8/14/12

On ADHD and Discipline: Obey Your Passion

If you look up “obedient” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, you'll find the following definition:


For anyone with the ADHD temperament, this concept will likely make you squirm in your seat. ADHD'rs tend to blaze our own trails rather than submit to the rule(s) of others. Take, for instance, the great artists and inventors mentioned in “ADHD and OCD: Labels of the Highly Creative.” Such ADHD minds thrive because of their drive to create, to challenge what has come before them. And yet, such ingenuity still demands a type of obedience: obedience to craft.

To quote Madeleine L’Engle,
“Obedience is an unpopular word nowadays, but the artist must be obedient to the work, whether it be a symphony, a painting, or a story for a small child. I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius, or something very small, comes to the artist and says, “Here I am. Enflesh me.” (pg. 10, Herself).
Your art, your passion may take any number of forms: Galileo had math and physics, Churchill had politics, and Beethoven had music. What activities or subjects do you love?

Don't be put off if your ability to focus on your passion doesn't come naturally. For most monkey minds, this discipline must be learned. Take Michael Phelps, for instance. As Olympics 2012: Which Sports Can Someone with ADHD Excel In? notes, Phelps, a fellow ADHD’r, proves his obedience every time he takes to the pool. As Phelp's mom, Debbie, attests, they "worked as a team to overcome ADD." By nature, Phelps may be inattentive and disobedient. But when it comes to swimming, he’s developed into a shark. However, that decades-long transformation has taken commitment to his sport and coaching from his loved ones. With those tools under his belt, Phelps has developed into an Olympic athlete who has succeeded both in spite of and because of his ADHD.

For me, I feel my own disobedience whenever I take a day off from writing. Temporary isolation from my craft produces an unsettling feeling in my stomach that persists until I put a pen to paper. But this inclination to focus on my craft, like Phelp's, has taken many years to develop.

What is your passion? And when did you first discover it? Are you able to hyperfocus on your craft or do you suffer from bouts of inattention, as I still do? Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna.




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