Why we hate to change our minds


The Greater our Investment
The greater the likelihood
we will hold on to ideas that don’t serve us

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concept of the Intentionality Series
Opinions vs. Facts

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong.  Presented with conflicting information, accepting the new evidence would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable (called cognitive dissonance)

And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief.~ Franz Fanon, Free Your Mind and Think

Confirmation Bias

There has been a great deal of research and writing on the implications of the concept of confirmation bias. I have often referred to the concept here on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com, so many of my regular readers are already familiar with the expression.

Given today’s political climate, I believe it is time to review a few ideas
as we all attempt to make sense of what’s going on.

Some of you will recall seeing the information in the box below – but I believe it will be useful to take a moment to reread it as an introduction to this particular article.

Confirmation bias is a term describing the unconscious tendency of people to favor information that confirms their hypotheses or closely held belief systems.

Individuals display confirmation bias when they selectively gather, note or remember information, or when they interpret it in a way that fits what they already believe.

The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues, for deeply entrenched beliefs, when we are desperate for answers, and when there is more attachment to being right than being effective.

How it tends to work

Human beings will interpret the same information in radically different ways to support their own views of the themselves. We hate to believe that we might have been wrong — especially when we have invested time and energy coming to a decision.

Studies on fraternity hazing have shown repeatedly that, when attempting to join a group, the more difficult the barriers to group acceptance, the more people will value their membership.

To resolve the discrepancy between the hoops they were forced to jump through and the reality of whatever their experience turns out to be, they are likely to convince themselves that their decision was, in fact, the best possible choice they could have made.

Similar logic helps to explain the “Stockholm Syndrome,” the actions of those who seem to remain loyal to their captors following their release.

©Dogbert/Dilbert by Scott Adams — Found HERE

Adjusting Beliefs

People quickly adjust their opinions to fit their behavior — sometimes even when it goes against their moral beliefs overall. We ALL do it at times, even those of us who are aware of the dynamic and consciously fight against it.

It’s an unconscious adaptation that is a result of the brain’s desire for self-consistency. For example:

  • Those who take home pens or paper from their workplace might tell themselves that “Everybody does it” — and that they would be losing out if they didn’t do it too.
  • Or they will tell themselves, perhaps, “I’m so underpaid I deserve a little extra under the table – they expect us to do it.”

And nowhere is it easier to see than in political disagreements!

When validating our view on a contentious point, we conveniently overlook or “over-ride” information that is at odds with our current or former opinions, while recalling everything that fits with what is more psychologically comfortable to believe – whether we are aware of it consciously or not.

We don’t have to look further than the aftermath of the most recent election here in America for many excellent examples of how difficult it is for human beings to believe that maybe they might have been wrong.

BUT WHY?

To understand why, we need to look briefly at another concept that science has many studies to support: cognitive dissonance.

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Accountability & Systems on Auto-Pilot


Systems Development is Part ONE
It’s that consistent follow-through part that’s the killer!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Treadmill Deja Vu

As I explained in Keeping Up with the Treadmill Tasks, published over 2-1/2 years ago, Treadmill Tasks are those things that are never really done. No sooner do we put a task behind us than its evil twin materializes in front.

If we expect to eat every day, somebody has to fix the food. Then somebody has to deal with the dishes at least once a day or so, and wipe spills off the counters and the floor (at least well enough to keep the Board of Health away from our door).

Oops, let’s not forget to take out the garbage – and how about that grocery shopping?

Then there’s the general digging out: policing the living rooms and the bedrooms, the kitchens and the bathrooms . . . not to mention those home office to-dos, even for those of us who work for wages somewhere else.

SOME-body has to attend to all of those items or everybody must live with the consequences of mounting disorder and disarray that eventually makes life practically unlivable.

When YOU are that somebody – especially if you are one of the citizens of Alphabet City – I’ll bet you frequently feel like your life is little more than one rapidly revolving to-do list, and that you will never be able to cross off anything anywhere near the bottom.

Hang on – help’s coming!

But wait – there’s MORE!

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From Impulsivity to Self-Control


Self-Control increases as the brain develops

(but science isn’t exactly sure HOW)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Self-control is a developmental process.

Self Control — none of us are born with it, and very few of us are able to banish acting on impulse completely. A percentage of us struggle to manage our faster-than-a-speeding-bullet emotional responses for our entire lives: those who retain high levels of what is termed impulsivity.

Not surprisingly, some of the most comprehensive understanding of impulsivity comes from the study of children and teens.

Laurence Steinberg of Temple University, the neuroscientist who led the team testifying during the Supreme Court case that abolished the death penalty for juveniles [Roper v. Simmons], is well known for his research that has illuminated some of the underlying causes of reckless behavior in teens and young adults.

He explains impulsivity as an imbalance in the development of two linked brain systems that he describes in the following manner:

  • the incentive processing system, regulating the anticipation and processing of rewards and punishments, as well as the emotional processing of society’s behavioral expectations, and
  • the cognitive control system, orchestrating logical reasoning and impulse regulation – two important skills that make up what is termed our Executive Functions, which depend on neurotypical development of the PreFrontal Cortex [PFC]

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Low-grade Impulsivity Ruins Lives Too


Identifying “Garden Variety” Impulsivity

The first step on the road to change

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Garden-Variety Impulsives

Serious Impulse Control issues cannot be resolved by attempting to follow advice gleaned from a quick trip around the internet — or any Series of articles written to help you improve your level of self-control and accountability.

