What Makes Us Happy… It Isn’t What You Think

By Linda Walker

It’s getting to be so difficult knowing what gifts to give to your loved ones at the holidays. We all have so much “stuff.” Do we need more “stuff” to be happy? That’s a big “No.” That’s when I began to imagine what affordable yet memorable gifts I could give. I had some interesting ideas, so I thought I’d share them with you here.

What Makes Us Happiest

Studies tell us that the money you earn over $75,000 in annual income doesn’t make you happier. Neither do the things more money buys. What does make us happier? “Experiences!” Here’s what I mean by that.

Remember a time you bought tickets to a concert, a play, or a trip you’d been anticipating. As soon as you buy the tickets, it could be months before the event, you begin enjoying the experience. Anticipation of the event is a big part of the experience! Your brain’s reward center floods with dopamine. This help the Creative Geniuses and adults with ADHD I work with who lack dopamine.

Then comes the big day! The real live experience happens! You enjoy it, you make memories, it’s amazing! More dopamine hits! If someone else gifted it to you, you’re reminded of their gift and are grateful; another dopamine hit! Months, even years later, you describe the experience to others. You relive it again and flood your brain with more dopamine. Experiences are the best gifts you can give and receive. They flood your brain in dopamine as you wait for the big day. A dopamine flood again during the experience. And they live in your memory, flooding your brain with dopamine again and again!

What Makes a 73-Year-Old Grandmother Jump Like a Teenage Girl at a Beatles Concert

A few years ago, I gave my mother tickets to a Fleetwood Mac concert. She is their Number ONE fan. She was so excited. I kid you not, my then 73-year-old mother jumped up, screaming like a one of those teenage girls at a Beatles concert. She was so excited! It was a great gift for her but also an amazing gift for me! I loved to see her so excited. Then, of course, going to the concert was a great experience we still talk about today.

My grandkids live very far away. I only see them twice a year. They have a huge extended family so the kids have almost every gift under the sun. It’s hard to get them something they’ll appreciate. So, what do you give them? I know my oldest grandson loves reading, so I got him a subscription to National Geographic for Kids. Several times a year, he gets something new to read from me. And it reminds I love him.

The Gift of Creativity

Of course, one of my most famous and successful “experience” gifts I gave to my husband. When we were struggling with his ADHD, life wasn’t much fun. He was under stress and felt guilty for not pulling his weight at home. He didn’t feel he deserved to treat himself to any downtime. I wanted him to have the chance to develop his amazing artistic talents. I enrolled him in an art course as a Christmas gift. The course forced him to take two and a half hours a week to do honor one of his gifts. He loved the course! It helped him relieve stress. He became so much calmer after attending the weekly classes it was a gift for the whole family! And it was a catalyst for his art career.

Many of my clients’ spouses register them to one of my group coaching or online programs. These courses help them improve their productivity. But more important, it helps them find time and energy to do what they want in life. I’m revamping my programs to be better than ever, so I’m not trying to sell you anything. They aren’t available right now. But consider the gift of a course that will improve your loved one’s life.

Memberships are also great gifts. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is an organization serving adults with ADHD. They offer webinars, virtual support groups and more great services minimal cost.

Giving Is Also a Gift

Another great gift is to give money to charity. You can also volunteer as a family during the holidays. Each year I’ve given to charity in the name of my loved ones instead of gifts. World Vision has a catalog of projects you can gift.

My mom is an advocate for school children, teaching to prevent abuse and bullying. Each year I give money to save child soldiers or young girls sold into prostitution on her behalf. My father-in-law is a retired farmer. I give a donation to equip poor families with what they need to start a farm to feed their families in his name.

My oldest daughter and her family adopt a struggling local family. They assemble a gift basket of all the fixings for Christmas dinner and toys for each of the family’s children. A local organization involves the whole family in the experience. Everyone gets those dopamine shots that make you happy when you help others. These types of gifts remind us to be grateful for all we have and to pay it forward.

