Creativity

Non-Conformity and Being Prolific: An Interview with Bryan Hutchinson

bryan_hutchinson_positive_writer_5

While ADDers are well-endowed in the creativity department, many of us find it difficult to bring our multitude of ideas to life.  For this post, I have had the wonderful opportunity to pick the brains of Bryan Hutchinson – one of the most productively creative and inspiring ADDers I know. Let’s get to it – enjoy!

 

Andrea:  Bryan, you have published eight books, including the best-selling “Writer’s Doubt”, created two hugely successful blogs, and authored featured articles for national magazines and newspapers. Most ADDers I know struggle with finishing stuff.  Yet when it comes to productive creativity, you’re kind of a machine. What’s your secret and where can we buy it?

Bryan: Ha! You’re very kind, Andrea. My secret is actually quite simple, I stopped trying to conform to linear ways of doing things.

Most people with ADHD fight with themselves all of their lives, trying to do things in standards ways in which they have been taught. I remember in school, already at a very young age, I did things in non-standard ways and I would always get in trouble for it. Sometimes I needed to walk or fidget in order to think. I always got in trouble for that and the teachers thought I was lazy and I didn’t care, and frankly, so did my parents.

As an adult I can work on my own personal projects in any way I please – and I do. And because I do, I have become extremely prolific. But that happened in my 30’s. The problem with most of us with ADHD is that because of how we’re taught to behave in school, we think there is something wrong with us and most do not ever become comfortable doing things their own ways.

 

Andrea: I’ve noticed that too. In the opening of your book “10 Things I Hate About ADD”, you describe ADD as a gift that comes with some side effects (darn that falling pipe!). This philosophy is what has always drawn me to your writing. What is your reaction to the naysayers – who claim that ADHD is exclusively a disorder whose “gifts” are merely incidental – and how should we punish them?

Bryan: The problem here is actually very simple. Linear thinkers see non-linear thinking as defective thinking. This is normal. It’s like the writing advice that says we should write every day and we should write a specific number of words. That’s absolutely linear thinking. I write when I feel compelled to write, and when I think of writing a specific number of words for a day, well, that makes me want to throw up. I write however many words I’m compelled to write. Period. When I decided to embrace my quirks (which writing, when compelled, is seen as), I felt less guilty and I excelled. No one holds us back more than we do.

 

Andrea: Sadly, you’re right. Often we are our own biggest enemies – whether that relates to our ADHD or to our creativity. This is not necessarily a chicken-or-egg question… but how do your ADHD traits influence your creativity and, conversely, how has creativity influenced your ADHD? (If chickens or eggs are involved, that’s fine.)

Bryan: My ADHD traits are my creativity, so this question doesn’t make sense to me anymore. And frankly, I’m okay with that. As an adult who has become successful at doing things his way, it’s hard to see my ADHD traits as defects anymore. We’re taught we are defective as children because we don’t settle and do things appropriately, but I was pretty unhappy and unproductive trying to conform.

 

Andrea: Speaking of doing things your own way, I’m curious about your writing process. When I’m writing a blog post, one idea leads to another and another and another. Before I’ve written one full post, I usually have at least five other beginnings to other posts. I don’t watch you write because that would be creepy and impossible, but I imagine you probably have “too many” ideas too. How do you keep focused on what you’re working on, but still keep track of all the other thoughts that come into your head?

Bryan: I don’t have a perfect method for this. I’m not sure I even have an answer. I used to try to keep track, but it’s too difficult. This is one of those things where I accept what I remember and try not to regret what I forgot, but a notebook doesn’t hurt (when I remember to use it).

 

Andrea: I love how at ease you seem with your ADHD, and with your own creative process. Whether you’re writing about ADHD or the art of writing, positivity is a theme that runs through your work. What inspires your positivity and how do you maintain it!?

Bryan: Hmmmm… I think this is because I’ve been pushed down so much in my life and the more negative I felt, the more negative consequences I had, whether anyone was pushing me down or I was doing it to myself. At some point, I realized that positivity really does work. I know, there are a lot of naysayers out there who say positive thinking is a waste of time, well, their path takes them in one direction and mine takes me in another. Which one is right or wrong? I don’t know, but I do know I am quite productive being positive.

 

Andrea: I have to agree with that one. Negativity has never made me, or anyone I know, better at anything – apart from complaining. Because you have mastered what it takes to be a Positive Writer, I wonder what one piece of advice you would give to other ADDers who aspire to become writers? (Yes, this question is largely self-serving!)

Bryan: Be a writer. It’s that simple. No one needs my permission or anyone else’s permission to be a writer. If you write, you’re a writer. So be one. Keep writing until you get to “The End.” However, with that said, it doesn’t hurt to be inspired, and in all honesty, the best writing is inspired writing. So, find ways to become inspired. Whatever makes you happy. Take a trip. Explore a new store or mall. Watch a movie you love. Do something out of the ordinary. Meditate. Or, read my new book. 🙂

 

I must say, Bryan Hutchinson has always been a source of inspiration for me – for both his message and his creative output. Whether you are trying to get ahead in your own creative career, or just need a lift when ADHD is getting you down, check out Bryan’s books here. And make sure to check out his latest book:

Inspired Writer: How to Create Magic with Your Words (Sold nearly 10,000 copies in the first 3 days!!!)

My biggest, gushiest heartfelt thanks to Bryan. As prolifically productive of a writing-machine that he is, he still took time out to participate in this interview with me. I have to say guys – we’re lucky to have him as part of our tribe 🙂

Mindset

Relentless Positivity

Positivity… we all know it can help you go farther in life…

Positivity, at best, inspires you to keep going, move forward and reach for your highest potential. At worst, it softens the blows when something doesn’t work out like we hoped it would.

The most successful people in life are not those who have had no obstacles. They are the people who have fallen and gotten back up – tougher and stronger than before. They are the positive people, who no one can hold down for very long.

But positivity isn’t something that can be achieved easily for everyone. For some of us, we are negative by nature. We don’t mean to be downers, but our set point simply hovers around zero. For others, life has thrown so many curve balls, the only way they can avoid getting hit any more is to constantly look down.

But there is, objectively, no more reason to look on the downside than there is to look up. Looking up can actually inspire you to get back up – try harder, do better, push yourself until you achieve the success you desperately want. On the contrary, negativity does nothing more than hold you down in the trenches with the heel of its boot pressed up against your ear.

How do you get more positivity in your life when can’t find anything to be positive about?

You have to fight for it, of course!

You have to pursue it, relentlessly, until it can escape you no longer.

No one said that positivity has to come easily in order for it to be worth it. You need to look for the reasons to be positive. You need to search your soul and itemize every single thing you have to be grateful for, no matter how small. You need to dig deep, find the beauty in every moment, and be glad simply because you are alive. Turn the other cheek, not to get smacked again – but to see what you have been missing. There is always a silver lining. If you don’t see it, maybe you haven’t opened your eyes all the way.

I know its not that easy…

But you have to treat positivity as something to be sought after… coveted. And anything you want that badly – you’ll fight for.

The harder and longer you chase positivity, the more likely it is you will find it.

For more motivational videos, check out motiVRations!

 

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

woman-1006100_1920

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

boy-633014_1920

 

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

ballet-359982_1920

 

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!