If you suspect that your problem with impulsivity is severe enough to need professional help beyond ADD Coaching, THAT is one impulse I encourage you to act on immediately!

But that is NOT what this article is designed to help you identify.

I want to encourage those of you whom I call the “garden-variety impulsives,” to stop comparing what you do to the far end of the impulsivity spectrum.

I’m hoping to be able to convince at least some of you to stop fooling yourselves into believing that you don’t really have a problem, as the joys of life that could be yours remain forever out of reach.

Because “low-grade impulsivity” is something that can be changed relatively easily in a “self-help” fashion or with some focused work with a private ADD Coach or in a Coaching Group.

Life looks up when you do the work.

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Relationship Repair when Apologies are Due


HOW to Apologize
beginning with how NOT to

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Intentionality Series

Find it on ADDCoach Wisdom on Pinterest – linked to thedailyquotes.com

Just because we didn’t do something intentionally (“on purpose”), doesn’t mean the injured party is not entitled to a sincere apology for the reality that we were involved and that something was damaged – or somebody was hurt – as a result.

Apologizing doesn’t mean that you have been purposely wrong and that the other person is absolutely right. It means that you value your relationship more than your ego.

ADD/EFD oopses

Far more often than many of the neurotypical members of society, those of us with what I refer to as Alphabet Disorders (AD[h]D, EFD, TBI, OCD and more) tend to say and do things that get us into hot water with our friends and loved ones.

  • Unfortunately, according to a great many of my clients through the years, instead of cleaning it up and asking for forgiveness, we tend to allow hurt and resentment to fester as a result of our reluctance to apologize.
  • Even more often, we make things even worse by our bungling attempts at taking responsibility for our actions when we do attempt to say we’re sorry – making it even more difficult for us to decide to apologize in the future.

While we might argue that the above points are two sides of the same coin, shame (certainly a factor), I have observed that only a few of us truly understand HOW to apologize – so we tend not to offer them as often as they are deserved.

That’s unfortunate, because apologizing costs us nothing, means a great deal to those we have disappointed or offended, and is a relatively easy thing to learn to do in an effective manner.

8 Reasons we don’t apologize more readily & more often

There are probably as many explanations as there are people who “refuse” to apologize, but they tend to cluster in areas similar to one or more of those below.

  1. We have collapsed blame, fault, and intentionality with apologyThey are NOT the same, and the presence of the former is completely unrelated to the need for an apology.
  2. Our egos are attached to appearing “perfect” or loving or emotionally sensitive in some black and white manner, fearing that apologizing makes us seem weak, ineffective or damaged in some fashion beyond that which we already fear that we might be.  The opposite is actually true.
  3. We aren’t fully appreciating the feelings of the individual at the effect of our actions, words or behavior, frequently because we ourselves would not respond in a similar manner.  We let ourselves off the hook with the lame excuse that they are “over-reacting”  — contexting our actions their fault.
  4. We feel as if we’re “always apologizing” – most often because we’ve been told that so many times throughout our lives we’ve concluded that yet another won’t really make much of a difference anyway. How can we expect to rebuild trust if we won’t take responsibility for our actions when they are hurtful?
  5. We don’t know how to “fix it,” and we are hoping that saying nothing will allow it to become no more important than a bit of dirt under a carpet.  By the time our attention is drawn to the huge dirty pile in the corner, it seems as if it really could be too late to repair the damage.
  6. They are younger than we are, or less senior, so we allow ourselves the excuse that an apology from us would be “inappropriate.”  Even very young children and junior office assistants are entitled to an apology whenever our actions would merit an apology to someone older or more senior – especially if we didn’t intend harm.
  7. It takes us a while to realize that an apology is probably due – or to work up the courage to offer one – and we don’t know how to begin at a later date.  It’s never to late to attempt to set things right.
  8. We lack the skill. When we believe we are apologizing, the person on the receiving end hears something entirely different: an attempt to shift the blame.

Whatever underlies our reticence or lack of effectiveness, we can learn to apologize effectively, and our happiness with our relationships will improve significantly once we do.

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When Acknowledgment Backfires


Owning our Brilliance
How come that is so much harder than owning our Challenges?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Black & White Thinking category
part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Click image for source

Click image for source

Performance Pressure

Most of us can’t get ENOUGH positive feedback, even if we deflect it for one reason or another – as most of us tend to do.

WHY would anybody toss aside positive comments, you ask?

Check inside.  Why do YOU?

The causes of deflection are varied and individual-specific, but there are a few categories in which they tend to cluster.

For example, because:

  • We aren’t developmentally ready to let our awareness of our own expertise, learned or innate, really sink in
  • We’ve internalized the cultural meme that there is something intrinsically wrong with “owning” our brilliance.  Admitting that we are aware of what we do well is frequently considered conceited, ego-based, or heaven forbid narcissistic! (Odd, isn’t it, that owning our Challenges is laudable?)
  • We’ve learned that people who compliment frequently have an agenda beyond encouraging us to bask in the glow of accomplishment — and we’ve equated “compliment” and “acknowledgment” (NOT the same things at all).
  • We’ve learned in the past that acknowledgments are some kind code — a sneaky way that others let us know that somebody’s trying to raise our bar — usually them.
Important Distinction:
compliment vs. acknowledgment

When we compliment, we are VOTING – an expression of praise or admiration indicating approval, acceptance, or flattery; the opposite of criticizing with censure.

