting stones may be one way of protecting themselves but it doesn’t mean that they have chosen the best self-defense strategy. Psychological offence is not the best defense, its the best demise of everyone involved.

6. Your inner critic doesn’t know everything.

If you are so wrong about everything, if you are such a failure and incompetent – why would that inner voice who tells you so be given so much undoubted authority? If you are incompetent, then isn’t it possible that inner critic is also incompetent?

7. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Lack of self-worth is usually a rigid, over-generalized belief that serves to feed itself by focusing on all the mistakes you have made in your life and your perceived inadequacies. No one with a strong conviction sets out to prove themselves wrong. How this translates in real life is that you never notice, or very frequently overlook or discount anything you have done that proves your worth and capability.

Self-doubt is a bias, a prejudice.

8. You aren’t omnipresent.

There is nothing about you that is always the same, all of the time. Its human nature to define the present and predict the future based on past experiences. But you are never exactly the same as you were the moment before. You are always capable of being different.

9. You aren’t omnipotent either.

You were designed to be flawed and make mistakes. Perfection is reserved for God, the Higher Power or Universe – however you choose to see it. Our flaws and mistakes are what challenge us to grow in spirit and determination. Which leads to the next point…

10. You’re stagnating.

You were made for growth and development. Hating yourself doesn’t help you grow. It keeps you oppressed.

11. You are in grave danger.

The voice of self-doubt usually grows as a protective mechanism to keep you from risking vulnerability and potential humiliation. What it also does is it exposes you to the risk of terminal disappointment. When you make it to 80+ years of age (God-willing) and you review the movie that was your life, you will rue all the things you never did or gave of yourself because you were filled with doubt.

You may also regret some lengths you went to in order to protect your fragile ego.

12. You’re setting a bad example.

If you are a member of any society (my apologies to cave-dwelling hermits who probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway), you are always influencing and affecting other people. Whether you mean to or not, feeling bad about yourself – to the extent that you don’t value who you are as being – says to others that there are particular standards that define worth. If those standards define you, they must define them.

Your self-reproach could inadvertently teach someone else to dislike themselves as well.

13. Your incapacitating humility is conceited and selfish.

Whoa, I can’t believe I really said that out loud.

Low blow, eh? I’m a bit nervous now, but let me explain. I have been locked in mental closet of rumination and self-reproach for many years, and now I am free I can say with experience I recognize its narcissism.

Worthlessness always has some roots in comparison. Its pretty conceited to think that your faults are so much worse than anyone else’s. Its arrogant to believe that the voice of self-doubt has more validity than any other possible opinion. Its selfish to hold yourself back from being your true self because of greed.

Greed? Yes, greed – indulging your own need for self-preservation while denying the world its right to benefit from the miracle of your unique contribution to it.

 

At the start of this series of gaining confidence as an ADDer, I told you I want to do everything I can to help you grow that confidence.

I didn’t say I was going to be nice about it.

If my hypothetical “bad cop” seemed a bit harsh, I can assure you that it wasn’t done sensationally or without good reason.

I know, intimately, what it is like to feel worthless and incompetent. I also know a lot about human psychology. Enough to know that the voice that feeds self-doubt is not kind or soothing. That voice is harsh, mean and just plain cruel.

That kind of voice does not respond to sweet and supportive words of encouragement like the beautiful sonnet from Marianne Williamson. It responds to a voice that lambastes it.

Fight fire with fire. So I have been cruel to be kind.

Please know this, as you finish reading this installment…

My “bad cop” was not talking to you. He was talking to the self-doubt that is interloping your psyche. If you want to start feeling more confident in yourself from this moment, the one thing you can do is make this differentiation.

That voice is not you. It’s just an opinion.

And opinions can be changed.

Mindset

5 Myths About Confidence with ADHD (Debunked!)

If you don’t feel confident in who you are as a person with ADHD, then mastering any ADHD challenges you face is pointless.

Who would you be trying to master them for? Other people? Why? So they can be happier with you, even if you’re not going to be happy with yourself?

What would that say to other people? That you aren’t worth the effort, but they are? Sell yourself out, basically?

Confidence is an elusive and abstract concept. I happen to have an affinity for making the abstract more transparent and accessible. You don’t have to agree with my conceptualizations. I am so confident in my beliefs that I welcome objections.

