It has been my experience that as ADHDers we can see the potential in so many situation and in so many items. We don’t see a toilet paper roll. We see an art project. This is at once one of our greatest strengths and one of our most present challenges. What I have found is that we often ignore the process that will get to our desired end result in favor of focusing on the pleasing idea of the result. We will often get lost in all the wonderful possibilities and not actually follow through on many or any of them.
I find it helpful to help my clients refocus on the process. Because if we are not interested in engaging in the process, we will never achieve the end result. Here are two examples from my life. I have always been an athlete. Sports have been my “happy place” since I was 3 years old. And, one of the reasons that I’m very good is that I love the practice as much as the games. I love doing drills, honing my skills, and doing the things that it takes to be better. On the other hand, I’ve always wanted to play an instrument. For a long time it was guitar. I bought myself a guitar with my graduation money from culinary school. I took some lessons… and flamed out. I just didn’t enjoy practicing. I want to play guitar, but not enough to actually practice.
This really illustrates my point, but also the idea that if we are not interested, our brains don’t set us up for success at pushing though the boring part. There has to be an intrinsic desire for the process or the end result has to be so powerful that it pushes us to get through the tough process.
The point is that we need to be careful about what we chose to work for. If we select a goal that will be torturous to achieve, we are likely to not engage in the process, feel like failures, and have predominantly negative fall out. But, if we acknowledge that we aren’t interested in the process, it is not a failure. In fact, it is a positive step in terms of self awareness to recognize where it is most useful to allocate our resources of time, energy, and attention.
I’m still a competitive athlete. I’m still NOT a guitar player. The only difference is that I know I’m not a guitar player so I don’t beat myself up for not following through.