We live in a society that fosters negativity and self-limiting beliefs. Just look at the daily news, the endless array of advertisements for things to “fix” us, or the fascination with the mishaps of celebrities as just a few examples. The ego loves weakness, and we feed into it by focusing on it; and for some, this focus invades every aspect of life. The result for many is staying “stuck” and not moving forward. To bring about real change, we must be willing to have a more open mindset.
Here’s a parable that I feel illustrates this point beautifully, and then I’ll share a lived ADHD experience to open your mind:
Once upon a time there was an inn called the Silver Star. The innkeeper was unable to make ends meet even though he tried to make the inn comfortable with a reasonable price and good service. In despair, he consulted a wise man. After listening to his tale of woe, the sage said, “The solution is very simple. You must simply change the name of your inn.”
“Impossible,” said the innkeeper, “it has been the Silver Star Inn for generations and is well known countrywide.”
“No,” said the sage firmly. “You must change the name of your inn to the Five Bells Inn and have a row of six bells hanging at the entrance.”
“Six bells? That is absurd,” said the innkeeper. “What good would that do?”
“Give it a try,” the sage said with a smile.
Well, the innkeeper gave it a try and this is what he saw. Every traveler who passed by the inn ventured
in to point out the mistake, each one believing they were the only one who noticed the mistake. Once inside, they were impressed by how cordial the place was, choosing to stay and refresh themselves, thereby providing the innkeeper with a fortune he had been seeking for so long.
The moral of the story is this: There are few things the ego delights in more than correcting other people’s mistakes.
Powerful tale! What appeared broken was intentional, and thus it was “fixed.” Here is the same concept in real life:
Ron came to me wanting coaching to pass an exam to be promoted to the highest level of his profession. His job was a very high paying job in a profession that was predominantly hands-on with a small portion via book learning. Passing the exam required digesting several thoughts and pages of protocol. Like many with ADHD, Ron had a taxed working memory.
Thinking requires working memory that can be made easier by verbalizing thoughts… talking out loud. It was clear Ron benefited from talking out loud and happily owned it. In the simulation parts of his exams, Ron would talk out loud to himself and to the others in the simulation. In feedback and reviews, assessors were critical of Ron for his verbal processing and deducted points from his scores.
In the end Ron passed with one of the highest scores of the past decade. As broken as he looked, we both laughed, knowing it was the talking out loud that was less taxing on his working memory that enabled him to achieve such a high score.
While others point out your mistakes, could it be that you’re actually not broken? That you are more “fixed” than you believed? I coach those with ADHD all day five days a week. They are all motivated, have a level of organization, and get things done. I can prove it. The evidence is there. You just have to pay attention to it.
The fact of the matter is, if you weren’t motivated, you’d be dead (think about it). Even if you were totally disorganized, you would get the most basic things done. Just because others want to feel better about themselves by correcting you doesn’t mean you are broken. Ron can attest to this fact!