Growing us with Dyslexia was no fun for many reasons, but one I can recall with great certainty is how much I struggled with reading. Some kids hated gym, others despised math, me? I loathed English class and hated reading comprehension activities.
It’s no secret that when I started college, my reading and writing skills were so poor, I had to take English 099 my first semester. ..which in retrospect worked out great because next semester, I met my wife in English 101 when she transferred in. Let’s just say that God had a plan! The Russian was an avid reader and an A student when it came to English…even though English wasn’t her first language. I can’t say that we exactly bonded over our love of reading, but over the last 20 years of marriage, if not her love of reading, then at least her appreciation for the power of books has leaked over to me and now I’m a huge advocate of the written word.
If you’re not a fan of reading and you’re on this blog because of the videos, am I freaking you out yet? 😉 Seriously, check out the video – I’ve got some good suggestions on how to make reading a little bit easier.
I speak to a lot of educators and all of them are always looking for ways to better interact with their students. This is especially important when a handful of the students have special needs. This video is a continuation of my very own (goofy!) take on a great little article published on additudemag.com called 40 Best School Accommodations for your ADHD Child. Check out the first video in the series, here.
I’ve been a public speaker for close to 20 years. Spoken to groups as big as 75,000 people and as small as 5. I’ve been all over the world and have maintained a busy speaking schedule consistently for almost two decades with no marketing save word of mouth. You might say I’ve done alright for myself. You might say that I fit the description of “successful”. Yet there are still days when I doubt my own abilities and question my calling as a speaker. I forget all the things that I have done and achieved and get caught up in feeling low. I’m sure it seems insane, but all it really means is that no one is immune to self-doubt. Not you, not I, not the very famous and very rich either. No one is exempt from those days when you wake up feeling like you’ve missed the boat and that you would be so much happier if your life was completely different. For many of us, this signals a downward spiral that could mean days or even weeks of lack of motivation, or worse, depression.
I’m not really sure why this happens, but I have noticed that for me, stress, not getting enough rest and lack of down time often precede episodes of stinkin’ thinkin’. Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are definitely some things that you can do or have a spouse, best friend or trusted partner help you do to minimize the impact of the days of doom and gloom and help you get back on track.
There are days when you just don’t feel like doing anything. What’s the point? you ask yourself. I’ve been slaving away at this job/project/idea/marriage for days/weeks/months/years and there doesn’t seem to be a pay-off in sight. I’m tired of this whole thing and it’s time for a change. Usually, this is the point where a lot of us ADDers (and lots of regular folks too!) do something impulsive and not necessarily smart – we quit and start looking around for something or someone else that gets us excited and captures our attention…leaving behind us a wake of unfinished projects, career starts and relationships that could have blossomed into something wonderful had we actually given them enough time and pushed through the hard times.
What’s enough time? Excellent question and I don’t have a precise answer because it is different for everyone, but here’s a little a little trick to try, to see if it really is time to pull the plug: Think about the victories, small or big, that you have experienced along the way with the project/person you’re thinking about leaving behind and ask yourself about the reasons why you got involved/interested in the first place. If the reasons are still there and unchanged, then focus on recapturing the feelings of success and fulfillment. Give it a few days, and maybe a few days more. Re-evaluate. You may be surprised to see your commitment to keep going resurface.
You might have noticed that “overcoming” is a recurring theme in my messages, my books and my videos. I like to talk about the importance of persevering through life’s obstacles, never giving up and continuing to move forward. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m starting to sound just a little bit cliched, but I also can’t help but recognize that this is a message that everyone needs to hear and often.
Everyone, and I mean, every. single. person alive has or will face a time that will challenge them and test their hearts and minds to the breaking point, and sometimes beyond. Recovery is possible. And you can even come back stronger and better than ever, but what happens to you once you’re caught in life’s grinder and how you come out on the other end is very much based on how you choose to grow through the “ugly”.