Confidence is something that many people struggle with, and even more so when you have ADD. When the way the world is built, structured and organized is almost directly oppositional to the way your brain works – finding your confidence in that world can be a bit like looking for Waldo wearing kaleidoscope glasses.

At the same time, how confident you are with you ADHD all depends on how you choose to view it.

If you want to get truly confident in yourself, you need to know what this thing is you are striving for. There are a lot of fallacies about confidence that need to be exposed. These false beliefs about confidence may be the very things stopping you from actually getting it.

 

1. Confidence is something you’re born with.

The only traits we know, beyond doubt, that people are born with is their natural propensity towards having skin, teeth, organs, bones and hair (until middle age, anyway). Even eye colour changes around six months of age.

There are many diagnosable conditions that experts surmise are present from birth. Self-esteem and confidence are not any of these conditions.

Plenty of attentive and well-meaning parents breed non-confident children. Many children are born more introspective and shy. These two things do not exclude one from being confidant. Yes, you can be quiet and confident. On the other hand, I have known exuberant and outgoing children who have been reared by introverted parents. Again, confidence is not tied to your personality or style of relating to people.

It is certainly not tied to genetics.

 

2. Confidence is the result of achievement.

Achievement certainly adds kindling to the fire of self-confidence. Several studies indicate that ultimately the best way to foster a child’s self-esteem is not to bolster it with floods of praise, but to give them ample opportunities to achieve a feeling of self-efficacy. That is – give them opportunities to challenge themselves and succeed. Acknowledge their effort and dedication rather than an innate ability(being naturally good at something) that they have no control over. This gives them a feeling of mastery and develops their internal-locus of control – a phenomena closely linked to resilience in life.

However, if that sense of self-efficacy is lacking in adulthood, we lose the courage to challenge ourselves. Our history tells us it’s pointless. Experience of “failures” and criticisms prevent us from exposing ourselves to further humiliation and we tell ourselves that it is better not to try at all.

The irony is that we will never feel better about ourselves unless we try.

Sometimes we need to start with a bit of self-confidence, a little seed that can be sprouted with gentle care and nurturing, and planted to grow on its own against the elements once it is heartier. Confidence won’t grow out of nothing. Plant the seedling safe in your heart first. When it is stronger and ready to bud, you will be readier to challenge yourself again.

Seedlings of confidence start sprouting when you look for the small successes. No success is too small to overlook. The smallest of achievements, when focused on a celebrate, will combine and grow together into much bigger accomplishments.

 

 3. Confidence is fixed.

Once you are confident, you will never doubt yourself again right?

No. This is one of the most damaging falsehoods commonly perceived about this topic.

The truth is, confident people frequently lack confidence.

Huh? Yes, that is exactly it – confidence waxes and wanes in different times and situations in life.

However, intrinsically confident people consciously accept the ebb and flow of it. They know there are times they will doubt themselves. The difference is – they don’t endorse feelings of un-sureness as a truth or statement about themselves. They accept the feeling will go away and that feeling down about yourself is not the same as loathing yourself.

They don’t attach confidence to their identity.

They don’t say “I knew I was crap! I will never amount to anything.” They say “I am feeling like crap right now. But I have plenty of reasons to believe that I won’t feel this way forever.”

Why is this idea so damaging?

If you believed that ultimate confidence is something to be achieved as an end result, like winning The X Factor or becoming UFC’s next victor, you wouldn’t bother trying very hard for it. That ideal would be so incomprehensible to your psyche it would seem impossible.

The climb to that ideal would feel too hard to even bother trying. And even if you did pursue it, any little event that challenged you along the way would send you sailing back down the pit.

But knowing that confidence is something you can build upon, step by step, makes it feel so much more achievable. The path to confidence is not an elevator ride straight to the top. It is a slow-escalator ride, that perhaps does a little reverse every once in a while.

Little bursts of confidence then tap into that self-efficacy thing we talked about a minute ago. A positive cycle emerges…

 

4. Confidence is global.

Truly confident people feel confident in all situations.

If you believe that, then you’ve got a case of mistaken identity, like when you confuse actors who resemble each other or mix up the plots of two similar stories.

As in the point made in #3, truly confident people do not feel confident in all situations. But they accept themselves in all situations. They have a worth that is not threatened by holding their hand up and saying “I’m out of my depth here”.Confidence doesn’t mean being the best. It means being okay with not being good at something at all – and still feeling good about yourself. Its about knowing what is important for you to care about, and what isn’t. 

