The Key to Excellence in Olympics and in ADHD
I woke up miserable this morning. You’d think that Ken’s electric guitar playing would have made me snap.
It didn’t. He’s such an amazing guitarist, I don’t mind when he practices. I’ve even made requests: Hey, Ken. Can you play “Hey Joe” for me next time you practice? (he does a killer cover of the Hendrix classic).
Ken knows I’m working upstairs, and he’s respectful, keeping his volume low. This works for me, an HSP who likes to work in near-silence.
He’s so dedicated to his craft, he’s an inspiration and a gift. This morning, he gave me another gift: perspective.
I’ve got them mean ‘ol book-writin’ blues
I finished my book (first draft) yesterday. That’s probably why I’m feeling so down. I crash like a mom who’s just brought home a screeching newborn every time I finish a large project. And this one’s a hefty baby.
I walked around in my dark cloud, fretting that I’m still not as blazingly fast in my writing as Hendrix was on the frets.
Why is it that I’m always practicing? I feel like I spend 90% of my day reminding myself of the same old things. Things I never actually learn:
Remember to put the files away when you’re finished with them; put the paper in the recycle bin; don’t lock yourself out of the house again (remember your keys); highlight the date and figures on receipts and file them (in preparation for data entry which appears to be scheduled for my next lifetime, because it sure ain’t happening now) and so on.
Practicing, practicing, practicing, I’m always practicing. When will I get a break? Even writing this blog. If I take a few days away, it’s almost like I have to learn it all over again. God help me if I break my stride. No wonder I’m a workaholic.
Captain! The obvious has lowered its cloaking device!
The sound of Ken’s electronic drum machine sped up, cutting into my negative reverie. When he practices, he always starts out slow, then cranks it up. Soon, he’s blazing, full-tilt. Damn, that guy’s good.
Then it hit me: everyone who’s that great practices, practices, practices. Nobody just jumped on stage for a stadium gig, or on the podium for Olympic gold, without zillions of hours of practice.
I didn’t see it this morning, but Ken reminded me that there’s nothing wrong with having to practice. In fact, anyone who’s ever done anything great only did it after years, even decades, of dedication, and repetition; and by starting slowly at first. They start slowly each and every day.
Even athletes spend time warming up, or they injure themselves. I’ve been injuring myself thinking I can do it without the constant necessity of slow, meticulous practice each and every day, whether it’s writing, or tricks to make my ADHD life simpler.
Ken helped me see that, even though I still spend a ton of time in practice, over time, I’ve honed my craft. My first book took five years. Yesterday, I completed the first draft of my second book. It only took a year. Not bad.
Just like Ken’s cranking up his drum machine, it happens: I hit my stride and sprint, full-out, thoughts flowing faster than I can type. It’s thrilling. Rarely do I jump in at that pace.
So what’s with the bad attitude, Zoë?
Listening to Ken not only reminded me that practice is integral to great performance, but also that it’s easy to succumb to negative thinking when you’re training your Olympic mind on junk food, sugar, and lack of sleep.
Attitude for ADHD excellence
I’m not going for the gold, but I am going for my personal best.
What does that mean?
Practice, practice, practice. I don’t feel so bad about it now. Thanks for the attitude adjustment, Ken. Rock on, bro!
Kessler, Z. (2014). The Key to Excellence in Olympics and in ADHD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 6, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/08/the-key-to-excellence-in-olympics-and-in-adhd/