When we acknowledge, we are NOTICING OUT LOUD – while positive in tone, an acknowledgement is an expression of our recognition of a quality, action or accomplishment we admire; the opposite of ignoring, discounting or overlooking

©1994 from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s upcoming Coaching Glossary

As I explored with you over two years ago in Doling out the Cookies (one of the reward and acknowledgement articles in the TaskMaster™ Series):

Besides the feeling that there is something wrong with endorsement, our knee-jerk responses often point to a paradigm leading us to embrace the idea that unless we are perfect, we are worthless, undeserving of acknowledgement: black and white stinkin’ thinkin‘.

The underlying concept that keeps that particular example of black and white thinking in place is the idea that things of value are pure examples of absolute consistency. That’s insane!

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AHAs! and DUHs! — HUH?


GlossaryHead2

 

I could’a had a V-8!
They don’t SAY “duh!” — but they might as well have

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Duh!s and Aha!s

Aha! seems to have worked its way into the blogging mainstream.  You’ll see it used as a noun – an Aha! – and pluralized, used as a category – your Aha!s.

Duh! not so much — even though it will probably turn out to be the more useful of the two (at least it will if you adopt the manner in which I encourage you to reframe its meaning).

You’ll run into aha!s all over the web — so let’s begin with the concept that’s not quite so common.

Duh!

Duh! is usually used to comment on an action perceived to be foolish or stupid (like “I left the keys in the ignition – duh!“), or in response to a concept perceived to be blatantly obvious (like “Science “proves” men and women are different – duh!“).

Even though they are frequently meant to be funny, I call those old paradigm duh!s.  The coaching reframe is used as a distinction to move life forward.  It lets us all off the “stupid” hook. 

I want to encourage the use of the term as a light-hearted reminder that knowledge is a term meaning little more than a holding tank of information provided or discovered.

None of us are born knowing everything we need to know – even the Einsteins among us. 

  • We learn it when we learn it, and not one moment sooner.
  • Let’s take the shame off “not knowing” so that learning becomes fun again.

The ADDCoach Coaching duh! used to lighten the mood following a sudden realization or understanding of a concept or procedure that the person with the insight might otherwise be tempted to believe should have been obvious;

A good-humored reminder that all learning is a good thing – once clarified, duh!s underscore how the understanding of one simple thing can change how an individual thinks about things or tackle tasks from that point forward.

© from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s upcoming Coaching Glossary

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ABOUT Distinctions & Definitions


Defining our Terms
Learning when and why they’re useful

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Introducing the Distinctions & Definitions Series

click image for source - in a new window/tab

click image for source – in a new window/tab

Through the years I’ve become known for my love affair with words and, to my clients and students, for my facility with definitions and distinctions.  I truly love the specificity of the English language — and I like to share.

ADDandSoMuchMore.com regulars have probably noticed that more than a few of my articles offer, in addition to the content of the articles themselves, a definition of a term or two that I’m not sure all of you will find familiar.

I also tend to explain terms that I have coined — especially those that have become part of the ADD Coaching lexicon. These include words and terms we coaches use in a manner that is slightly unfamiliar, inviting consciousness to the conversation.

Occasionally I offer a definition of a word or a term I have coined that has not been adopted by the ADD Coaching field in general — those that I use in my writings, or in the coach trainings and other groups and classes that I offer from time to time.

For example:

Alphabet City — Note the slightly lighter color of that term, by the way – more dark grey than the black of the text that follows.  That’s because it is a link, in this case to the article that explains the “Alphabet Disorders” concept.

Unless you choose to focus there, it remains quietly out of the way of your thoughts as you follow mine.

Place your cursor over the link (but don’t click) and watch what happens. 

Did you hover long enough to see a little box pop up with a bit of information about what to expect when you click?

THAT’s how the links work on this site, for those of you who haven’t read the explanation on the skinny sidebar, always there to remind you  ====>

Most links on ADDandSoMuchMore.com open in windows or tabs of their own, so that what you were reading before you clicked awaits your return exactly where you left it. No need to search for some glimmer of recall that might remain frustratingly illusive.

Anyway . . .  some of you may dimly remember seeing, at the top or bottom of a particular definition, something like the text below:

© From my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary

I’ll bet you’re waiting for my definition of “upcoming”

UNTIL my dominant hand was smashed in a mugging, leaving hand and forearm cast-immobilized and my ability to type or do much of anything at all dead in the water for almost three months, I was on-schedule to announce a publication date this year

Life kept dishing it out, and I am now well over EIGHT months behind on everything.  To maintain what’s left of my sanity I have decided I must push this particular project down on my to-list, postponing publication targets until late 2015.

So I want to tell you how I’m going to handle sharing definitions and distinctions meanwhile.

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Executive Functioning, Focus and Attentional Bias


Attention must be paid
How come that sometimes seems
so VERY hard to do?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

Attentional Bias and FOCUS

“Executive functioning” is an umbrella term for the management (regulation, control) of cognitive processes,[1] including working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving [2] as well as planning, and execution.[3] (also known as cognitive control and the supervisory attentional system) ~ Wikipedia

Central to the idea of “control” is the concept of intentional FOCUS.