 

4. Confidence is arrogant.

Wrong answer. Arrogance is arrogance. Conceit is conceit. Confidence is neither of these things.

Confidence is an acceptance of yourself, as you are. It is the willingness to try, even when you may fail. It is being okay with the fact that you are flawed but not letting those flaws stand in the way of your happiness. It means not letting your flaws dictate how you feel about yourself, and maybe even celebrating some of your failures as wonderful learning experiences.

Confidence is also accepting that other people are flawed too, and that their flaws do not determine their worth or abilities.

Confident people make other people feel good about themselves just being around them. Boastful, egoistic and narcissistic people who appear confident, but annoy and intimidate other people, actually exemplify non-confidence in its most complicated form. Those elaborate defense mechanisms merely masque a highly vulnerable and fragile sense of self-worth at the core. The most dangerous form of non-confidence, these people aren’t even aware of it.

Truly confident people have no need to belittle others because how they feel about themselves and their abilities has absolutely no dependence on the attributes of others.

 

5. I don’t deserve to feel confident.

I saved this one for last because it is one of the most influential beliefs that keep people down. It’s a huge issue and we really need to talk about it.

So I ‘m not going to.

Until next week!

In the mean time, you may want to prepare yourself for the road to confidence by what knowing what kind of fight you are in for and what kind of steps you can start taking now. 

Mindset

The Gift of Confidence with ADHD

Last post I disclosed that I am doing a series entirely dedicated to finding confidence in your ADD life. This is the next installment – where I will explain what I have to offer and why you should bother reading it.

 

I haven’t read every book out there written on ADHD. Since I have ADHD and likely so do you, I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. I have read a lot, but only what would likely be tantamount to a mere drop in a literary bucket.

But what I have done is think about ADHD. A lot. In fact, I’ve thought about it for thirty plus years. Possibly even 35 years, but I can’t recall what I thought about before the age of five.

Of course I haven’t been thinking about the diagnosis of ADD since childhood, that would be sad and weird. I didn’t even know that I had ADD until later in adulthood. But even before I had a name for it, I knew ADD – I knew the experience of it intimately. So I am not exaggerating when I say, in the grand scheme of my inner contemplative world, I have thought about very little else for a great many years.

The wonderful thing is that now I am thriving with my ADHD, I think much less about it. The way that I used to think about it was, for lack of a better term, obsessive. Maybe ruminative actually. I was stuck in a world of self-involvement, though not the conceited kind. The same kind of obsession a mad-scientist has when he is on the verge of solving a major equation but hasn’t yet determined exactly the right variables for the formula.

My own ADHD is not such a conundrum anymore. I have been freed from the chains of rumination and self-analysis. Now I like to think about it in a way that is much more fun and exciting to me. I like to think about the way the other members of my tribe experience ADHD. And how I can help. I have been liberated from disability of ADHD. It no longer holds me back. In fact, ADHD has become my art. I can help make it your art too.

Of course, I am digressing here so let me get back to the original point. My thinking all these years has not been merely self-obsession. I have been obsessed with the concept of ADHD. What it means. What it feels like. What it’s all about. And (most importantly) how to feel good about having it despite a lifetime of feeling second-rate and inadequate.

Yeah, you heard me right… feel good about having ADD. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

So I have thought a lot about it. And I have read a lot about it. Before sitting down to write this it did cross my mind that I couldn’t possibly have anything to say about ADHD that hasn’t been said before. I probably don’t. Previously I have talked about how there are virtually no new ideas out there anymore (except for “wireless” hovercraft toilets, most useful for times of performing a bodily function and midway realizing you are without the appropriate tools – no one has thought of that yet).

What can I add to the world of knowledge and literature on the subject of ADD? My own perspective of it, that’s what. Nothing less, nothing more. Why should my little perspective on this huge issue matter to you? You don’t really know me. I haven’t told you much about who I am that would make my two-cents worth your time.

I also know how hard it is to read when you have ADD. I know how hard it is to find the time to read at all these days, for anyone. So I am hugely honoured that you have even made it through these first 650+ words, and maybe perhaps even some of my other posts on this blog. I am also highly conscious of the fact that I better give you a pretty solid sales-pitch right now if I am going to convince you to keep reading any further.

