The ADHD Identity Crisis

Who are you when who you are changes on a dime? That's the topic of the show today, with a bonus listener question to help you get the most out of online education while living with ADHD!

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Are you a runner? Or are you a person who runs?

Are you a gardener? Or are you a person who mows the lawn?

Figuring out the difference between what we do and who we are is tricky business for all of us as we move through life. With ADHD, the idea of presenting a cogent identity to the world flies out the window. It’s dependent on so many factors — context, focus, weather, anything that can set off our attentional sails in new directions — that all to often the person we see in the mirror is less a function of who we see staring back at us than it is what that person happens to be doing or thinking about at that moment.

This week on the show, we take on this question of identity and offer a way to frame how you want to be seen in the world thanks to the writing of a billionaire. Plus, we take on a question from the community about how to approach online education with ADHD.

Links & Notes

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete: Hello everybody, and welcome to, “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast,” on RashPixel.FM. I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki: Hello everyone. Hello Pete Wright.

Pete: Hello Nikki Kinzer. How are you?

Nikki: I’m doing great. How are you?

Pete: I’m doing very well. It is a fine Monday. It’s a Pete show. So get ready for me to prattle on and possibly on and on and on.

Nikki: Let’s go for it.

Pete: Very excited about that. It’s a spin-off of a conversation that started in our happy hour, our Discord Happy Hour last week. That was one that stuck with me. So I’m excited to talk about this. Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com, you can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email with the latest episode each week.

And of course, you can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at takecontroladhd. And I should add, for those who also are looking for me, I find that you’ll tweet takecontroladhd, and then Nikki will have to retweet and copy me. So if you’re also looking for me, not that you are, there’s no pressure, but I’m @PeteWright. There you go. It’s just out there.

Nikki: There you go. Quick announcement before we get into our question. We have summer group coaching coming up.

Pete: Oh, yeah. Let’s talk about that.

Nikki: Right, yes.

Pete: It’s open. People can register now.

Nikki: Yes, people can register now, it’s opened, and it will start the week of July 8th, and the enrollment deadline is July 1st. And so if you’re interested in doing some summer group coaching, it’s 8 weeks in the summer instead of 10. Then please check out the website, check out the web page about group coaching, and it will give you more information about it.

And one thing that I am doing a little bit different in this summer group that I’ve done in the past is I’m doing a workshop every Thursday, which I’ve done in the past but the workshops have been different topics depending on what we’re talking about, you know, during that week. But this time in the summer, it’s all going to be time management related. So we’re going to start like week one is going to be, you know, how to get started with kind of figuring out where your time is going. And then, week eight is going to be really kind of working that system, that time management system that you need to do to match that to-do list to your calendar and all of that fun stuff that we talk about on the show.

So that might be of an interest to you, and if it is, definitely check it out at takecontroladhd.com.

Pete: Okay. Hey, I got a question. And I’m pirating this question because it is deeply interesting to me. It was from a few days ago from a member of the Patreon community. We’ll talk about that momentarily, but this is part of the question as a listener just wanting to jump into school for an MSW program, and states that, let’s see, “Interested, is on par financially with two state schools that offer online MSWs, but it has the distinction of being a live cohort based program that happens online. I worry about asynchronous programs and the ability to keep at it. Worried it would turn into thesis 2.0, which backstory is not completed. I would have to apply by April 2020 and miss this year’s deadline.”

Given your work with college students, and I’ll say I have some background teaching online, living with ADHD for these cohorts. I thought we might spend a minute or two addressing this particular question about how we work with online education. And I will open the bidding with, it’s really hard. Now you.

Nikki: Well, I guess there’s a couple things I’m unclear about. So is the question like, should I even give this a try? Or like, what am I in for? Like, what are we addressing here?

Pete: Well, I’ll tell you where I’m coming from in my interpretation of this, that it would be a change, it’s not an on-ground program, it’s not an in-person program. It is an online program with cohorts. So you are required to both work with other people and your instructor and find a way to build the structure into your life to account for online learning, and the complexities that come with that because it is different. It’s a different kind of interaction mechanism to your education than you’re accustomed to, and all this is before you even start to engage in the content.

And so I’m curious, do you have any clients who attend school online? I know that hybrid programs are huge right now. So even if you’re going face to face, you’re likely involved in some sort of online.