Enjoy your holidays. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Goal Setting for Creative Geniuses: Reaching Goals Without Willpower

This is the third part of my three-part series on Goal Setting for Creative Geniuses. In the first lesson of the series, we discussed the importance of the big WHY, your reason for wanting to achieve this goal. In the second lesson, we looked at how you can improve your chances of making progress by taking consistent actions that lead to results. In this lesson, I’ll share a model you can use to turn results-driven routines into habits so powerful you’ll practically be able to achieve your goals in your sleep! (Well, almost.)

As we’ve seen, it’s much easier to reach goals using small consistent actions than it is to try to do everything at once. If you were able to make those small consistent actions without thinking about them, you wouldn’t need willpower to reach your goal. The way to do this is to turn those routines, the small consistent actions that move you toward your goal into a habit.

Let’s look at how to do that. Turning those actions into a habit requires three components: a trigger, a routine and a reward. Let’s dive into each of these elements. A trigger is an event that occurs in your environment that tells you it’s time to start the routine. A routine is simply a series of steps that when completed in the same order allow you to reach a consistent result. The reward, of course, is a motivator – it can be external to the routine or integral to it.

So let’s look at an example of the “habit loop.” When you are hungry, your stomach growls (the trigger), you raid your pantry or the staffroom refrigerator for food, heat it up and eat it (all these steps are the routine) and your hunger is abated (the reward).

Let’s apply this same model to a goal you might want to reach: Getting in shape.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s much easier to reach this goal through a series of consistent actions, such as exercising every day, than it is to do it all at once. You can’t get to the Olympics by being a couch potato for three years and then working non-stop for the last year!

Step 1: Consider the routine first. When you apply this strategy to reach goals such as getting in shape by exercising every day, you’ll always want to look at the routine first. In this case, let’s say you decide you want to run for 30 minutes every morning before work. If you haven’t run in a while, you might need to start with running 5 minutes a day.

Step 2: Identify a trigger that will remind you it’s time to put on your runners and pound the pavement. Triggers can be auditory cues such as reminders or alerts on your phone, visual cues such as keeping your runners next to your bed so your feet hit your shoes first when you wake up. A trigger can also be an event such as waking up or eating breakfast. Choose one or more triggers to see what works best for you. You decide to set your alarm an hour before you usually wake up and to put your shoes next to your bed.

Step 3: Determine how you will stay motivated to continue. ”Ideally the reward comes naturally as a result of the routine. In this case, feeling healthy is its own reward, but you may need to spice things up, at least until you start feeling the health benefits of running. You may decide to reward yourself with a small piece of dark chocolate (my favorite!), read a magazine you enjoy, watch a couple of cat videos on YouTube, spend time with friends, etc. The key is that the reward must be motivating for you. Eventually, these three elements will be linked in your mind so that the trigger will not only remind you of the routine but also of the promise of the reward you’ll get from completing the routine.

One client who works in real estate wanted to increase his listings. He decided to use the Habit Loop to help make it happen. He chose his trigger as an appointment he had twice a week with a junior real estate agent he wanted to mentor to make calls.

The routine that would lead to more listings was to call more prospects, among other things. However, he struggled to get this done, so he looked at a reward that might help motivate him.
His reward initially was to have several prospective listings to visit. His ultimate reward was to increase his standing in the real estate brokerage firm he was associated with.

The Habit Loop works for everyone, but as a creative genius, just remember that your rewards need to occur relatively quickly after completion of the routine.

How You Can Use This

So now your it’s your turn. What results are you looking for?

Step 1: What is a routine that will help you progress toward that result?

Step 2: What trigger can you use to set the routine in motion?

Step 3: What reward will you get?
Will it be intrinsic to the routine or will you create an artificial one while you wait for your desired results? (To play it safe, use both!)

Once you’ve established a strong Habit Loop, you can count on reaching your goal automatically. You won’t need to think about it, and it really will feel like you could succeed in your sleep! Master the power of the Habit Loop and you’ll be able to easily achieve goals you once thought were out of your reach.

Hidden Agendas

We’re all committed. (Or perhaps we should be!)

all-tied-upThat’s why we’re often surprised (and furious at ourselves) when we fail to deliver on a promise we’ve made.