Why should my ADHD theories matter to you?

Because I am your biggest fan.

When you are a fan of something, a team or an artist, it means you like them. They mean something to you. You have made a personal choice to stand behind them, when times are good and bad. And you want them to do well.

I want you to do well. I want all ADDers to do well. They are my tribe. I found myself and where I belong when I discovered the true nature of my differences. That is what has made all the difference in my life – finding the team that I play for. So of course I want my team to do well. My “two-cents” is in reality a personal investment of the most valuable kind – I give over completely my head and my heart to support my team and help them do well. I write this for you, my teammate, my tribes-member, to help you do well too.

I spent the first half of my career helping people with depression, anxiety and other mental illness free themselves from those debilitations. A great deal of this work was centred on self-esteem and confidence. Now that I have found a new calling, I have reinvented my career and now dedicate it to coaching other ADDers through their challenges towards their place of confidence and success. My training, my coaching, my blog – are my contributions to that mission.

Which brings me back to the reading. I know you don’t have a lot of time. Your attention is a scarce commodity. I respect that about you. So I will cut to the chase right now with a caveat that will excuse you if you want to don’t want to invest anymore time.

This is, in some ways I suppose, a self-help blog. But not the kind permeates tactics and strategies for “overcoming” ADHD and becoming more “normal”. Strategies for self-improvement and gaining confidence are certainly explored, but not from a standpoint that negates how great you already are. If that’s what you want, I’ll tell you now you’ve got the wrong blog.

If, however, what you want right now is to find a new meaning to your life, to find some direction, build up your confidence and discover a new sense of worth and value that coexists with your ADHD – then you have found the right blog. This is what I am talking about. This is what I am all about. I don’t want you to relegate your ADD like some sort of cognitive cancer now in remission. I want you to rock it.

This is an existential journey into the depths of the collective ADHD conscious, searching for meaning, hope and acceptance. For it is in those realms that true freedom and mastery are born. True success with ADHD starts and ends with authentic self-worth. Put it this way: a low opinion of yourself won’t make your ADD any better and perhaps, makes it infinitely worse.  No strategy in the world will change your life if your head’s not going to change too. (Click to tweet)

Writing this series now, word by word, I will admit that I have no idea how deep this rabbit hole will go. But I am glad that you are coming on this journey with me.

 

 

Mindset

The First (And Most Important) Step in Getting Your Act Together

It sucks when you really want to do something and you just can’t do it.

It sucks even more when you know you can, but for whatever reason, it seems you can’t get your sh*t together and get it done.

If only I could get organized, then I could get this project done.

If only I knew where to start, then I could get this business up and running.

If only I would pay more attention to what I am doing, I wouldn’t lose everything I own.

If only I’d start remembering to do the important stuff, my bank account wouldn’t have gone overdrawn again for the third time this year.

 If only I’d get it together, I could really go for my dreams. I could live the life I want. I could stop living on the edge of greatness and become the person I really want to be and know I could be.

Why can’t I just get it together?

Have you been there? Cryptic words written on long-gone but not forgotten report cards echoing through your memory… “Would do well to pay attention.” “Must try harder.” Reminiscent of troubles that have repeated themselves throughout your life’s timeline…

Pay attention? Try harder? Thank you very much for the well-meaning advice, but when you take your car into the mechanic for a service, you don’t expect him to turn around and say to you “Your car needs a service”. That part is obvious. What you really want to know is: what needs to be done and how are you going to do it?

We are always trying harder. We are always paying attention. In fact, we overpay it. If attention was a currency, then we ADDers invest in so many different funds it would give the hardiest of accountants a stroke trying to keeping track of it all. We hemorrhage attention and have no innate ability to cauterize it. That’s why we can’t get our acts together.

So where does that leave us?

Usually, we just try harder. And hope that this time it will really work.

Like the latest business cliché, we don’t want to try harder. We want to try smarter. Most of us have this latent sense that we are capable of so much more than what we are doing right now. We sense that we could do great and wonderful things if a few habitual barriers would just get out of our way. And we tell ourselves that we will be truly happy with ourselves once we finally get our act together.

I hate to tell you this but it doesn’t work that way. That little piece of misinformation is what keeps you chasing your own tail in life’s revolving door of chaos.

The truth, in fact, is diametrically the opposite. You will get your act together in a much greater way once you become happier with yourself just the way you are.

