Cameron Gott, PCC
ADHD Coaching for Leaders & Professionals


The Global Creative Blog

The Hazard of Generating New Ideas


We’ve all been a victim of rude line cutters at one time or another. Line cutting can occur in a number of ways, each of which is disrespectful and insensitive in nature. Yet if you have ADHD it is likely that a different form of line cutting is happening multiple times a day right between your ears. New ideas have an ability to move to the front of the line and push aside the ideas that have been vetted and cleared for action.

Why is this

Why do we accept this form of cerebral line cutting when we can hardly tolerate the line cutting we witness at a restaurant or movie theatre?

There are a number of reasons but a primary reason is that new ideas are not considered threatening in nature. On the contrary, new ideas are welcome stimuli we Global Creatives love to entertain. However, cerebral line cutting disrupts productive work and contributes to the common ADHD phenomenon of Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Action.

Just the other day while I was out for a run with my dog, I had an epiphany in the form of a new program. Viewing the opportunity from about 20,000 feet I was thrilled to see the elements effortlessly fall into place. Voila! New idea. But did this idea take a number like we do at the meat counter? No way! It rambled right to the front of my priority list nudging out other important items for attention, time and energy.

Elements that contribute to too many ideas also contribute to cerebral line cutting. The black and white thinking and constant reinventing that I talk about in Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Action, conspire to put a spotlight on the most thrilling thought in our brains. Ever wonder why ADHD is closely related to thrill-seeking behaviors? It’s the biggest signal that gets our attention!

What to do

Whenever I introduce a new concept, my advice is to start with awareness.

How does your cerebral line cutting show up?

Does the new idea deserve to move ahead of the other ideas you are already committed to?

Notice if you are playing the line-cutting game – generating new ideas – just to maintain focus. How many of those ideas move out of the idea stage and into the action/completion stage?

Once I noticed the new idea getting ahead of current projects I gently escorted the feisty fellow over to my new idea parking lot. I then put ideas like this through a few tests to see if they have staying power:

The 48 hour Cool-off Test – After 48 hours does it still have the attraction it had 2 days before.

The Colleague Sharing Test – I share the idea with a range of people to help me get clear on feasibility and most important, size of commitment.

I also look to see how much time, attention and energy I have available to give to this endeavor. Finally, since I generate more ideas than I can possibly handle, I deliberately give away many of my ideas to other coaches and colleagues. I’d rather see an idea get a second life than wither away in the ‘should’ corner of my brain.