Nikki: Yeah, absolutely. And I have people that are going to the universities that have classes that are in-person, but then will also have a class that’s online. And I’m also finding that some of the universities are doing sort of a half and half thing, where they may meet like twice during the semester but then everything else is online. So it is definitely a very popular way to teach.

Pete: Yeah. Well, it’s much more affordable and in terms of student success, and I’ll say student success from an administrative perspective, if you’re trying to help students alleviate costs that come with multiple year overages because your schedule can’t account for, you know, a traditional schedule, so you end up being in school for five or six years instead of three or four. Online is the way and hybrid classes is the way that administrations have decided to tackle this at least in the short to medium term.

Because it’s so much more cost effective for them to roll out these smaller class sizes that don’t take up physical plant resources to do it. So you’ve got a kind of first seat, even though it’s hard, it is a way to get you through a little bit faster, right?

Nikki: Right.

Pete: Now, the experience from a student perspective is more complicated, right? And I’m curious how like the kinds of things that you’ve run into, that might help this commenter?

Nikki: Well, when I know if somebody’s taking an online class, the information that I want to know as their coach is, you know, what is the schedule of the class? So is the professor sending out a lecture module every Monday, and then is there…like, a lot of them will have a discussion post that they have to do and, you know, they’ll have like homework assignments that are due at the end of the week.

So the thing that I want to know is like, when is the lecture coming out? What is required? When is that due? And then I try to help the student figure out a routine that they can consistently work with so that they don’t get into the mindset of, “Oh, I’ve got plenty of time to do this. You know, even though the lecture comes out on Monday, I’m not gonna, you know, watch it until Thursday.” Well, it all depends on how many other classes they have. And so I want them to treat it like they would treat a class that they were going to, you know, that was having attendance.

And so, now, with my students, though, they have the luxury of having a coach that’s helping them with that, that’s helping them schedule that, that’s helping them keep on track by check-ins and such. If you don’t have a coach that you’re working with, one of my biggest suggestions then would be to maybe find somebody else that’s in the class with you and like double up… What am I trying to say? Buddy up together.

Pete: Buddy up, yeah.

Nikki: And you know, meet online to do this class together. And so that you have some accountability built in that would help you stay on a regular schedule. Because I think that’s the hardest thing is that it’s just…it’s so flexible.

Pete: One hundred percent agree. And for me, and I’ll speak now from the perspective of, you know, the instructor of these programs, and this is…I’ve taught for years in both undergraduate and graduate programs, and have experience doing this. And I would say that perhaps my approach was a little bit different. I’m very hands-on because I’m really focused on student success.

And my experience early on was that because it’s an online program just dealt with over text, largely, that students…it was really easy for students, especially students who are living with ADHD to offset the responsibility and accountability to the program to other things because it felt like there wasn’t a human on the other side of it, right?

And so for me, I made one on one meetings and group meetings with me on video mandatory as part of participation. And that changed things dramatically. As soon as students recognized that I am a real human being, not a robot instructor, the accountability became a shared resource, it became something that we were doing this together. And we all recognized how hard it was to create a structure.

But, you know, for me, it was life saving for me as a faculty member because my students appreciated that and ended up performing better. They got better grades, they enjoyed the experience. So my advice would be if you’re doing this, reach out and make your relationship with your human instructor or TA’s, whatever, a required video element of the class. Get your own Zoom account set up if they don’t have one set up through school.

Get on there, face to face, a couple of times a class, go to those meetings, if they set up meetings that are, you know, like open hours, office hours online. Do anything you can, multiple times throughout your experience. Transcend text, right? Transcend text and make it a two-way operation. And be very clear about what you want to do with it. Because, you know, these programs are very challenging.

Now, I think that the MSW program and I have not taught or been a part of an MSW program. But my understanding is that there are practicum hours, there are certain responsibilities that require a human interaction somewhere, and you have to go through a certain amount of coursework to get to the other side of that or to make that, you know, ready for you.

So, you know, that can be challenging too, but also a great opportunity to, again, increase the energy between people. That’s the way to succeed in an online program is to try to make it not online as much as you can. Use all the tools that are available to you to lock in those human relationships early and often.

Nikki: Well, and something just to add to his specific kind of comment is, you know, worried that it would turn into thesis 2.0? Well, first of all, I think that you got to think about, you know, what… This is the coach in me, you know, what are the limiting beliefs that you have about this? Because that is definitely a limiting belief right there, is that you’re…you know, the fear is real, no doubt about it, right? That you’re afraid that this is going to be what this is.