It sounds crazy. Its feels counter-intuitive. How could being happier with how I am right now help me get more organized and on top of my game, if how I am right now is a complete mess?

I’ll tell you how in a minute, but first let me share with you a little analogy. When working as a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapist, I did a lot of work with people suffering from Panic Disorder. If you’ve ever suffered from a panic attack, you can appreciate how dreadful this condition can be. The question I was most often asked by clients at the beginning of therapy was:

“When will the panic attacks stop for good?”

My reply was always the same.

“When you stop being afraid of having them.”

This is the irony of Panic Disorder. It’s almost impossible to have a panic attack if you are totally comfortable with the experience of them. They’re never going to feel nice. But if you get to a place where they are reduced to the annoyance-level equivalent of a hiccup, they’ll pretty much disappear.

And so it is with ADHD. Not saying ADD will disappear once you learn to accept yourself with it. But the grip that ADD challenges have over your life will loosen. The less important they become in your mind, the less power they will have over you. New ways of being will finally feel free to manifest in your life when they no longer fear getting caught in the crossfire between you and your “old self”. When you open up your arms and embrace who you are right now, you are also welcoming the you that you are becoming. (Click to tweet)

When will you start getting your sh*t together?

When you stop being afraid of who you are with ADD.

This is what I am talking about…

Obviously, there is a lot more to getting your act together than this. But learning to embrace yourself as you are is the first and most crucial step in breaking through the glass ceiling of ADHD and moving up to the next level.

This post is the first in a series I intend to do on the topic of learning to be confident in yourself and flourishing with ADD. If you have any questions you would like addressed in this series, here’s your chance to let me know by leaving a comment below. If you are a blogger, don’t forget to sign in with Commentluv so you can promote your latest posts as well.

Creativity

50 Inspirational Quotes for ADDers to Live By

If I am completely honest with you, which I always am, doing this post today makes me feel like a bit of a rip-off artist.

For a couple of reasons. Firstly, doing a compendium of inspirational quotes is hardly an original idea. If you’re not an avid blog reader you’ll have to trust me when I say this topic has been done literally thousands of times before. Put it this way: an post about quotes is to blogging what a banana peel and an idiot are to slapstick comedy. Cliche.

The other reason it makes me feel like a swindler is a pretty obvious one, but I’ll point it out anyway. I am creating a post almost fully comprised of other people’s words. It’s like plagiarism – only justified through the use of proper punctuation.

So why do it?

You know me (you do by now, don’t you?) – I am eternally transparent and honest about what I am thinking and doing. I am also pretty upfront about why I write what I write. So here is the explanation.

There are no original ideas these days. Everything you read, whether through the medium of books, blogs, newspapers or the back of shampoo bottles – has all been thought of before. However, the ingenuity of literature comes not from the idea itself, but how its presented or dressed-up, if you will. Old ideas continue to be fresh and relevant when you put your own stamp on them.

Of course there are some original ideas hanging around in the creative jungle waiting to be snared, but I can’t think of any because… no one has thought of them yet. If you don’t quite follow me, close your eyes and try to imagine a brand-new, completely original colour – one that’s never been seen before. (I’ll give you a few minutes to scan your cerebrum…)

You see what I mean?

What we imagine or create is a combination of things we have already witnessed, but the way we combine those things is unique to ourselves.

So I can create my own rendition of a quotation-round-up post, but what about the fact that a bulk of the content, or in essence the storyline of this post, has been created primarily by the words of other people?

I have no excuse other than the fact that I love quotes. Apparently, so do a lot of other people, or bloggers at least.

To me, an inspirational quote is not merely a statement grazed from some famous person’s speech or an abridged form of a celebrated soliloquy. It is a concise, well-composed statement that powerfully articulates an important concept, one that is spoken by … anyone. Famous or not. I may have generated one of two inspirational “quotes” in my time. I’m almost certain that you will have too, whether or not you realize it. It’s not who says it that’s important, it’s what’s said.

The power of the inspirational quote is that, by employing a few carefully chosen and arranged words, it conveys a much bigger message in a single dose. Quotes can move you or simply make you laugh. They can motivate you, help you switch perspectives, or even shift entrenched emotional states. They can make you feel validated, vindicated, understood. They can innervate, intrigue, and inspire you to be in a different state, even if for just a moment.

