"Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid"
"For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7
For many years I would start projects and end up not finishing them. I would have grand ideas… then abandon them as soon as things got hard or perhaps more likely I would get discouraged by something someone said. I would walk into a room, allowing the conversations I already had in my head to influence my emotions while present in actual conversations I would have there.
Several years ago, my daughter told me I likely had undiagnosed adhd, at first I thought no way… however I’ve come to realize she was likely right. I’m always processing several conversations at the same time in my head. I’m always thinking simultaneously about work, some problem that I'm dealing with, one of my 4 or 5 hobby projects, perhaps a health issue and occasionally several versions of the current conversation I’m having.
I used to just think this is how everyone functioned… apparently not though. My wife and I have spent a great deal of time sharing our thinking processes with each other as we have worked on our relationship and understanding of each other. Recently when I explained all the tracks running in my head to her she sat in stunned silence… saying “wow”.
We are all built differently… some are detail oriented… they have a capacity to singularly focus on one project. This gift is something I admire... but often people who are detail oriented get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Just as with adhd the strength of focus can flip to a place of inefficiency if it's not managed.
In recent years I feel like I have found a rhythm in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of my overactive mind. I am comfortable with the way my mind works and have learned to "manage the input" so it works for me instead of against me… it’s taken time and a few failures but today I can say that "I'm comfortable in the uncomfortable" now.
I believe it’s often possible to leverage these things we see as negative into assets. As an example, Elon Musk has admitted he has asbergers… today he is considered one of the worlds leading inventors and influencers. Then there is John Nash… who was the only person ever awarded both the economic and the Abel Nobel prizes who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic. I’m in neither of these camps either in intelligence or in obstacles to success… however these two men had to overcome both perceived and real limitations and grow past them… they had to win battles of the mind! The biggest obstacle they had to overcome was their own fear... which left unchecked could derail the creativity their mind could produce. Fear is that thing that drives the mind into the dark places of unproductivity.
We are each made or wired differently- it’s a good thing… within the disciples of Christ during His time on earth he surrounded himself with over thinkers like Peter - but then he also surrounded incredibly detailed people like Matthew… we all have something to bring to the table!
The Bible has many men and women of Faith that God called to great things… these individuals were often the ones “passed over”, ignored or bullied.
Joseph was a dreamer… for those with adhd I’m certain you can see yourself identifying with him. Eventually Joseph led Egypt and the young nation of Israel out of a severe famine. His ability to multitask and dream became an asset even after it was rejected by his brothers who sold him into slavery.
Later we read about Gideon, God said to Gideon “oh mighty man of valour”… Gideon said “who me? I’m nothing”. God led the Israelites to win incredible battles through this man who saw himself as insignificant. His fears ruled his heart... his doubts kept him confined.
That thing we struggle with as a negative… I would suggest that we look for the silver lining. It may not be entirely bad - may just be we have not yet learned to leverage it into a benefit.
I’m still learning. Over the last several years I’ve finally gotten comfortable with having half a dozen projects in process… I learned to rotate through them and not stress over them… picking at one, then another, then another… and suddenly I have 6 finished projects. It’s like they just all get done at the same time. Sometimes when I sense the overwhelm kick in I dump a few projects rather than risk spiraling into self doubt and negative thinking. I've also learned to "shelve" projects for a season... it's amazing how often those shelved projects just "make sense" if I leave them in a corner for a few weeks. It's like that thing that overwhelmed me just slipped together... and if it doesn't I just donate it.
At work, I function in much the same manner with a constant 4-6 projects at any given time… I learn new revenue channels and technical understanding on one while shoring up the knowledge on several others for team development . It’s a constant process. I don’t consider my short attention span bad… but it has to be managed!
Even this blog... which started from my own journals. I started writing to heal my broken soul. Out of that writing a creativity was released... and I could not stop writing... looking at my "work in progress" I have no less than 70 blog posts started and in various places of completion. I still write for me... not for recognition... though let's be honest I do appreciate a compliment. Like with my other projects failure is part of success... and throwing out a post even when it's complete because I don't like it is normal. My self esteem isn't tied to my failure... it's not even tied to my success. It's ultimately tied to Jesus Christ and a grateful heart for how I've been molded and refined by my weaknesses.
I feel like the key is not to stress over it… not to be down on ourselves, to learn to just roll with it and to grasp the old saying “how do you eat an elephant?" The answer is...
"One bite at a time!”.
We really need to stop beating ourselves up, focus on our strengths and simply take baby steps… one at a time. Setbacks are just opportunities to learn and grow new capacities!
One of my recent expressions has been "success is a terrible teacher". How true is this? When we lay aside the need for success we can take steps into freedom to learn from our failures. This doesn't mean taking wild chances... it means choosing to occasionally take small risks.
“My power finds its full expression through your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I hope these words can help someone... if not... so what? They have helped me in the writing of them. Much of the healing and growth for me he come from writing (confessing to God) those fears and expressing the wounded tracks in my mind. My weakness becomes my strength... it is the place where Christ can shine within me the brightest.