So my question is when you are attacking that limiting belief, then what have you learned from this last situation and how can this situation be different for you? So do a little bit of pre-planning, do a little bit of thought, you know, put some thought into it. And, you know, don’t rush into it until you really have thought everything through and know that you can handle it because, you know, the timing might not be right. So we have to really think about, you know, what other areas in your life are going to be sacrificed when you bring this in, because something will be. So that’s what I would have to say about that, is just really think it through.

Pete: Well, and I think that there’s a lot of benefit to the cohort program, right, having a learning team to go through the experience with. I would just say, the same holds with your learning team and your cohort that it does with your instructor. You should go in with table stakes that you and your team are meeting on video with cameras, you know, throughout your program, because that will change the dynamic.

When you are doing the work, you are looking at each other. Even if you’re not sitting around a table, you’re sitting around a table, and that’s hugely important. I would get emails all the time from learning team members who are like, “Well, I’ve lost track of this learning team member, just fell off the map.” So you think that because you have the people there they will offset your ADHD experience. That is not accurate, right?

When you’re living with ADHD, it’s hard every time. So rely on all those things that you have. Reminders, calendar appointments, and force yourself to be dragged into these live meetings. It’ll change the way you experience the learning. So happy to take on any more questions on that either from, you know, if you have questions for me as a faculty member or Nikki as a coach, we’ll be in discord. So just you know, I’d to mention this so that we are there but we’d love to do that and help you be successful.

Anybody who’s looking at this, but thanks for sharing that with the group because it’s tricky, and I know people are thinking about that. It’s summer now, we’re leading into summer people are starting to think about their fall plans. And so I imagine that’s on other’s minds.

Nikki: Oh.

Pete: Yeah.

Nikki: One thing else to mention, every summer class that I am involved in right now, not my summer classes, but the students that I work with who are in summer classes, they are all accelerated. Is that the right word?

Pete: Yeah.

Nikki: Yes. So what would be an 8 week or 10 week course is happening in 4 weeks. So that changes the dynamic of everything. So that’s also something to think about. Look at the length and how quickly they go through the material.

Pete: If this show has ever touched you or helped you make a change in your life for the better, if you’ve ever found that you understand your relationship with ADHD in a new way, we invite you to consider supporting the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener supported podcasting. With a few dollars a month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow the show, to add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. You can start your journey there at patreon.com/theadhdpodcast, to learn more.

I’ve got to say how excited I am about June. I woke up this morning to a new video in the accountability chat room from two of our community members. Melissa and Matt put together a video and they’ve created an accountability group and an accountability challenge for the month of June. It’s the unresolution June. And it’s amazing.

It is amazing that they have come together and that this group continues to come together to support one another. And it all starts with your journey to Patreon, patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Join a community that is as rich and vibrant and supportive as I have ever experienced, and be a part of it. We’d love to see you there, patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Thanks, everybody.

Pete show.

Nikki: Pete show. What are we gonna talk about?

Pete: Oh, Nikki. We’re talking about the ADHD identity crisis. This question has plagued me since our conversation the other day. The big question is, who are you when who you are changes on a dime? Who are you when who you are changes on a dime?

Nikki: That’s not a deep question at all.

Pete: I know. I know. It’s a really hard question to address, and well, let me start at the beginning. So I asked this question to the group that gathered for ADHD Happy Hour last week. That’s a Patreon benefit, you join up at a certain level and you can join us for this Happy Hour, once a month, we get on video on Zoom. And we just, you know, we drink drinks and have fun together.

And so we started having this conversation about…well, it was just an inspirational set of responses around this particular conversation. And it started with a conversation on running. Our fair Melissa has started running and she has given me permission to share her story, she was talking about how it’s hard to run but that she’s enjoying it. And so I asked the question, are you a runner or are you someone who runs?

And I think I said it, and she thought about it. And she actually wrote me later and talked more about it, about this idea of when does it become a part of who you are. And the end was something to the effect of, “Yeah, I guess I am a runner and not just someone who runs. I enjoy it, and it’s fun. And that’s part of my…like it becomes a part of my identity.” Well, that’s really exciting, right? I really like that. I mean, we all have these sorts of journeys, but at what point do we kind of, you know, take them in.

Another participant there was talking about the other direction, right? And I should say, I asked my daughter that same question. And she had a very clear and concise answer. Lives with ADHD, and she said immediately, how long before it becomes part of your identity? Well, however long it takes you to do that thing in front of other people without being embarrassed by it.