Inspirational quotes make an effect on you, and they do it with very few words (“unlike me”, I’m thinking).

They are like self-help in a shot-glass. Like injectable therapy. The ultimate philosophy-hack.

That’s why they are wonderful for us ADDers. We like things with a kick – short, sharp, quick and powerful. We like short-cuts. We are drawn to metaphors that evoke vivid imagery. Many of us also have a love of language and play with words like they’re a form of linguistic Lego – quotes can be a fun and engaging way to inspire us.

But most importantly, there are times in life that we ADDers really need some inspiration. Or motivation. And certainly validation.

So without any further ado, firm in the belief that I have sufficiently defended my decision to “sell-out” with this cliché post, I present to you my top 50 quotes that every ADDer should live by.

Because this post will end up being a bazillion words, I have cataloged them according to the conditions for which they are most useful. You don’t need to read the whole post. Chances are good I have lost your attention already … (c’mon my ADD friend, don’t you realize I know you too?!)

Even if you don’t read the whole thing – make sure to skip to the comments at the end and share with me some of your favourite inspirational quotes. In fact, I even challenge you to create one or two of your own quotes and share them. If you’re worried about what other people will think, don’t – I have a quote for that too 🙂

Strength, Perseverance, and Overcoming Challenges

For those times when we feel like everything is impossible for us and are fed up with working so hard to do things that come easily to others. A few reminders that the daily trials and tribulations are what build our characters, give us strength and flexibility, and shape our determination.

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” Norman Vincent Peale

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”Art Linkletter

“Good timber does not grow with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.” J. Willard Marriott

“The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.” Ben Stein

“It is not what happens to you that determines how far you go in life; it is what you do with what happens to you.” Zig Ziglar

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” Muhammad Ali

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Risking the Humiliation of Failure

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For those times when by reaching for our dreams, living our adventures, or expressing our souls, we open ourselves up to the vulnerability and pain of possible failure, knowing that without that risk there can be no success.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream.”

“… often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement.” Florence Scovel Shinn

“Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” James Bryant Conant

“I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.” Michael Jordan

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

“You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George E. Woodberry

“I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”
Francis Ford Coppola

 

Being the Boss of Your Mind

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As we reside in our minds, we must remember that we are also the CEO of them. We lead the direction our minds take, and everything in life is experienced through our state of mind.

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” Zig Ziglar

“Never tell yourself … I can’t go on. If you do you’re licked, and by your own thinking too.” Norman Vincent Peale

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” Warren Buffett

“You become what you think about.” Earl Nightingale

“Some people have a negative attitude, and that’s their disability.” Marla Runyan

“If I shall have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

“Happiness is to be found along the way, not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it is too late. Today, this hour, this minute is the day, the hour, the minute for each of us to sense the fact that life is good, with all of its trials and troubles, and perhaps more interesting because of them.” Robert R. Updegraff

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” Albert Einstein

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” Charles Kingsley

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
William Shakespeare

Giving Yourself the Present

To help us never forget our being while we’re so busy doing and thinking.

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” William Feather

“I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” Abraham Maslow

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Thomas Merton

Going With the ADHD Flow

For when we are finally ready to give up being normal, and ready to be wonderfully, gloriously, successfully ADD.

“Work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” Napoleon Hill

“To be upset about what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” Ken Keyes, Jr.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” Denis Waitley

“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they cannot find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw

 

The Positive Symptoms

The yin and yang of ADD – reminders that not all the symptoms are always bad all of the time. To help us remember that sometimes a strength can come as a side effect of a “deficit”

“When your desires are strong enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.” Napoleon Hill

“It’s always fun to do the impossible.” Walt Disney

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Helen Keller

“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” H.G. Wells

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.” Plato

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“Some say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” John Lennon.

 

Dancing to Your Own Drumbeat

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No matter what other people think or how they may judge you or how you live your life – remember that you are the leading actor in the starring role of your life; they are merely supporting characters. There is no shame in authenticity but conformity for the sole purpose of fitting in, even when it goes against your true character, is negligent to the soul.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires…courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
George S. Patton

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.”
W. Somerset Maugham

“Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
Paul Gauguin

“The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip; to avoid this, the warrior treats each situation as if it were unique and never resorts to formulae, recipes or other people’s opinions.”Paulo Coelho

 

I hope you enjoyed – let me know your thoughts and share your own inspiration in the comments below!