One client, a workaholic entrepreneur with ADHD (is there another kind?!) has committed to spend more time with her children. It’s important to her and it’s important to her family. She fully intends to leave work each day at 5:30 pm, but she has yet to follow through; instead, she continues to work past 6:30 or 7 pm.

Another client, a university student, must devote time to researching and writing an essay; he needs to ace this assignment to pass the course, and he’s committed to his academic success. However, he instead offers to help a classmate move over the weekend, taking up most of the time he had available for devote to his paper.

A Creative Genius client desperately looking for work, plans to contact prospective employers, but instead whiles away his days talking on the phone with his girlfriend, watching TV and other lower priority activities. He’s committed to finding a job, and he’s certainly committed to paying his bills!

Should You Be Committed?

In these examples, are my clients just bad people? No! Is there something wrong with them? No! Are they lying about their commitments? No! So what gives?

When speaking with them during their sessions, I was certain they were each committed to the projects we had identified at their top priorities. Each had a plan, and each wanted to succeed. It should have been easy but…

We often think of a “hidden agenda” as negative, a sneaky underlying objective that one person is perpetrating on another unsuspecting person. However, in the cases described above, each person is both the perpetrator and the victim of their own hidden agenda; they each had an underlying objective, one that remained hidden, even from them, that threw their priorities out of whack!

We all have these hidden agendas, promises we made to ourselves, usually as the result of some traumatic event in our childhood, that influence our actions daily. We’ve often had them so long that we don’t even recognize them anymore, at least, until they sneak up on us and confuse our priorities.

Our entrepreneur is divorced and is terrified of being destitute. Her hidden agenda is ensuring her security at all costs. The student fears not having friends, and so a hidden agenda of “being helpful so they’ll like me” rules his life without him even realizing it. Like many of us, our job searcher is afraid of rejection and so his hidden agenda is to “avoid rejection” which prevents him taking the risk of asking for a job, or even an interview.

What are your hidden agendas? Maybe you refuse to risk looking foolish, you never disturb or inconvenience others, you never allow yourself to be out of control or you reduce risks at any price. Somewhere in your past, you developed a belief that terrible things will happen if you don’t… work hard enough, help anyone who asks, do things perfectly or if you … ask someone for something, try something new and so on. There are more hidden agendas than there are people (some of us seem to collect them!)

What’s Your Hidden Agenda?

Each of our heroes is the victim of his or her own hidden agenda. What hidden agenda holds you as its unsuspecting victim? Have you made it a higher priority to avoiding anticipated financial ruin by accepting all work that comes your way than to spend time with your children? Are you more committed to “being a good friend” than you are to making good grades? Or are you more committed to avoiding ridicule by never trying anything new or risky so there’s no chance of making a mistake than you are of leaving a job you hate and trying to succeed in a new career?

The good news is that when you become aware of your hidden agendas, you can begin to stop their clandestine effects on your life. It’s natural for humans to develop these mechanisms to protect us from danger. However, we put the same mechanisms in place whether the danger is real or imagined. Once you recognize the mechanism, you can re-evaluate the perceived “danger” and uncover your “hidden” agenda. Once it’s uncovered, you are free to decide if it continues to serve a purpose.

How Can I Use This?

  1. First, notice how your hidden agendas control your life. Consider all the things you would do if only you didn’t have a hidden agenda to remind you of “horrific danger” looming at every corner. What is more important to you than the priorities you set in a moment of panic at a real (but no longer relevant) or imagined danger? What are you doing/not doing because of these hidden agendas?
  2. Where did your fears come from (Consider a childhood event or situation)? What’s the history of your fear? How did it serve you then? Though it really was a clever way to manage back then, is it still serving you?
  3. What do you think will happen if you choose not to let your hidden agendas rule your life? Look for evidence that they are not true. Look at other people’s behaviors, people who seem to live without fear of the consequences you envision, think of times when you didn’t heed your hidden agenda and the world did not end, or if you can’t find any, start testing its validity. Try “safe” tests and progress toward more daring tests.

