The Possibilities of ADD
As an avid reader and one possessed by the passion for personal transformation, every once in a while I come across a book that has me smitten from the opening chapter. My latest infatuation is fixed on a book written by a couple, Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander, entitled The Art of Possibility.
None of the concepts they have written about are completely new to me. I have a background in Cognitive Therapy and training in Life Coaching, so the idea that we manifest the world we see through our thoughts about it, is not only familiar to me but almost a personal manifesto of sorts. What does make this book different, in my eyes, is not the message it delivers but the questions it begs you to ask of yourself. This is exactly the point in which the power of Coaching and Cognitive Therapy is also found. People learn not so much from what they are told, but from what they discover for themselves.
The message of this book resonates loud and clear with me: if you intend to transform your life, you first need to look at it through an entirely new lens, one that is crystal clear with possibilities rather than muddied and fogged with thoughts of failures and problems. After all, the authors tell us – it`s all invented anyway. I wonder how this message might change the life of an ADDer who is coming to terms with the diagnosis. So much emphasis is put on the disorder, it is easy to forget that some of the characteristics of ADHD could actually be employed as strengths, if used properly.
I know this sounds absurd, the idea that ADHD could be a strength. Currently there is much debate around the notion that it may even be a gift. Most people who live with it would beg to differ. However, if we play around with this idea in the spirit of possibility, new views of the horizon can emerge. Yes, I accept that ADD is a disorder, insofar as the ninety percent of the population (give or take) wired in a neurotypical way create the rules and structures in which the ADDer struggles. However, life is not always linear, systematic, or logical. There come times that a brain wired for obscure, tangential, circular thinking styles and hyperactive, hyper-focused energy is not only an asset but crucial.
In his book, The Da Vinci Method, Garrett La Porto argues that when ADDers are activated and truly engaged in what they are doing, they can apply an extraordinarily high degree of focus and energy in achieving that endeavour. He argues that the level at which they are capable of engaging far surpasses that which `normal` people are capable of. The drawback: their routine output, the kind that keeps day-to-day life ticking along, is also far less than that which `normal` people produce. However, there are times in life when high engagement and output is demanded – times of innovation, proliferation, creativity, exploration, crisis or even war. Its during these times that an ADDer`s brain wiring could be viewed not as disorder, but actually functional. I`m not saying he (La Porto) is right and I don`t know of any science that suggests he is. I`m just saying – it`s a POSSIBILITY...
No one will argue that being short has it`s disadvantages. I`m almost positive that being exceedingly tall has its drawbacks too. But there could be times when being either tall or short puts you at an advantage for getting certain things done. Maybe the advantages aren`t nearly as plentiful as the disadvantages however one thing is certain – the more you focus on what seems impossible rather than what could be, you decidedly live in a world that will close its doors to you.
ADD is a challenge, there is no doubt about that. It becomes especially challenging when you try to force yourself live a neurotypical life. Technically, you could drive your car in reverse everyday and probably still get to your destination, but your journey will go a lot smoother and more enjoyably if you operate your car the way it was designed to be driven. Living well and flourishing with ADD means learning how to use your brain the way it is designed to used. Pause and listen to what your vehicle is telling you, pay attention to each journey, and the things you need to run smoothly will become apparent to you. If you get to know your brain, how it works and what it needs, and then you adjust your environment, habits and thoughts accordingly, to the best of your ability – you open up a world that is full to the brim with possibilities and the only doors that close are the ones you slam yourself.
Benjamin Zander @ TED
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