This post is from Neil Swanson:
Most of you have probably learned to ride a bicycle well enough that maintaining your balance is now more or less automatic and unconscious.
Your brain, on autopilot, continuously rebalances the bicycle to keep it upright. If you and the moving bicycle begin tilting slightly to one side, your brain automatically corrects that imbalance by turning the front wheel slightly to that side. If you try to challenge your balancing brain by intentionally leaning to one side, you’ll find your autopilot brain is very powerfully inclined to steer you in a balance-correcting direction.
In a similar way, the brains of those of us with ADHD are often powerfully inclined to steer us toward stimulation that will correct an ADHD brain chemical imbalance.
In the absence of other re-balancers, such as medication, exercise, meditation, etc., our brains will unconsciously and vigorously seek out stimulation from whatever they can find at hand that is the most stimulating.
This impulse, combined with our working memory challenges explains why we are so distractible and often unable to remain focused on non-stimulating tasks. This tendency and its negative impact on our productivity can be very frustrating to us and to those around us. But did you know that distractibility can also be a strength?
There seems to be a very high correlation between distractibility and creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Our society benefits from having in our population some distractible individuals who can come up with new, inventive combinations of ideas and materials – individuals who tend to see things that others miss.
One of my past careers was as a building consultant specializing in home inspections for buyers of new homes. At the time I knew nothing about ADHD and how much it could explain my unusual functioning. But as I look back now, I can see that ADHD distractibility significantly contributed to my success as a building consultant.
When inspecting a new home, my attention was quickly drawn to a variety of interesting construction errors while other people were overlooking these “distractions.” Other inspectors were puzzled by how I could find so many defects. I was a little puzzled myself, but in retrospect I think my distractibility was the biggest factor.
Now, as an ADHD Coach, I have the joy of helping others discover how their unique brain wiring (including distractibility) can be understood, embraced, and used by them to make their lives more satisfying and fulfilling.