Intentional focus means exactly that — you can focus where you want, when you want, for as long as you want — and shift focus to something new (and BACK again) any time you want. (see The Dynamics of Attending for the implications of on that idea)

Can anybody really DO that?

Those of us with Alphabet Disorders don’t usually kid ourselves that we are the absolute rulers of our skip-to-my-Lou minds. But even those of you who feel that you do fairly well in that regard might be surprised at how often your focus is skewed unintentionally through a concept known as attentional bias.

About attentional bias, Wikipedia says it is a term commonly used to describe the unconscious inclination to note emotionally dominant stimuli more quickly and prominently, effectively “neglecting” factors that do not comply with the initial area of interest.

The concept implies that stimuli that do not comply with the emotionally dominant stimuli will be “neglected,” reducing our attention toward a great number of the many things coming our way — and ultimately negatively affecting our ability to prioritize action in ways we might ultimately prefer.

Sort of, but not really

While it certainly seems to be true that anything that “hooks us emotionally” will pull our focus away from more neutral stimuli, other reasons for attentional bias exist.

More accurately, attentional bias describes the tendency for a particular type of stimuli to capture attention, the familiar “over-riding” the importance of other input.

For example, in studies using the dot-probe paradigm (a computer-assisted test used by cognitive psychologists to assess selective attention), patients with anxiety disorders and chronic pain show increased attention to angry and painful facial expressions.[2] [3]

But we’ll also see increased attention to an item written in a bold color (or in a person’s favorite color), to names similar to our own among a list of names (or that of a close relative), or a familiar sound mixed intermittently with less familiar sounds.

Scientists believe that attentional bias has a significant effect on a great many items we must deal with moment-by-moment, which tends to have an exacerbating impact on quite a few “conditions.”

Some of those “conditions” include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, eating disorders and other addictions, and many other areas that might not, at first glance, seem related – like task-anxiety and follow-through to completion.

Extensively explored by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman and frequent collaborator Amos Tversky, the concept of cognitive bias explains something that most of us have readily observed, and frequently struggle to explain —

The actions of human beings aren’t always rational!

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Repair Deficit


Domino Problems Redux?
When you can’t seem to FIX faster than things fall apart!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-III

300px-Domino_effectHOW can I catch-up before it’s all too late?

Domino problems are what I have named that frustrating but all too familiar situation where it seems that no matter what you do – or how long you agonize over what you CAN do – one thing after another goes wrong anyway.

In my own life and the lives of my neurodiverse clients and and students, there are periods of time when it seems like one little oversight or problem “suddenly” creates a host of others — as we watch in horror as our lives falls apart, each new problem created by the one before it.

“I drop out one little thing and there I am,” one client said tearfully,back in the hole again, with no idea how I’ll get out this time.”

“Everything seems to fall apart around me, and I shut down with the stress of it all,” said another.

Still another said, “My family is tired of bailing me out, and I’m tired of hearing them yell at me about it. I feel like such a loser.”

That’s the Domino Problem Dynamic in a Nutshell

And when something NOT so little drops out – our doing or Murphy’s – HEAVEN HELP US!

Why the name “domino problem”? Because the domino dynamic is similar to that activity where you set a row of dominoes on end, then tap the first one to watch them ALL fall, one at a time, as the domino falling before it knocks it down.

Domino Problems are a major contributor to so-called procrastination: we reach a point where we are afraid to move because we are afraid we won’t be able to handle one more thing going wrong!

I keep searching for a way to explain the dynamic, on the way to suggesting some ways to work around it before everything is in shambles at your feet. “Repair deficit” is my latest attempt.

Repair Deficit

The term may seem oddly familiar to those of you who “attended” the world’s first virtual Gluten Summit in November 2013.

Dr. Liz Lipski used the term as a way of explaining “increased intestinal permeability,” in answer to a couple of recurring questions:

  1. Why is it, if gluten is supposed to be so bad for us, that everyone who eats it doesn’t develop what is euphemistically called “a leaky gut” and/or other conditions which supposedly have gluten intolerance at the root of the problem?
  2. How come people can be healthy for years on the standard high-gluten diet then suddenly, in late life, be diagnosed with celiac disorder or something else attributed to gluten intolerance?

Lipski’s explanation of the repair deficit dynamic in the physical health venue ALSO provides a handy metaphor for the explanation of why some of us are able to swim to shore after our life-boat capsizes, while others go down with the ship — or why some of us “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” only to be stopped cold by something that looks relatively minor.

So stay with me as we learn (or review) a bit about digestive health, on the way to taking a look at how repair deficit situations operate in the non-food areas of our lives.

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Keeping up with the Treadmill Tasks


Didn’t I just DO that???
It CAN’T be time to do it again!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-II

treadmill_GreenSuitOver and over and OVER

Treadmill Tasks are those things that are never really done. No sooner do we put the task behind us than its evil twin materializes in front.

If we expect to eat every day, somebody has to fix the food. Then somebody has to clean up once each meal is over.

And then there is the grocery shopping, laundry, dusting and general digging out, taking out the garbage, making the beds, policing the bedrooms, and the bathrooms, and the living rooms, and the kitchens . . .

SOME-body has to attend to all that or everybody must live with the consequences of the mounting disorder and disarray.

When YOU are that somebody – especially if you are one of the citizens of Alphabet City – I’ll bet you frequently feel like your life is just one gigantic Groundhog Day to-do list.