My experience is that some people are more resilient and bounce back quicker than others, and some people seem to have a greater share of troubles than their peers, sometimes for no obvious reason, but at the end of the day, each one of us has to decide if we’re going to push on or quit and turn into bitter complainers and naysayers. Can we just agree, right now, that complaining has never gotten anyone ahead in life? And I’m not talking about complaining in a restaurant about your food and getting a free meal, I mean, in the grand scheme of things. No one who spends their days complaining about how unfair life is and how they’ve gotten the short end of the stick, will ever be a happy camper. It’s just not possible. If negativity is what you put out, you will receive the same negativity in response. My solution? To be optimistic. Maybe cautiously so, but learn, little by little to believe that things can get better or at the very least evolve and change. And be sure that you’re actively pursuing “the better” and not just sitting around wishing for it.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a video about the importance of seeing the big picture. I talked a bit about how a lot of us feel like we’re being under-utilized, that our talents and gifts are not being used. This feeling can be really frustrating, leading to disappointment and discouragement, but I believe it is really important that you embrace instead of rejecting your circumstances. There’s just a really awesome dynamic that I’ve seen time and time again in my own life where changing my attitude about a situation that appears to be negative or even hopeless, actually has the effect of altering the situation itself.
Those of us with ADHD have been hearing about the need for routine, our whole lives! But guess what, having a routine is actually a benefit to all the busy people out there as well, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not. If you are making dozens, maybe hundreds of decisions every day, a routine can really help take some of the stress off.
Ever notice that when evening rolls around and you and your significant other are trying to decide what to do for food, it turns into the battle of the lack of wills? “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t care, you pick!” “I don’t care either. You decide.” And to your shock, you realize that you’re just too tired to make a decision. Not only that, but you start getting somewhat upset with your partner because they won’t make the call…on something as trivial as picking a restaurant or even deciding whether to go out or stay in. What just happened? Well, by the end of the day, your decision-making capital has been spent and now you just want someone else to drive the bus. A lot of stress in being a decision-maker is that you constantly have to problem-solve. That’s draining and when you’re drained, your stress levels sky-rocket, especially when you have to make yet another decision. But let’s say that the family routine is that you eat in every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but go out to your favorite Mexican place on Wednesdays and your beloved sushi place on Friday. You don’t even have to think about it because that’s the routine. See how nicely that can work out?
Dinner routine is just one example. Now apply the routine principle to what you wear, how you spend your holidays and when you go to visit your in-laws and see if those stress levels start dropping a bit. 🙂
I know that teachers who have students with ADHD in their classrooms are always looking for ways to help those students be more productive and attentive in class. There’s a great article on additudemag.com that’s called 40 Best School Accommodations for your ADHD child and I pulled out 5 of my favorite ways to help with impulsive behavior in class.
It’s really important to believe in something. Faith has a direct impact on what we do and why we do it. Trick is you can’t believe in just anything and you shouldn’t accept the beliefs of others blindly. KNOW why you believe what you believe. Understand the foundation of your faith by finding out what it means for yourself.
Sometimes, the small, boring, menial tasks we face on a daily basis can be a huge mental stumbling block in our pursuit of success. Why? Because they remind us (and sometimes rightfully so), that we are capable of much greater things and can handle a lot more responsibility. Here’s the catch though, if you’re really preparing yourself to be a leader, to live a life of influence, to become that person that others respect and listen to, you’ll need to learn how to do two things really well: 1. Look at the bigger picture and 2. Learn how to serve others.
Getting a grasp of this proactive vs. reactive concept is hugely important to not just how successful you can be in life, but also how happy, or shall we say, content. Becoming proactive, not waiting until something is handed to you on a platter (usually doesn’t happen anyway), anticipating life’s curveballs and taking responsibility for your actions is something that you must learn how to do if you want to keep moving forward in life with purpose.
What are you putting your faith in? It goes without saying that having faith in something bigger than yourself, a spiritual faith is vital. At least I believe so. But what about the other kind of faith. The one that takes us out of our comfort zones and helps us to go farther, bigger, better, faster?
While I love common sense, I’ve also come to understand that some things in life cannot be explained or pursued based on common sense alone. I think that it is impossible to succeed at anything in life without allowing faith to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown.