As an entrepreneur, adult with ADHD or other creative genius, your creativity is one of your most important assets. Your imagination knows no bounds and it’s a great strength. However, if you’re not careful, your best friend, your very own creativity, can actually hold you back.
Your Creativity Hurts You When You Use It to Explain What Happened
Things happen… constantly. Most events are completely meaningless in your life… in fact, you aren’t even aware of most of them. However, if you’re aware of something happening, you automatically try to assign it meaning. You have a voice in your head constantly evaluating every event and categorizing it according to its impact on you, and to determine its impact, you make up a story about it. Usually, making up stories is a good thing, but if your imagination invents a story that generates pain or self-doubt and paralyzes you, then you’ve just imagined shooting yourself in the foot!
Of course, most events have no effect on your life, are completely innocuous and/or have nothing to do with you. But you explain every one of them using scenarios you invent with that wonderful imagination of yours. Even events that affect you may not have anything to do with you; certainly, they’re not your fault. For example, if your parents divorced when you were young, you may have invented a story that “if I didn’t ADHD, my parents would have stayed together.” If you wave to someone across the street and she doesn’t wave back, you might interpret it as meaning “she hates me.” If you notice people laughing as you enter a room, you could decide, “They’re laughing at me.”
Your Creativity Hurts You When It Stops You Trying
You can even make up stories about things that haven’t happened yet. This is when your imagination really kicks into high gear. Your creativity makes you a fortuneteller! For example, faced with a new project, you might tell yourself, “I can’t do that! After all, I’ve never done it before.” Or you’re using the past to predict the future (it doesn’t work that well for the weather so why would you think it would work for your life); “I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. These things never work for me!” You’re defeated before you try.
This, of course, is deadly for a Creative Genius. After all, as you unleash your creative genius and follow your passion, you’re going to be doing many things you’ve never done before. You should be stretching so far out of your comfort zone you won’t even remember what it looks like. You don’t need your imagination predicting failure before you get started.
Just the Facts, Ma’am
Detach fact from fiction and you’ll soon realize that while your parents did get a divorce, it had absolutely nothing to do with you. Yes, it affected your life, but you were not the cause and nothing you could have done would have prevented it. You invented that meaning using your wonderful (but sneaky) imagination! The girl who didn’t wave back just didn’t wave back. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you; it doesn’t mean anything. Your imagination decided she didn’t like you. Your imagination could have also decided she didn’t see you or that it wasn’t even who you thought it was, but even that is an invention! Yes, they were talking when you came into the room, but that’s all. Your imagination is hijacking your emotions by creating a story about how they were talking about you.
If you do things you’ve never done before, how can you predict what the outcome will be? (Actually, by imagining you will fail, you increase your chances of failing, but let’s not get into a philosophical discussion!) And if you try something new and it doesn’t work out the first time, is it possible that it might go wrong without meaning that “I’ll NEVER be able to do this!”? Hey, I’ll be that if you used your creative genius, I bet you could even come up with another explanation!
Things happen. They’re going to keep right on happening. You can continue to let your imagination hold you captive by inventing stories that make you feel bad or helpless. Or you can decide to examine the facts objectively without attaching a made-up meaning to it (and they’re all made-up!), a story that implies everything bad that happens is your fault, everyone is your enemy and you’ll never be able to do that! You can choose to see things objectively and save your imagination for creating new and exciting projects and ideas and free yourself from the pain your distorted or limiting beliefs are creating for you.
How Can I Use This?
- When faced with a recurring painful situation, ask yourself:
- What am I thinking about that situation? What do I think happened?
- What really happened? What are the facts, just the facts?
- When you hear yourself say, “I can’t”, ask yourself:
- Is that true?
- How do I know it’s true? And is it really, really true? Is there another explanation?
- Separate your distorted or limiting belief from the facts, and choose to only look at the facts. This will open up a completely new world for you.