I know that I do — far too many more days than I’d like to!!

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Requests That Get You What You Want


requestSignRequesting-101:
Surprisingly easy to Ace — even easier to flunk

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Advocacy Series
in support of the Coaching Skills Series

Please Read This Article Now

The heading above is a clear and clean example of a request — there’s nuthin’ fuzzy about it!

  1. It’s short
  2. It asks directly for what it wants
  3. It’s respectful — and includes the magic word
    (“please” – for those of you who didn’t have that kind of upbringing)
  4. And it is clear about the time-frame expectation.

It is truly a request, not a manipulation attempt.

In no way is it:

  • nagging or pleading
  • shaming or complaining
  • explaining or justifying
  • intimidating or threatening

Nor is it gift-wrapped in emotional subtext

There is no:

  • anger
  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • pouting
  • or any other emotional technique most of us tend to pull out when we are hoping to get what we want

As a result, it does not automatically activate emotional reactions like:

  • hurt feelings and defensiveness
  • pleas for exceptions or understanding
  • resistance or opposition
  • angry retorts or the urge to argue

It also makes itself ridiculously easy for the person on the responding end to consider, because it is it clear what’s expected if s/he responds affirmatively.

Responding to a request

There are only three ways a person can respond to a request:

  1. YES – in which case the expectation is that they will do it
  2. NO – we all know the pros and cons of that one
  3. MAYBE/IF – renegotiating the task or the time-frame

What seems to trip people up emotionally is the lack of the realization or acceptance of the First Codicil of Requesting.

Requesting: First Codicil

If any one of the three potential responses
is not an acceptable possibility,
you are making a
DEMANDNOT making a request —
(no matter how sweet your tone of voice)

The rest of this article will continue to expand on the request process — in a lot more words with a lot more examples — and will make a strong link between messing up the request process and all kinds of life struggles and relationship troubles.

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Black and White Make-wrong


One of The Black & White articles from The Challenges Inventory™ Series
Foundational Concepts of the Intentionality Series: Opinions vs. Facts

Blog Belittlement — yet not here!

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
NoCyberBullying

A overdue THANK YOU
to my Readership!

NEWS TO KNOW — in the over two years of this blog’s life (born, essentially, in March 2011), I have gotten only THREE comments that crossed the line separating disagreeable from disagreement.

(Not counting, that is, whatever is inside the thousands of auto-spammed comments I’ve never seen — caught by the Akismet spam filter on this blog — check out the spam counter near the top of the skinny column to your right.)

Think about that for a moment.

From YouTube to The Huffington Post — to Scientific American, for heaven’s sakes — the comments section seems to be developing into little more than a place to indulge in a snide and sarcastic form of cyber-bullying, discounting entire articles and comments from others with a sneering couple of words that add nothing but nastiness.

Sadly, many sites have felt the need to disconnect the comments feature because of the abject churlishness of the comments that have been posted. Moderating and editing thousands of comments can be a tedious task indeed — NOBODY has the time to sift through and delete all that stuff when the “trolls” and haters decide to descend.

  • YET on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, where the readership make-up is primarily those whom we would expect to have more than a few issues with impulsivity (and more than a few frustrations to take out on the closest available victim), it is practically non-existent.
  • WE seem to be a community of civilized, respectful and supportive, grateful-for-anything-that-might-help band of brethren.

How cool is THAT!?

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The Impulsivity Rundown™


Widening the gap between Impulse and (re)Action

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © – all rights reserved)

Impulsiveby Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Garden-Variety Impulsivity

Let’s be really clear about the focus of The Impulsivity Rundown™.

While ADD is included among the list of diagnostic Impulse Control Disorders, we’re NOT going to focus on the more extreme end of runaway impulsivity.

Impulsivity that leads to the kind of serious harm where you are likely to spend some time in an Institution, or spend more than a few years on an analyst’s couch, or wind up on a first-name basis with every Police Precinct in your area, is beyond the scope of ADD Coaching or this Series — things like:

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This is your Brain on Sleep – Stages of Sleep


Cycling through the Sleep Stages
Part of the Sleep Series

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a
fundamental biological need, enhancing 
creativity,
productivity, mood, and the ability to interact with others.”

~ Russell G. Foster, a leading expert on chronobiology

zzzzz_in bed_blue 298x232Gettin’ those Zzzz’s

Until the mid-twentieth century, most scientists believed that we were asleep for approximately a third of our lives — experienced, primarily, in a uniform block of time that was the opposite of wakefulness.

THAT was pretty much it.

Their assumption was that sleep was a homogeneous state.  It’s most salient feature was considered to be the fact that you were NOT AWAKE.  Duh.

The main side-effect of sleep deprivation, so it was believed at the time, was that you got sleepyOh my.

  • It was assumed that we needed some sort of down-time to recharge our batteries somehow.
  • There was so little curiosity about sleep, very few scientists felt that it was worthy of the time or money for research.

In the 1950s, the breaking news from one of the few sleep labs was that sleep actually consisted of two distinct states:

  1. Rapid eye movement sleep [REM], which distinguished dreaming sleep, according to what they knew at the time
  2. AND . . . the rest of it!
    (imaginatively referred to as “non-rapid eye movement sleep” [NREM])

You probably already know that REM sleep was so named because it was noticed that the eyes moved quickly back and forth under closed eyelids – rather like they might if the sleeper were speed-reading a teeny-tiny English-language book.

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Confirmation Bias & The Tragedy of Certainty


WrongTrain

“If you board the wrong train,
it’s no use running along the corridor
in the other direction.”

~ the fascinating & courageous theologian,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer


How do you KNOW?
And what do you do with that belief?

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concepts of the Intentionality Series
Opinions vs. Facts

Facts, Suppositions, Extrapolations & Opinions

Another delightful Martin illustration of a woman with a question mark on her tee shirt, holding a sheet of paper in each hand, each printed with a single word : FACT or OPINION.In the past two years, I have been reading a large number of “neuroscience” books — which means, of course, that I have been reading the opinions of neuroscientists that they have put forward into book form.

Here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com, I shared my reaction to the various opinions in the first of what will become a Series of writings about opinion and fact:

(Science and Sensibility – The Illusion of Proof: Observation: Anecdotal Report and Science ).

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ABOUT Alphabet Disorders


Alphabet City/Alphabet Soup

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD Basics Series

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Phillip Martin, artist/educator

Welcome to my clubhouse!

Looking through The ADD Lens™ means so-much-more than looking at ADD itself!

Whenever I use “ADD” or “EFD,” know that I am talking to ALL of the members of a neurodiverse community of individuals who struggle with executive functioning deficits

You’ll often hear me refer
to these struggles as
Attentional Spectrum Disorders.

What I’m actually talking about are individuals who experience “deficits,” in the Executive Functioning mechanism (relative to the so-called “neurotypical” population).

These “brain glitches” produce dysregulations in one or more areas:

• MOOD – how they feel emotionally and how well they are able to weather emotional storms
• AFFECT – how they seem from the outside, including affect regulation ability, and
• COGNITION – how they “attend,” decide, remember & recall, and stay on track as they work through the many tasks of daily living.

  • At one end of the spectrum are those who, diagnosed or not, have been card-carrying club members since early childhood.
  • At the other end are individuals who got their membership cards rather suddenly, as the result of brain injury of one sort or another – or because it came along with a condition of another sort or a side-effect of medication for something else.

Clear as mud?

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Procrastination — Activation vs. Motivation


More than Motivation

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concepts of the Intentionality Series

EncourageYOU HEARD IT HERE:  Glitches in the activation arena are more likely to be behind what is often mistakenly assumed to be “procrastination” in the EFD/ADD community than insufficient motivation.

As I said in Part I of this series of articles – ABOUT Activation – struggles with activation are a common occurrence in the ADD population.

Closely related, but not the same thing as,
under-arousal and motivation deficit, insufficient 
activation is frequently misidentified, mislabeled, and totally misunderstood.

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Of Bribery and Labels


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Reframing the Bribery Label

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you know how much I sincerely dislike labeling of any kind — especially those labels that come from personal opinion (the kind that seem to squeak right under our conscious “judgment” radar the moment a label slips into common usage).

The labeling category is where the term “bribery” falls for me, and this article is my attempt to reframe it before it slides across the line into the make-wrong category.

Make-wrong is a term used in the coaching community to refer to judgments that might as well be saying, “Anybody sane knows there is a right and a wrong way to do life, and this communication identifies an item on THE unacceptable list” (in contrast to one’s personal unacceptable list).

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Distinguishing-101


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Distinguishing “Distinction”

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC   ©1995, 2012
Another article in the ADD Coaching Skills Series

Thanks to artist Phillip Martin!

Coaches are in the Wisdom business. It is our job to share with clients the language and awarenesses they need to get what they want. One of the ways to share wisdom is to do something called “drawing distinctions.”

Distinctions are just a fancy way of saying that we give the client the proper language for what they really want to say, be or do.
~ Thomas J. Leonard

Shifting your come-from

The primary goal of any kind of Coaching is to facilitate client “shifts” in attitude and awareness that will allow them to avoid what Einstein (or Narcotics Anonymous) referred to as insanity: repeating the same thing, expecting a different result. 

Nowhere is shifting a more important concept than in coaching relationships with clients who struggle with atypical Executive Functioning.

What’s a Shift?

A shift — sometimes referred to as a paradigm shift — is a reframe, a change in perspective that expands thinking. It is an instantaneous “get out of the box free” card that changes how you view all areas of your life impacted by the shift.

By virtue of your new vantage point, your relationship to whatever problems or challenges you are currently facing is suddenly redesigned.

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Distinguishing Distractibility


Distractions!
What are they anyway?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from The Challenges Series


A distraction is an involuntary diversion of attention in response to a stimulus — beyond our control.

Distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on an intended object and sustain that focus – in other words, a distraction is an intrusion into our attempt to concentrate on the task at hand.

Distractions can be external (nagging at any one of our five senses), or internal (“interruptions” from our own brain wiring or emotional states).

They can be subtle or overt, compelling or mildy irritating, important or trivial, but they ALL pull us off task, despite our best intentions.

ADD or not, ALL distractions reduce our ability to place our full attention where WE choose to concentrate.

• Can you fully concentrate on calculating your tax liability with repeated visits from your young daughter pleading with you to come outside to watch her ride her brand new bicycle?

• Are you able to take complicated directions over the phone while your spouse attempts to impart, in your other ear, something s/he deems important for you to hear RIGHT NOW?

