Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals
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The Global Creative Blog

Nudge your Paradox Perspective

Global Creatives often produce more questions than answers, especially for themselves. It can feel like a study in extremes – extreme successes and extreme failures. There is a paradoxical monologue that can run in the Global Creative’s mind that can be especially maddening:

“How come I can deliver a brilliant solution to my client that will save his company millions but I can’t deliver it on time?

“How come I can start multiple successful business ventures but I can’t manage my project list?”

“How come I can bring all the right people to the table but can’t follow up once they’ve left the table?”

“How come I can do the first 90% of a project but can’t finish the last 10% and get compensated?”

Unfortunately this argument can be reinforced on the outside by family, friends and colleagues as they see the two extremes play out:

“How come a college graduate with two degrees can be so successful developing IT solutions at work but can’t remember to pick up the dry-cleaning!”

“How come she can connect customers to our product but she can’t make a connecting flight?”

And it goes on and on like a rugby scrum that never ends. For natural problem solvers not solving this paradox problem can feel like an enormous weight and can be completely energy draining.

What to do?

Start with your perspective: How are you are viewing this conundrum? This back-and-forth approach is frustrating and unrewarding, and yet at some level our brain actually enjoys this mental tug-o-war. Viewing issues in extremes is the ADHD characteristic of black and white thinking. It is reinforced by the Global Creative’s habit of viewing multiple approaches to a problem (remember our default processing preference is by association and not sequence).

So why would we do something that our brain likes but puts us through the ringer?

All brains crave activity. The ADHD brain is active when it has a focus. Yet the brain will not distinguish between good and bad focus - it is more likely to ping-pong us back and forth.

So in a way, our ADHD is exacerbating the situation when we get into this way of thinking! This plays out in all kinds of ways - indecision, prioritizing, and eventually leads to overwhelm.

Nudge the Paradox Perspective

Once we make up our mind it can be difficult to change it. Even if something isn’t working for us. The brain does this for self-preservation. Flip-floppy brains are ineffective during real crises when we need to be clear on what is a threat and what is not.

When you notice the paradox thinking at play, call a time out.

- Step back and notice if this thinking is working for you.

- Entertain another way to look at the problem.

- Creative solutions only occur when we view the challenge from a ‘possibility’ perspective.

- Remind yourself of where you’ve had success here or in related fields (you have but your working memory may not accessing the history of wins right now).

- Consider looking at the challenge as you would any work challenge where you have considerable success.

Solutions that work start with a new perspective that works.

From a more powerful perspective we then can identify the info we need and the tools to create a solution.