New Mindset, New Solutions

There is nothing more powerful than a change in mindset!

There are different views on how to define mindsets. As an attention coach, I define mindset as how your mind is set up to think. Your mindset predetermines how you interpret and respond to everything. It defines what is obvious to you.

When problem-solving, most are looking for methodical solutions… paint-by-the-numbers recipes. When they find the recipes don’t work, they often look for an insight or an aha that reveals a methodical solution. This mindset makes sense as it can be exceptionally efficient. Often in the self-help world, people search endlessly for these quick-fix approaches. Few understand the nature and the power of a change in mindset.

Think of mindset as a mental model or your version of science. All mindsets have anomalies that cannot be explained but are just ignored or are brushed away as an acceptable level of error. When enough of these anomalies occur that cannot be explained by the adopted mindset, then the existing mindset is thrown into a crisis or chaos.

Setting up your mind to think differently does not take place without significant anxiety or conflict. Shifts take time due to the explosive intellectual battle necessary to disprove old models and for the ego to accept that it’s imperfect. Many can’t make the shift because of their dependency on old theories or because they simply resist. (We’ve all interacted with someone who has a “Don’t confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up” mindset).

Significant changes in science (change of mindset) come only from undisputed proof. Often, a shift requires proof, like being in an experience. Even with proof, it often takes a generation to accept proven new concepts. Like Galileo realizing the sun rotates around the earth, Einstein proved that space and time are curved.

As we speak, the ADHD community is in an explosive intellectual battle led by Dr. Russell Barkley. You see, the deficit of attention model has anomalies that don’t explain why ADHD kids can play computer games for hours on end or that an adult can get on the Internet at 8 pm and not realize the passage of time until they notice it is 3 am. The issue is not engaging attention but rather disengaging attention. As Dr. Barkley argues, ADHD is not a deficit of attention but rather a self-regulation issue.

Society often labels those with ADHD as unmotivated when their minds are set up to think of motivation as what you should do. The ego won’t acknowledge that, whatever you did, you did because you were motivated to do it. This argument is explosive because the ego delights in pointing out the flaws of others.

Setting up your mind to look at ADHD as a self-regulation issue changes what is obvious. Those with ADHD are able to attend to things and they are motivated. Adopting this new mindset (which takes time) points to a path that makes it easier for those with ADHD to self-regulate. It explains why asking those with ADHD to try harder to self-regulate doesn’t work and is not a sustainable solution.

What I hope you’ll take away from all this is that there is nothing more powerful than a change in mindset. Changing your mindset can be revolutionary but it is important to understand the nature of such shifts. They are explosive intellectual battles that take time due to their nature. The more you understand the process and their nature the more you’ll be open to understanding and embracing them.

In the end, if the obvious solutions are not working, chances are you need to shift your mindset!

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