• Are you able to drive through a blinding rain while your young children squabble in the back seat and your young teen blares the latest “Listen, this is so cool!” rap song?

Not really, right? ALL distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on the intended stimulus, and sustain the focus, the first two of the three Dynamics of Attending.

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10-Step ADD Coaching


Ten Things to think about that can give you a Brand New LIFE!
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the ADD Coaching Series


ŒBegin with a pen, pencil
(or crayon!) and a pad of your favorite paper — or your favorite software on your computer (whatever works best for YOU).

Find a comfortable place to perch while you run through the ten items below.

Plan on spending 30-45 minutes – whatever you can spare, but don’t try to squeeze it in between activities and interruptions.

Make SURE you are comfortable

Identify any tight places in your body:

  • Roll your shoulders.
  • Let your head drop to one side, then the other.
  • Wiggle your toes or spread your fingers.

Adjust your clothing, if you need to.  Unfasten anything that needs to be looser. Kick off your shoes if you feel like it.  Squirm around until you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Take several d-e-e-p breaths, exhaling slowly, while you think about your life as it is RIGHT NOW, before you work your way through the list below.

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Distinguishing Can’t from Won’t


CAN’T vs WON’T

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD Coaching Skills Series

A fundamental concept underlying the manner in which I coach individuals with attentional spectrum deficits is a result of the distinction between “can’t” and “won’t.”

Distinguishing articulates the differences between words as they apply functionally

When we distinguish one word from another, we bring to conscious awareness the reality that, while the denotation of two words – the surface, dictionary meaning – might be effectively equivalent, the connotations are quite different.

Connotation – subtext and common usage within sub-groups – always rides along with the denotative (dictionary) meaning of a word, whether or not we intend the emotional “spin,” or whether or not we are aware of it consciously.

A Distinction, as it applies to the coaching relationship,  is a psycho-spiritual subtlety of language, used consciously for the express purpose of facilitating psychological and spiritual growth.

Distinguishing hones functioning as well as thinking.

  • It sharpens listening, language and coaching skills.
  • It helps to form vital neurological connections, ” brain-links” in a way that expands your knowledge base exponentially — rather than in the linear fashion in which we are accustomed to learning.
  • It’s a brain-game that helps build positive-minded neural-net — weakening the bonds of “old tapes” so that we can shape new futures.

My goal, whenever I select a distinction and let my brain loose to blog about it, is “to seed a shift in come-from” — to illuminate cherished opinions and unconscious habits of thought, hoping to inspire a reframing of underlying assumptions. 

Can’t vs. Won’t

I want to shine a light on the necessity of accepting the behavioral characteristics of ADD/EFDers as part of the ADD/EFD diagnosis.  

For far too long, neurological ADD/EFD challenges have been assigned to the provinces of behavior or psycho-analysis. The distinction between can’t and won’t lies totally within the province of volition.

Accepting the idea that a person could sincerely try and fail due to dynamics completely divorced from underlying psychological conflicts is fundamental: as long as we look for blocks or conflicts, our view of behavior is indelibly skewed in a way that predisposes us to find them.

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Nine Challenges: What Are They?


Isolated Understanding
Must Come First

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

from The Challenges Inventory™ Series
Part 3 of a 3-part article
Challenges DESCRIPTIONS
after short review
Part 1 HERE Part 2 HERE

Graphic of a surprised man pointing to the presentation of a graph that takes a sharp downturnThe Challenges of the Inventory

The Challenges Inventory™ is composed of nine separate elements — The Challenges — designed to target nine specific areas which are particularly problematic for most human beings. 

They are quite often complete stoppers
for individuals with
Executive Functioning struggles
(and
not just ADD).

The specific combination of particular Challenges make up a client’s Challenges Profile — a visual snapshot of implementation in the nine key areas relative to each other

WHY is that important?

Once we recognize and understand the impact of the relationship between these “underachieving” parts of our lives, we can better use each category to our ADVANTAGE rather than to our detriment, creating positive change in our lives.

The real power of The Challenges Inventory™

The power to improve your functioning comes from understanding each of the nine Challenges individually as well as their impact together. THAT will tell you how to translate the scores into information your can use to change your LIFE.

It is only through the understanding of how to sherlock the particular relationship between the scores that that you will have the information you need to develop the systems that will be effective with YOUR individual Challenges Profile.

At that point, you can begin immediately to prioritize a path of development that works with your strengths and works AROUND your areas of significant challenge.

AND YET, we must begin at the beginning.

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ABOUT Impulsivity


Cartoon of a screaming person falling, dangling by one leg to a tie rope.

Risk, Reward & Impulsivity

Managing the gap between impulse and action

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Many professionals agree that “impulsivity” is one of the most confusing of the official terms in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual updated and published by the American Psychological Association).

The confusion is especially problematic because impulsivity is one of the diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficits.  The biggest source of confusion is linguistic.

The term “impulsivity” is unfortunate.

So many concepts are implied by the root word “impulse” that, even once we identify impulsivity as an area that needs to be managed, it’s really tough to figure out how to do it — or even what’s involved.

The truth is, we are ALL are at the effect of “impulsivity.”  Impulses drive the conscious actions that contribute to much of our forward progress.  Even “instincts” are driven from impulses – the only real difference is that those impulses are below the level of consciousness.

Another biggie among the ADD problems is activation.

What IS activation, if not an impulse.

