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Mastering Distractions: My ADD Journey

Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, is a condition that can lead to symptoms of inattention, distractibility, and poor working memory. In adults, this can mean difficulty focusing on work or remembering appointments. Unfortunately, more people, including children, are being diagnosed with ADD and prescribed medication for it. Dealing with this condition can impact self-confidence and motivation, leaving individuals feeling like they are labelled as « retarded » or « dumb. »

As someone who has struggled with ADD, I can certainly relate. I remember being distracted during exams by a kid who would open a mint wrapper, and even when I tried to read self-development books later in life, I would struggle to remember what I had read. Today, with the constant barrage of notifications from my phone and other devices, things are even worse.

I recently attended an online workshop with Dr Michael Hall, the founder of Neuro-Semantics. He spoke about how ADD is not an Attention Deficit Disorder, but rather an Intention Deficit Disorder, and this can be remedied for most people. This was news to me. I thought ADD was just part of my genes, and that I was stuck being « dumb. » Dr Hall suggested a litmus test for me, asking if I suffered from ADD while playing badminton or watching a movie. I didn’t, so he said I don’t have ADD – it’s about a lack of intention in the moment.

So how do you connect with your intention in the moment? Dr Hall introduced me to a Neuro-Semantics tool called the intentionality pattern. This pattern explores the 5 to 7 levels of importance of an activity and transfers that highest intention from being just cognitive to feeling it in the moment in the body. I had a Meta-Coach facilitate this experience for me.

After the morning break, I engaged in the process of connecting with my highest intentions just before Dr Hall proceeded with his explanations. Suddenly, he mentioned a book titled Improving Your Writing Skills by Judith Pearson, and my hands instinctively reached for my keyboard and mouse. However, an internal voice urged me to focus on Dr Hall, and I felt a strange force preventing me from minimizing the zoom window. Although I found it somewhat mysterious, I couldn’t deny that it seemed to be working, as I remained fully focused for the next 15 minutes. I felt overjoyed to be able to fully engage in the workshop.

Just as I was enjoying those moments. I noticed there was still something else still distracting me. My thoughts! Just seeing the orange dust from my eraser was enough to get me lost in my thoughts. The more I tried to resist, the more ferocious they became. I felt like I was self-sabotaging myself, and I wondered if I was destined to always be like this. I found myself pleading with my own brain to let me concentrate, begging for a moment of clarity. “Buying Kitkat for my wife is important, but not now, please let me focus!”

After lunch, I spoke up and told Dr Hall that the intention deficit didn’t seem to be working fully for me, as my thoughts kept intruding. As soon as I shared, I saw a smile on his face, I felt a sense of comfort. He told me that he, too, experiences these intrusive thoughts. It’s just how our brains work. The more we try to fight these thoughts, the more powerful they become. And then he shared his strategy with me. First, connect with your highest values and intentions, and then keep a pen and paper by your side to write down these thoughts, even if it’s just one or two words. This will help calm your mind.

I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and wrote down « Buy Kitkat » on the first line and « Search for the book Improving your Writing skills with NLP » on the second line. As he kept talking, more thoughts kept coming to my mind, but this time, I just wrote them down on the paper without any hesitation. By the end of the training, I realised that most of the items on that list didn’t even require my attention, and I was able to attend to the others. I enjoyed my learning experience, and to my surprise, the effects extended beyond just my focus. That night after giving my wife her Kitkat, I was even able to explain to her some of the concepts I learnt during the day. My memory had improved significantly. How fantastic!

These tools and strategies helped me regain my joy of reading books, my comprehension increased, and my memory improved almost instantly. I practised these learnings and now, I’m able to focus and write this article that you’re reading. For me, the magic was in reclaiming my power of choice whenever an interruption came up. I could either attend to it immediately or write it down and attend to it later. It felt like a superpower.

Dr Richard Saul, with 50 years of experience in behavioural neurology and treating patients with ADHD, in his book ADHD does not exist, has sounded the alarm that an excessive number of individuals are being diagnosed and prescribed medication for ADD and ADHD. According to him, medication is not the solution for most of them, and instead, lifestyle changes and other remedies should be considered.

If you suffer from ADD, imagine for a moment that it’s not that you can’t pay attention, but rather that you struggle with intentionally directing your focus towards specific tasks or goals. This subtle shift in perspective could have a profound impact on how you approach your difficulties and lead to more effective strategies for managing your symptoms.

What if your struggle isn’t really an attention deficit, but an intention deficit? Could this be the missing piece to actualizing your potential? If you pass the litmus test. I invite you to explore a new perspective and see what’s possible…

Author: Jameel Rahemtoola is a professional in the area of Personal Mastery and Organisational growth, serving as a Business Owner, Meta-Coach, and Neuro-Semantics Trainer. If you have any questions or comments about the article or related topics, he can be contacted via email actualizingpotentials@gmail.com.

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