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ADD - Distraction, procrastination and a lifeline to become a productive Master again.

Anything related to matters of the mind

WM Roger

Contributor
Mar 5, 2018
11
26

I wrote this post after listening to a recent Lex Friedman podcast about nuclear fusion. While listening to a scientist explaining the difference between fusion and fission and its military application in nuclear weapons, my mind suddenly wanted to know the difference between a conventional nuclear atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb. I was about to take my phone and go after the inevitable answer waiting at my fingertips when suddenly, something clicked in my mind: why the heck would I need this information?? Right, I don't. Let's talk about ADD..



The condition clinically known as AD(H)D or attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in individuals is widely characterized as the inability to focus on a specific subject, lose interest or get bored at a faster rate than what would be considered normal behavior. This can be accompanied with hyperactive behavior though not exclusively. The hyperactivity can range from muscle twitching to very active chaotic personality traits. Nowadays the distinction between the two seems less of an actual fact.

According to mainstream medical and psychological theory the condition might be genetic without a necessary psychological basis after birth. It has been shown that people with the condition share a gene that seems to predispose for the condition. Subjects without the predisposition are likely to be immune to the condition arising. The standard treatment for ADD children and/or adults has been medication that helps focus the brain like Rilatin or other meds. Side effects may be a numbness to social interaction and a general disinterest in most subjects aside from the task that is being focussed upon, successfully treating the lack of attention span.

The Canadian doctor and psychologist Gabor Maté theorized that ADD behavior is the result of childhood trauma. A lack of connection to one or both of the parents in childhood from the onset of life can result in triggering the symptoms.

Following the work of dr. Gabor Maté I have come to some conclusions not referenced in his works.

As dr. Maté details, young infants who are subjected to stressful situations where one or both of the parents exhibit anxious behavior, may lack a necessary safe attachment to its caregivers, resulting in the aforementioned condition.

Having suffered from ADD most of my younger and adult life the question of the origin of this crippling condition has kept me puzzled. Though the conclusions made by dr. Maté seems a textbook example of my personal life. I was still left with questions as to how exactly the mechanism, in great detail, works which triggers the condition.

To reach a plausible conclusion, I will start at the beginning.
The young child is subjected to a stressful environment, brought about by the absence of a safe attachment from the parents, though this does not necessarily have to seem like a problematic situation from an outside observer. A lack of attachment can come about from a basic lack of emotional attachment from a preoccupied parent that has e.g. a busy job or is being stressed for any particular reason.
More than average sensitive children, possibly carriers of the gene that predisposes for ADD or children that would be categorized with high-sensitivity will fall victim. Their body goes in an early fight or flight mode priming the young brain to be on high alert and gathering as much information as possible to identify a possible threat. This is important. The infant's brain will install a basic mode of information gathering at an age where it is not supposed to do so. The brain would be more occupied with emotional development from a healthy loving attached parent otherwise. Many ADD children struggle with relationships later in life possibly because of this lack of early emotional development. I can attest to this myself.
Personally, I have found myself being bored with practically most subjects after there was no more new information coming in at a fast enough pace. A brain in fight or flight mode will quickly scan its surroundings and move to the next target. I had always wondered why I was interested in so many subjects, yet didn’t have the fortitude to pick a field and dive deep to get some level of mastery. Throughout the years I have thought many times that I knew little about a lot, but not a lot about a little. Other times I questioned if this ability to be interested in a wide variety of subjects could benefit me in some ways, yet didn’t find an answer and am now convinced this is absolutely no skill in itself.
Because of the heightened sense of awareness ADD can bring about, I can come across as hyper interested. I was called a good listener as a child and young adult, an ability that eroded at a fast pace the older I got. The increase in knowledge about how people work and think from listening to my peers’ problems and drama’s quickly fueled disinterest once there were fewer and fewer new elements in the human condition to be discovered from day to day conversations. Not surprisingly this same dynamic happens in my relationships. From falling in love with the strongest hormonal surges that sometimes brought actual physical discomfort for weeks to the complete opposite when the initial information stream slowed down. Typically after about 4 to 6 months a routine would set in where new elements about my partner would become less frequent. Then, in a matter of weeks I would lose complete interest in the person without me being able to give any rational explanation to how I was “no longer in love”. Often leaving my partners and myself totally struck with confusion.