Related posts:

What It Takes to Break a Habit

What Does It Take to Break a Habit?

how to break a habitSuccessful people tend to do the same things repeatedly (AKA habits and routines). As I gear up for year-end and New Year planning, I’ve been researching how we form habits for an update to tools in Succeed in a FLASH, a module of The Maximum Productivity Makeover. One thing is clear to me:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.

To change your life, you must transform yourself and to do that, you must change your habits. If you have a habit of watching TV from the time you get home from work until you go to sleep, you’ve become a couch potato. If you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to change that habit. You’ll need to choose a habit that allows you to progress toward this new objective… perhaps running!

Unfortunately, new habits can be difficult to form. Self-help gurus have been saying it only takes 21 days to form a new habit. Of course, you believe there is something wrong with you if you aren’t able to meet the 21-day deadline, but there is no evidence to support the 21-day rule.

The Real Deal About Habits

In fact, an article published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in October 2010 by Philippa Lally & al. who conducted research on how we form habits, states that is takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, depending on the habit. Other studies show it takes an average of 66 days to form small habits. Though you have your work cut out with you, at least now you know there’s nothing wrong with you!

Our brains are wired with pathways of varying strengths. The strongest pathways are habits you currently hold and they are very difficult to break. Even that is good news, because once you form a new, more progress-oriented habit, you’ll be more likely to keep it.

However, you might feel discouraged at having to work this hard to break or form a habit. Take comfort in knowing that it won’t take that long to gain the benefits of making these changes. And if you focus on the benefits, you’ll find it motivating to continue.

So, let’s say you’ve decided to adopt a new habit because you’d like to run the marathon. You’ll need to break your bad habit of watching TV and start a new habit of training for the marathon. What’s next?


Breaking a Habit

You’re more likely to break a habit if you replace it by another one. However, it’s important when trying to break a bad habit to consider the need this habit was filling, and to address this need by finding another more positive way to fill it. If your TV watching fills your need to unwind after a long day’s work, you’ll need to find a different way to unwind or your efforts to change that habit are wasted. Read, play music, dance, or chat with a loved one; whatever re-energizes you. If you ignore this need, you’ll soon be mindlessly watching TV again in no time.

Make Sure It’s Important to YOU

It will take a lot of work to adopt a new habit. It might even be painful at times. You’ll often be tempted to slip back. So if you expect to stick with it, you really, really, really need to want it badly, very badly (is that enough emphasis!?) Your new goal and the habits required to achieve it must be for your benefit and not for someone else’s. If someone else is dictating that you create a new habit and the objective is not important to you, you will not likely make the change or, if you do, you won’t sustain the change. You must create a goal that is compelling, emotional or fun. Ask yourself why it’s important to you to run the marathon. Ask that question until you find an answer that moves you (in this case, literally!)

Journal about it, visualize it, act as if you had already achieved it. These activities engage your emotions and help you stay the course.

Make new habits easy to adopt

To adopt a new habit, you’ll need a reminder or trigger. You can use a reminder on your smart phone or better still, use a trigger. A trigger is an event that already happens consistently in your life. For example, every day you get home from work at 5:30 pm. Arriving home from work can be the trigger that reminds you it’s time to don your running clothes.

Other triggers can be other habits you already have, such as having breakfast, brushing your teeth or having lunch. Anchoring a new habit to one you already have is a powerful way to improve your chances that your new habit will stick.

How can I use this now?

  1. Set a goal and identify the habits that will help you achieve that goal;
  2. Identify the habits you currently have that don’t support this goal. Determine what need they fill and find different ways to fill that need that will allow you to change your habits to those that will help you progress to whom you want to become;
  3. Make sure your goal is something you want and is emotionally compelling to you;
  4. Change your habits one at a time. Start with one habit, and anchor it to a habit you already have or an event you live every day.

Related posts:

Attitude is Everything
ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

So Good It Hurts?!

iStock_000006612240XSmallTwo Ways Your Creativity Can Hurt You

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?

  1. When faced with a recurring painful situation, ask yourself:
    1. What am I thinking about that situation? What do I think happened?
    2. What really happened? What are the facts, just the facts?
  2. When you hear yourself say, “I can’t”, ask yourself:
    1. Is that true?
    2. How do I know it’s true? And is it really, really true? Is there another explanation?
  3. 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.

Related posts:

Attitude is Everything
ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows

Attitude Is Everything!

PS: main focus on thumbRemember the experiment I invited you to do in the last article ( ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows ) about changing your point of view before you get the results you’d like to see. If you recall, the lesson is that belief in the possibility always comes before the results you are seeking. If you don’t believe something is possible, you won’t make it happen. Instead, as soon as things start looking as though they aren’t going your way, you give up, usually accompanied by an, “Ahah! I knew it wouldn’t work!”

If you’re looking for proof, waiting to see the results before you believe they are possible, you already have your belief… you believe it’s not possible.

Often times, you consider doing something to improve your life, saying:

“I’d like to buy that book….”

“I’d like to take that course…”

“I’d like to hire that person…”

The sentence continues: “…but… “followed by “…I can’t afford it” or “…I don’t have time”.

Actually, in your head (or hidden in your heart of hearts) is the real rest of the sentence… It is, “…because it won’t work for me anyway.”

If there was no question that the:

Book would reveal the secret to achieve your dreams…

Course would teach you exactly what you need to know to win your dream job…

Interviewee sitting across from you was exactly the right person to help take your company to the next level…

You’d do it in a heartbeat, budget and agenda be damned!

But you have proof that it won’t work, because nothing else you’ve started (with that same attitude) has worked. But imagine if the results depend on the attitude and not the other way around! What becomes possible? If instead, you believed it would work, you’d find the time, the money or whatever resource you need. You’d make it happen.

How You Can Use This?`

  1. Write a statement describing what you’d like to do, followed by “but,” and then followed by the obstacle you perceive.
  2. Consider what your real belief is about yourself. Is there any other underlying belief that could be stopping you? .
  3. Now consider, if you didn’t believe this, what could you make happen? .
  4. If you like what you imagine, change your belief. (Yes, it’s that easy.) .
  5. Related posts:

    ADHD Brainwashing First, Transformation Follows
    Sing Your Heart Out
    Who Are You Not To Be Great?

Can Adults With ADHD Really Become Creative Geniuses?

reinvent-yourselfMany ADHD adults have tried different approaches to fit in. You’ve tried to be more “linear,” more “logical.” You’ve enrolled in Franklyn-Covey or Day Timer time management programs. They didn’t work. You’ve tried to emulate family members and friends, hoping, at least, to “look normal.” You’ve spent great amounts of time cleaning your office / desk / home, trying to achieve perfection.

“Help, I Don’t Think I’ll Ever Be Normal!”

But nothing was ever good enough. The saddest part is that many of ADHD adults eventually give up on themselves, thinking “I’m ADHD, I can’t get my s&#!t together, so how can I ever succeed?”
Of course, if you think you’re beaten, you are! If you think of yourself as defective, incapable, a victim of your ADHD, you can’t reach your full potential.

Become a Creative Genius Instead

I’ll explain. Recently I participated in a program because I wanted to bring my business to “the next level.” My business, like many others, has been affected by the economic crisis.
I couldn’t understand why I still had to struggle to make ends meet. After all, I had been working hard and investing a lot on myself and in my business. Then it dawned on me. The person I was then was not who I needed to be to take my business to the “next level.”

I’ll be honest; I had been working hard behind my computer screen. However, to grow my business I have to talk to people who intimidate me a little… okay, a lot. The current “me,” when faced with contacting these “scary” intimidating people, gave into the fear and cleaned my desk. This fearful desk-cleaning nut was not the person who was going to go far in business.

To become a successful businessperson, I had to reinvent myself as a successful businessperson and do what a successful businessperson would do. I had to be bold, to get out there and talk to people, and not just any people, but the very people who intimidate me. Oddly enough, once I figured this out, my fear was no longer in the way; I no longer let the fear stop me. No, the fear doesn’t go away, but I am not a successful businessperson who is able to feel the fear without letting it stop me from doing the things I need to do. Now I take action, making me the successful businessperson I longed to be.