Murkier and murkier, this examination toward clarification!

Okay, let’s not get into semantic discussions that split hairs. Individuals will be considered “impulsive” only when impulse leads to action without a pause for thought.  That works, right?

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ABOUT Black and White Thinking


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The Challenge of Gray —

from Black and White to Balance

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The FIRST of The Black & White articles from
The Challenges Inventory™ Series
(updated content March 20, 2013)

Black and white yin-yang symbol

  • A or F
  • Perfect or worthless
  • All or nothing
  • Good or bad
  • White or black
  • Always or Never!

Perfectionism and Black & White Thinking can turn a bright, shiny day into a thunderstorm!

One of the Nine Challenges (from my Challenges Inventory™), Black and White Thinking is an area that will be explored in one of the eBooks in my upcoming eBook Series.

ADDers (and those involved with them) seem to fall into the black and white thinking trap more than most – especially where the functioning of the ADDer is concerned.

That’s a shame, too, because the damage inflicted by black and white thinking seems to stop ADDers dead in their tracks more quickly than than those with the so-called “neurotypical” brain-style.

Maybe it is because we have heard it levied against us so often in our lives.

  • Why can’t you ever be on time?
  • You always interrupt me!
  • You are the messiest person I have ever known!

Utter NONSENSE!

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Zebras, hoof-beats and Dr. House: Differential Diagnosis


Differential Diagnosis: WHAT is it?

and WHY do I care?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie,
CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
#1 of a 2-parter in the Comorbities Series

(To find out how the Zebras relate, read the article!!) 

differential diagnosis is one which examines all of the possible reasons for a set of symptoms in order to arrive at an identification of the cause (or combination of causes) of a presenting problem.

It’s a fairly simple process of elimination that can become unblievably complex in an eye-blink, “simply” because so many diseases and disorders present with similar symptoms,

Although the term “differential diagnosis” initially referred to issues of physical health, today many doctors in the mental health field also use this system of diagnosis.

Diagnosticians specialize in differential diagnosis.

Everybody’s favorite Diagnostician

And who would that be?

Why, House, of course!

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Brain Waves, Scans and ATTENTION


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Part 2 in the Intentional Attending Series of Posts —
As I said in Part 1, The Link Between Attention and ACTION, before I can explain what you need to DO to be intentional with attention, I need to explain a little more about the relationship between memory and attention – and before I can do THAT, we need to come to an agreement about the meaning of this “Attention” term! 

Brain Waves and Vibrational Frequencies

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Drawing of a screen of medical monitor showing the up-down lines that indicate the functioning of what they are monitoring

ALL changes in attention and focus produce a variety of specific patterns in the brain.  These patterns can be recorded using technologies developed and refined since the 1990s, the ten year period that was declared The Decade of The Brain

Whenever our state of awareness and concentration changes,
brain waves change vibrational frequenc
y

A neurofeedback practitioner, for example, can tell by looking at an EEG read-out whether a person hooked up to a special computer is asleep or awake, strongly focused or daydreaming.

The REST of this article will help you understand how measuring brain waves relates to attention and what’s involved in becoming INTENTIONAL with your ATTENDING.

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What ARE Executive Functions?


 by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 in a Series (click HERE for Part 1))

What the heck ARE Executive Functions ANYWAY?

Well, that all depends on who you ask!

While there is certainly a consensus that executive systems are involved in handling situations outside the domains of most of the processes of the body (whether ‘automatic’ or something under our conscious control) – and while there is very little disagreement that executive processes are not controlled by the same processes that produce our emotional reactions –

the exact nature of executive control
is difficult to pin down and articulate.

Until science discovers more about the neuro-chemical, bio-electric  processes underlying brain function, all anybody can really do is attempt to describe them based on how and where they work – or don’t!

Try to describe the elements that combine to allow an orchestra to create beautiful music . . .

 . . . see the problem?

You can’t really say much about it until you know what kind of music the orchestra is trying to make beautiful.

AND . . .

as challenging as it would be to come up with a list of ALL of the kinds of music any orchestra might play . . . it’s not a whole lot easier to agree even upon a set of categories into which all the factors could be be sorted.

So it is with the executive functions . . . which will never stop science from TRYING to categorize! 

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Key Tasks for ADD Coaching


Old headshot of Madelyn (a.k.a. MGH) long familiar from the webADD-Specific Coaching Skills

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the ADD Coaching Series

Ten Key Areas That Need Time & Attention

A Therapist or Doctor may or may not have the time to work with any of these areas.

A “vanilla coach”** may not find these skills important, agree that they are useful — or even understand why they might be an appropriate part of a coaching relationship.

An ADD Coach, however, must be prepared to include a certain amount of work in each of the following arenas — understanding how to use EACH of the ten skills below.  It’s a coach’s job to work with clients to remove “what’s in the way” of shining success.

Back-filling basic skills — insufficient, underdeveloped, or missing as the result of kludgy Executive Functioning –is the most likely suspect in the ADD population, rather than lack of motivation, resolve, ambition or many of the other things-in-the-way that are more common among vanilla clients.
———————
**vanilla = unflavored by ADD – a “vanilla coach” means the coach doesn’t work with ADD/ADHD/EFD clients and/or has not been trained in an ADD/ADHD/EFD-specific, brain-based coach training, regardless of whether they fall on the Attentional Spectrum personally or not.

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