I have always found myself to be prone to addictive behavior. As a kid and young adult I had a covert gaming addiction but was able to cold turkey myself out of it when I noticed the negative effects over time. I played complicated strategy games that would keep my mind occupied and focussed while supplying high dopamine rewards. In my twenties I drank more than a normal amount of alcohol and this time also was able to not actually become an alcoholic as I saw its negative effects. The alcohol was simply a numbing tool for my overactive brain. Lowering alcohol intake fueled the existential thought train which made me quit the family business I was running and venture into my own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Changing jobs however didn’t change things. After a while I found myself looking for a brain taser once more. This time it was youtube, instagram and facebook. Without alcohol, drugs or any obvious harmful chemicals or behaviors, which I’m quick to abstain from, I needed something else.
I can honestly say that I could have learned any language, skill, martial art or even multiple university degrees with the time I have wasted on the internet or gathering useless information some way or another, slacking around or plainly being unproductive. All the while running a 10 person business before and even now running a 1 million dollar company I bootstrapped with nothing a few years ago. It’s literally mind blowing I’ve gotten this far with such a history of procrastination. Oh, and I have little kids too but let’s not get into that. Though I don’t find myself particularly successful considering the above.

If the gathering of massive amounts of unstructured information has brought me anything it’s the conclusion I’m about to make.


The ADD brain doesn’t change much from childhood onwards, as like any other brain. It’s commonly accepted that our personalities are formed in the early years. The child seeks information to survive and that behavior continues ad infinitum, simple. It’s my belief that no amount of medication, motivation or therapies that don’t focus on brain rewiring will have any lasting effects.


To heal or treat the ADD condition the end goal would be to rearrange the brain's neuroplasticity. Extreme mental challenges like #75hard (Andy Frisella) are a start, but the most important thing is insight. Knowing that any sudden interest, distraction or lack of focus is a mechanism triggered by the brain. If your focus clearly wants to move away from the task at hand, your brain is working against you, it’s looking for that saber tooth tiger that’s nowhere to be found, but it will find some random youtube video about whatever just as fascinating.

I can’t tell you how many tricks and methods I’ve tried to get shit done. But those are all futile if you don’t understand what’s really going on in your head. It’s like drinking more water if you don’t know you’re an alcoholic and you’re trying to get sober.

To conclude, this is my 10-step guide to start your journey out of ADD and become a focussed productive person who can accomplish anything you set your mind to:

Disclaimer:
Be aware that you have many unconscious mechanisms or habits that subdue your limitless mind. Some of the following advice will give you more energy which the brain will use to become even more fiery in trying to distract you more. It would be unwise to just do one or two of the following steps. It’s an all or nothing approach.

  1. Sleep. Make sure you sleep enough every night, a tired mind is a distracted mind but beware, an awake ADD mind is a double etched sword.
  2. Get your diet in order, limit sugars, alcohol or things that will numb your brain, to rewire your brain, you want it healthy and awake but don’t be a maniac about it at the same time. You’re not trying to become some health nut. Moderation is key.
  3. Affirm. Write in your own words, every day in your journal or daily planner that you are aware that every thought is generated by your brain and it wants you to run from some imaginary foul. It doesn’t have your interests at heart and it is not your friend, until it is rewired. Make this your absolute truth. Think about this as much as possible during the day. It will help you battle distractions efficiently. Your brain is a scared little puppy that needs to be shown the way.
  4. Start a meditation practice. I would recommend the hemi-sync Gateway Experience, available on youtube. It will help you get energized and focussed. Brainwave meditation is especially good for realigning out of focus minds.
  5. Make your life boring by planning just about everything, structure your days so you have a fixed routine you don’t cheat on. The harder you follow this the quicker your brain will rewire. Become a structured master. Schedule your days in advance. Limit just-in-time decision making, those open the gate to anxious uncontrolled thinking.
  6. Plan for recreation and relaxation. ADD minds have a hard time relaxing unless it’s in escapism or chaotic behavior so this won’t come naturally. Make sure you have moments your brain can relax otherwise you will fail. The restructuring brain is like a heroin addict coming off the drug. You’ll have a ton of excess energy, it needs to go somewhere and you’re probably not structured yet to focus it into your work. Work out or do some daily heavy cardio, go swimming or hiking, something that breaks your sweat. Sauna is also good. Relaxing is not lying on the beach either, it’s doing something where your brain can’t start thinking out of control. This is one of the most important steps.
  7. If you feel the need to tell anyone about this journey, don’t. You’re not ready and you will fuel the false belief you’re actually moving forward. When you’re done, you won’t feel any need to share this because your mind will be focussed on other more important things. Suffer in silence.
  8. Make a list of behaviors you detected from the ADD mechanics. Bring them into awareness where you will more easily stop them at the beginning. Awareness burns all false beliefs.
  9. Stop gathering information you might think is helpful like books or video’s on getting things done. Chances are you know more about self improvement already than most self-help gurus. This can be a sneaky one. There is no ‘useful’ extra information you need. You need less, that is the whole point. Less is more.
  10. Look out for new dopamine traps. Your mind will look for new avenues to get distracted or rather gain more information. Literally everything you think of as a new idea is sugar coated with escapism at this point. Limit your information intake to specific moments in your schedule.

It's hard to say how long it takes for anyone to rewire the brain. In certain meditative trance states of gamma brainwave activity rewiring can be done in minutes, but don't get your hopes up. You're way to unfocussed for that lol, and so am I.
Realistically it takes 2-3 months for new habits to solidify, but this isn't just a habit you're trying to change, it's your central operating system. Neuroresearch also indicates old patterns can never completely be erased and will leave an imprint. So all of us who have recovered from ADD will have to remain vigilant.
Micro dosing psilocybin mushrooms has also been shown to have positive effects on rewiring brain circuitry, though I wouldn't advise it without applying all of the above first. You don't want to take the red pill without knowing you're in the matrix in the first place.

Please share your ideas about your own journey having an ADD mind or your progress if you want to try my 10 step plan!

Oh and PS: all of the above is meant as personal opinion and is in no way meant as medical advice or a substitute thereof.
 
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Happyheart

Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Dec 11, 2020
80
98
I wrote this post after listening to a recent Lex Friedman podcast about nuclear fusion. While listening to a scientist explaining the difference between fusion and fission and its military application in nuclear weapons, my mind suddenly wanted to know the difference between a conventional nuclear atom bomb and a hydrogen bomb. I was about to take my phone and go after the inevitable answer waiting at my fingertips when suddenly, something clicked in my mind: why the heck would I need this information?? Right, I don't. Let's talk about ADD..


The condition clinically known as AD(H)D or attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in individuals is widely characterized as the inability to focus on a specific subject, lose interest or get bored at a faster rate than what would be considered normal behavior. This can be accompanied with hyperactive behavior though not exclusively. The hyperactivity can range from muscle twitching to very active chaotic personality traits. Nowadays the distinction between the two seems less of an actual fact.

According to mainstream medical and psychological theory the condition might be genetic without a necessary psychological basis after birth. It has been shown that people with the condition share a gene that seems to predispose for the condition. Subjects without the predisposition are likely to be immune to the condition arising. The standard treatment for ADD children and/or adults has been medication that helps focus the brain like Rilatin or other meds. Side effects may be a numbness to social interaction and a general disinterest in most subjects aside from the task that is being focussed upon, successfully treating the lack of attention span.

The Canadian doctor and psychologist Gabor Maté theorized that ADD behavior is the result of childhood trauma. A lack of connection to one or both of the parents in childhood from the onset of life can result in triggering the symptoms.

Following the work of dr. Gabor Maté I have come to some conclusions not referenced in his works.

As dr. Maté details, young infants who are subjected to stressful situations where one or both of the parents exhibit anxious behavior, may lack a necessary safe attachment to its caregivers, resulting in the aforementioned condition.

Having suffered from ADD most of my younger and adult life the question of the origin of this crippling condition has kept me puzzled. Though the conclusions made by dr. Maté seems a textbook example of my personal life. I was still left with questions as to how exactly the mechanism, in great detail, works which triggers the condition.

To reach a plausible conclusion, I will start at the beginning.
The young child is subjected to a stressful environment, brought about by the absence of a safe attachment from the parents, though this does not necessarily have to seem like a problematic situation from an outside observer. A lack of attachment can come about from a basic lack of emotional attachment from a preoccupied parent that has e.g. a busy job or is being stressed for any particular reason.
More than average sensitive children, possibly carriers of the gene that predisposes for ADD or children that would be categorized with high-sensitivity will fall victim. Their body goes in an early fight or flight mode priming the young brain to be on high alert and gathering as much information as possible to identify a possible threat. This is important. The infant's brain will install a basic mode of information gathering at an age where it is not supposed to do so. The brain would be more occupied with emotional development from a healthy loving attached parent otherwise. Many ADD children struggle with relationships later in life possibly because of this lack of early emotional development. I can attest to this myself.
Personally, I have found myself being bored with practically most subjects after there was no more new information coming in at a fast enough pace. A brain in fight or flight mode will quickly scan its surroundings and move to the next target. I had always wondered why I was interested in so many subjects, yet didn’t have the fortitude to pick a field and dive deep to get some level of mastery. Throughout the years I have thought many times that I knew little about a lot, but not a lot about a little. Other times I questioned if this ability to be interested in a wide variety of subjects could benefit me in some ways, yet didn’t find an answer and am now convinced this is absolutely no skill in itself.
Because of the heightened sense of awareness ADD can bring about, I can come across as hyper interested. I was called a good listener as a child and young adult, an ability that eroded at a fast pace the older I got. The increase in knowledge about how people work and think from listening to my peers’ problems and drama’s quickly fueled disinterest once there were fewer and fewer new elements in the human condition to be discovered from day to day conversations. Not surprisingly this same dynamic happens in my relationships. From falling in love with the strongest hormonal surges that sometimes brought actual physical discomfort for weeks to the complete opposite when the initial information stream slowed down. Typically after about 4 to 6 months a routine would set in where new elements about my partner would become less frequent. Then, in a matter of weeks I would lose complete interest in the person without me being able to give any rational explanation to how I was “no longer in love”. Often leaving my partners and myself totally struck with confusion.

I have always found myself to be prone to addictive behavior. As a kid and young adult I had a covert gaming addiction but was able to cold turkey myself out of it when I noticed the negative effects over time. I played complicated strategy games that would keep my mind occupied and focussed while supplying high dopamine rewards. In my twenties I drank more than a normal amount of alcohol and this time also was able to not actually become an alcoholic as I saw its negative effects. The alcohol was simply a numbing tool for my overactive brain. Lowering alcohol intake fueled the existential thought train which made me quit the family business I was running and venture into my own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Changing jobs however didn’t change things. After a while I found myself looking for a brain taser once more. This time it was youtube, instagram and facebook. Without alcohol, drugs or any obvious harmful chemicals or behaviors, which I’m quick to abstain from, I needed something else.
I can honestly say that I could have learned any language, skill, martial art or even multiple university degrees with the time I have wasted on the internet or gathering useless information some way or another, slacking around or plainly being unproductive. All the while running a 10 person business before and even now running a 1 million dollar company I bootstrapped with nothing a few years ago. It’s literally mind blowing I’ve gotten this far with such a history of procrastination. Oh, and I have little kids too but let’s not get into that. Though I don’t find myself particularly successful considering the above.

If the gathering of massive amounts of unstructured information has brought me anything it’s the conclusion I’m about to make.


The ADD brain doesn’t change much from childhood onwards, as like any other brain. It’s commonly accepted that our personalities are formed in the early years. The child seeks information to survive and that behavior continues ad infinitum, simple. It’s my belief that no amount of medication, motivation or therapies that don’t focus on brain rewiring will have any lasting effects.


To heal or treat the ADD condition the end goal would be to rearrange the brain's neuroplasticity. Extreme mental challenges like #75hard (Andy Frisella) are a start, but the most important thing is insight. Knowing that any sudden interest, distraction or lack of focus is a mechanism triggered by the brain. If your focus clearly wants to move away from the task at hand, your brain is working against you, it’s looking for that saber tooth tiger that’s nowhere to be found, but it will find some random youtube video about whatever just as fascinating.

I can’t tell you how many tricks and methods I’ve tried to get shit done. But those are all futile if you don’t understand what’s really going on in your head. It’s like drinking more water if you don’t know you’re an alcoholic and you’re trying to get sober.

To conclude, this is my 10-step guide to start your journey out of ADD and become a focussed productive person who can accomplish anything you set your mind to:

Disclaimer:
Be aware that you have many unconscious mechanisms or habits that subdue your limitless mind. Some of the following advice will give you more energy which the brain will use to become even more fiery in trying to distract you more. It would be unwise to just do one or two of the following steps. It’s an all or nothing approach.

  1. Sleep. Make sure you sleep enough every night, a tired mind is a distracted mind but beware, an awake ADD mind is a double etched sword.
  2. Get your diet in order, limit sugars, alcohol or things that will numb your brain, to rewire your brain, you want it healthy and awake but don’t be a maniac about it at the same time. You’re not trying to become some health nut. Moderation is key.
  3. Affirm. Write in your own words, every day in your journal or daily planner that you are aware that every thought is generated by your brain and it wants you to run from some imaginary foul. It doesn’t have your interests at heart and it is not your friend, until it is rewired. Make this your absolute truth. Think about this as much as possible during the day. It will help you battle distractions efficiently. Your brain is a scared little puppy that needs to be shown the way.
  4. Start a meditation practice. I would recommend the hemi-sync Gateway Experience, available on youtube. It will help you get energized and focussed. Brainwave meditation is especially good for realigning out of focus minds.
  5. Make your life boring by planning just about everything, structure your days so you have a fixed routine you don’t cheat on. The harder you follow this the quicker your brain will rewire. Become a structured master. Schedule your days in advance. Limit just-in-time decision making, those open the gate to anxious uncontrolled thinking.
  6. Plan for recreation and relaxation. ADD minds have a hard time relaxing unless it’s in escapism or chaotic behavior so this won’t come naturally. Make sure you have moments your brain can relax otherwise you will fail. The restructuring brain is like a heroin addict coming off the drug. You’ll have a ton of excess energy, it needs to go somewhere and you’re probably not structured yet to focus it into your work. Work out or do some daily heavy cardio, go swimming or hiking, something that breaks your sweat. Sauna is also good. Relaxing is not lying on the beach either, it’s doing something where your brain can’t start thinking out of control. This is one of the most important steps.
  7. If you feel the need to tell anyone about this journey, don’t. You’re not ready and you will fuel the false belief you’re actually moving forward. When you’re done, you won’t feel any need to share this because your mind will be focussed on other more important things. Suffer in silence.
  8. Make a list of behaviors you detected from the ADD mechanics. Bring them into awareness where you will more easily stop them at the beginning. Awareness burns all false beliefs.
  9. Stop gathering information you might think is helpful like books or video’s on getting things done. Chances are you know more about self improvement already than most self-help gurus. This can be a sneaky one. There is no ‘useful’ extra information you need. You need less, that is the whole point. Less is more.
  10. Look out for new dopamine traps. Your mind will look for new avenues to get distracted or rather gain more information. Literally everything you think of as a new idea is sugar coated with escapism at this point. Limit your information intake to specific moments in your schedule.

It's hard to say how long it takes for anyone to rewire the brain. In certain meditative trance states of gamma brainwave activity rewiring can be done in minutes, but don't get your hopes up. You're way to unfocussed for that lol, and so am I.
Realistically it takes 2-3 months for new habits to solidify, but this isn't just a habit you're trying to change, it's your central operating system. Neuroresearch also indicates old patterns can never completely be erased and will leave an imprint. So all of us who have recovered from ADD will have to remain vigilant.
Micro dosing psilocybin mushrooms has also been shown to have positive effects on rewiring brain circuitry, though I wouldn't advise it without applying all of the above first. You don't want to take the red pill without knowing you're in the matrix in the first place.

Please share your ideas about your own journey having an ADD mind or your progress if you want to try my 10 step plan!

Oh and PS: all of the above is meant as personal opinion and is in no way meant as medical advice or a substitute thereof.
I like many of the things you write about. We are fairly sure that small changes in the dopamine receptor play a role in ADHD and exercise and such help to bring more dopamine to our synapses. But before taking magic mushrooms with unknown properties and non-standardized dosage, you may want to try ritalin for a few weeks. It heightens your dopamine and noradrenalin levels in the brain and is not such a bad idea if you want to focus. In your case you could optimize your life and brain as described and see if medication still has added value fir days where you have to get heavy stuff done.
Good luck to you!
 

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