Reinventing Yourself Can Be as Simple as Changing Your Point of View

When you reinvent yourself, you choose to be the person you need to be to achieve what you want, and then you take the actions that being this person allows you to take. Reinventing yourself as a creative genius allows you redefine yourself, which leads you to think and act with a very different perspective. As a capable creative genius, you no longer live within the limits your ADHD (and you) imposed on yourself.

When my husband tried to lose weight, nothing worked until he decided to reinvent himself. He reinvented himself as a healthy person and began to make the choices a healthy person would make. This allowed him to shed 120 lbs! Einstein chose to master his creative genius, not by trying to be “normal,” but by working on mathematical formulas instead of trying to improve his writing skills (he was dyslexic) or keeping his home spic ‘n span, (he delegated that to his poor wife). Judging from photos, he probably didn’t spend a lot of time on personal grooming either. To us it seems only natural.

If right now you see yourself as an ADHDer, consider perceiving yourself instead as a creative genius, who will have a huge impact on your world. This will help you think as a creative genius and choose activities that allow you to take advantage of your untapped potential instead of watching another TV show (that you really don’t like anyway!)

Seeing yourself as a Creative Genius gives you freedom and reduces the resistance you feel. You allow yourself to be Unstoppable!

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

First, visualize your life as a creative genius. See yourself working with your strengths, imagine feeling competent, and smile to yourself as you visualize enjoying the fruits of your labor. Get out a piece of paper and describe what being a creative genius allows you to do that you can’t do right now.

Now, given the potential reward, don’t you think it’s time to unleash your creative genius? What action would you take if you were a creative genius? Well, you ARE a creative genius if you say so, so take that first step. Be bold and don’t allow your old self to stop you.

Related posts:
Obstacles to Unleashing Your Creative Genius
Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD
What on Earth is a Creative Genius Coach

Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD

beyond-adhdAdults with ADHD often refer to themselves as “ADHD Adults,” as if ADHD is something that you are instead of something you have. I’ve never been comfortable with that idea, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason until…

Last weekend, I met a woman whose child has a severe handicap. She explained that for years she had felt doomed to caring for a handicapped child for the rest of his life, or at least the rest of her life. She defined him by his disabilities instead of seeing the child behind the label.

However, she had a personal breakthrough when she began to see her son as a child with a handicap rather than as a handicapped child. When she began to notice and concentrate on his strengths, his qualities, his abilities and his persistence, well, so did her son, and before long, miracles began to happen. Her son began to develop physically and intellectually beyond anyone’s expectations.

Though it may sound like trivial wordplay, seeing yourself as an adult with ADHD instead of as an ADHD adult changes your perspective, and it allows you to see the whole person that you are with your talents, dreams, abilities and all your other gifts. Yes, you still recognize that ADHD may make some things more difficult, but it doesn’t make them impossible, and hey, it might even make some things easier. This new point of view lets you see new opportunities, bringing what’s possible into focus instead of holding your attention only on the impossible.

When you see past the “disability” to focus on your gifts, you begin to unleash your creative genius. Yes, you have ADHD, but it doesn’t have you.

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

If you’ve been defining yourself or someone you know as an ADHDer, adult or child, change the language you use. This simple change provides a new perspective and allows you to see the person in a completely new light.

Next, begin to notice your talents, strengths, dreams and hopes and concentrate on those while acknowledging and seeking help to manage any obstacles your ADHD creates. You’ll be amazed at the miracles that become possible.

20 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Re-Energize Your Brain

Taking a break may be better for productivityIn part one of this series, Be Productive: Take a Break you learned how important it is for ADHD adults and other Creative Geniuses to recognize when it’s productive to take a break. Yesterday, I discussed the science behind re-energizing your brain. Today, I have a list of possible break activities you can use to get your second wind. Every one of them is better for you than watching TV or playing a video game. Hopefully, these will inspire you:

  • Short 20-minute nap
  • Vigorous exercise, such as a brisk walk around the block
  • Activities you enjoy such as Sudoku, office-chair chariot races
  • Laughing – read a joke, watch a very funny short video
  • Read for enjoyment
  • Listen to music
  • Better still, listen to music as you play air guitar or air drums
  • Dance
  • Draw or do something creative
  • If you’re extroverted, chat with a friend (co-ordinate breaks so you’re not disturbing people!)
  • Meditate (if it energizes you)
  • Play a musical instrument for one song
  • Stretch, yoga, Tai Chi
  • Visualization – imagine yourself on the beach, on a water slide, parachuting…
  • Deep breathing
  • Drink water
  • Journal rant – write what you’re feeling and thinking – get it out of your system
  • Dreamscape – think of your dream vacation, dream house, your dream date (McDreamy or McSteamy for any of you Grey’s Anatomy fans)…
  • Walk to other parts of the building where you work and visit

Years ago when I still had a job, for a break a bunch of us decided to see how many people we could fit in our über small coffee closet. Weird, I know, but we had fun and while we were crammed together, we started talking, others began to entertain. By the way, we fit 26 people in a 15 square foot place.

Be creative and have fun!

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

  1. Choose from these or hopefully get inspired to find your own productive break activities and schedule time in your day for these types of breaks when you run out of steam. You’ll be amazed what happens.
  2. Choose a personal activity you’d like to do in the evening and see how you feel.
  3. Let me know how it goes; write your comments below, and please share your ideas as well.

What Constitutes a Productive Break: It Isn’t What You Think

A few days ago, I discussed the importance for ADHD adults and other Creative Geniuses to recognize when it’s productive to take a break . Today, we’ll discuss what constitutes a productive break and a bit of the science behind it.

Why Bother?

Choosing productive, rejuvenating breaks doesn’t only benefit your employer, if you have one; it benefits YOU. If you take a re-energizing break when you need it, you’ll regain your energy so that you’ll have mental and physical energy to finish your work on time but better still, you’ll also have energy left to engage in personal goals and projects and unleash your creative genius.
Many ADHDers work late to make up for a perceived lack of productivity. You work late so you get home late, feeling tired and with little energy left to pursue your own passions. Discovering the best way, the most productive way, for you to take a break is not only altruistic; it serves your needs as well.

What Constitutes a Productive Break?

In modern society, we’re encouraged to “take a break” using external forms of stimulation such as watching TV, surfing the Web or playing video games.

You might even feel that since these activities are stimulating, they’ll give you energy and allow you to bounce back from feeling tired. Unfortunately, they are not only addictive, some of these activities actually totally drain your energy supply and, worse, leave you drained even after you’ve stopped engaging in them.

I know you’ve heard how bad TV and video games are for ADHDers. I don’t want be another nagging voice telling you to “Turn off the TV and go outside!” so let me take it a bit further and explain a bit of the science behind the issue.

Short Course on Brain-Wave Patterns

Your brain produces waves in response to your activities and depending on the activity, your brain waves fit various patterns. Your ability to focus also depends on those brain-wave patterns. Beta brain waves keep you alert and able to focus. Alpha waves indicate that your brain is at rest. Delta waves occur when you are asleep.

Since the aim of a productive break is to rest your brain but then allow it bounce back and regain energy, at the end of a productive break you need to be producing beta brain waves, right?

Now the Studies

Studies using EEG and MEG (to measure your brain wave activity) have shown that when people watch TV, their brain produces Alpha waves; this is why you tend to watch TV to relax… it is relaxing. But here’s what’s crazy-bad for you: when you turn off your TV set, the sense of relaxation ends but your brain remains passive and lacks alertness. In other words, TV “sucks the energy” right out of you.

Video games are no better. Studies that measure brain activity show that video game players show an overall decrease in Beta waves; the more you play video games, the longer Beta wave patterns stay near zero even when you’re no longer playing.

I’m not saying you can never ever watch TV or play video games again. But if you’re taking a break because you want to regain energy so you can unleash your creative genius after your break, those activities are big no-nos.

Conclusion:: Watching TV and playing video games does not allow you to regain the Beta brain wave production you need to feel alert and energized.

Tomorrow, I’ll share 20 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Energize Your Creative Genius Mind.

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

If you’d like to progress in your personal projects and goals by taking full advantage of your creative genius, commit to doing something other than watching TV, playing video games or going on the Web, before your personal development activities.

Related posts:

Be Productive: Take a Break