Oh, all right.

Nikki: That’s good.

Pete: Well, that’s a good answer for a senior in high school, I like that.

Nikki: Insightful.

Pete: Okay. So we got to talking about how quickly identity can move in the other direction when you are known as this person who does this thing, and suddenly, conditions change. And it might be you have a doctor’s appointment and miss your daily, you know, experience of doing that thing, you miss your daily run, and then the next day because you missed it yesterday, it’s really easy to get distracted by something else and it becomes an unhabit, a habit that’s too easy to break, right?

How long before you are a runner turns into someone who runs, turns into someone who used to run? And that sort of disambiguates, right? So I did a little research.

Nikki: Oh, what did you find?

Pete: You know what, Nikki? It turns out that this question of identity, who we are as a result of what we choose to do and what we are enabled to do, it’s hard for all of us, but it’s significantly magnified by the symptoms of ADHD. That magnify how we present ourselves to those around us from one minute to the next, both consciously and unconsciously.

Nikki: I can see that.

Pete: All right. So let me take a check-in break. How am I doing? Are you tracking with me right now?

Nikki: Yeah, absolutely. I’m getting it.

Pete: All right. If you’re thinking about your own experience with identity and a thing that you’re doing, I know you are doing things that you are trying to work into your life as regular habits, right? Are they part of your identity? Can you give me an example of one that you might be exploring right now?

Nikki: That’s a leading question. Nobody knows that, but it’s a leading question. But you know what? Before I talk about that, I actually do want to give you an example of something that both you and I had to come to terms with, with the identity of this podcast.

Pete: Oh, okay.

Nikki: Because I remember back in…let’s see. When did we switch the name from “Taking Control: The Organizing Podcast” to, “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast?” 2000?

Pete: It was a long time ago. Yeah, I mean, it was like Episode 67 or something like that.

Nikki: No, no, no, it was like in the 200s or 100s, I think.

Pete: Yeah. I think it was the mid 100s. That’s what it feels like.

Nikki: Yeah, mid 100s. But that was definitely an identity issue because I was originally a professional organizer, and you and I did this podcast as an organizing podcast. And I was learning more about ADHD, wanted to go more into coaching. And what I realized is that I didn’t want to be a professional organizer with ADHD expertise, I wanted to be an ADHD coach with organizing expertise. And so when you know that you have to like switch everything around. And that’s when we had…you know, that’s when we rebranded everything.

So that was definitely an identity change of, where do I want to go with my own business and where we wanted to go with the podcast? Now, going back to your original question, yes, I am trying. This is not a part of my identity at all at this point, because it’s only been a couple weeks. But I’m trying to eliminate sugar out of my diet.

Pete: Are you a person who does need sugar right now? Or are you sugar free Nikki?

Nikki: I am a person who’s limiting sugar in their diet.

Pete: That’s all I’m going to get, right? Okay.

Nikki: I’m not sugar free, and I probably never will be, but I’m definitely not eating it the way that I was.

Pete: Well, I would say you might never be sugar free, not because of anything that you’re doing. I mean, it’s just like…

Nikki: Right. There’s sugar in food.

Pete: There’s sugar in everything. But that processed sugar, you can do that.

Nikki: I’m definitely making changes, but the thing is, though, is I’m at the very, very beginning. So when you’re talking about, “Am I a runner or am I running?” I am still like trying to run. Like there is still just a lot. I mean, I’m at the very beginning. And my hope is that it will be a part of my identity.

Pete: Well, your hope and your intention, right?

Nikki: My intention is that.

Pete: That that development is…that your identity development is this is a thing I’m going to become. Like, I’m going to do this, and that’s really important. And it turns out that as an adult with ADHD, that’s hard to do. Jones and Hesse wrote a paper on MEDLINE that’s called “Adolescents With ADHD: Experiences of Having an ADHD Diagnosis and Negotiations of Self-Image and Identity.” And there is a big learning in there.

One, adolescents needs support for identity development, because ADHD complicates self-image. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. But the best time to intervene developmentally is in adolescence, right? The best time to help somebody who’s struggling with figuring out who they are by how they want to present to the world is during this incredibly crucial, you know, age, this sort of adolescent epoch of figuring out who they are. So you intervene then.

But all of those of us who got an ADHD diagnosis later in life, ha, we sort of missed it, like you missed the window. So you get to go through adolescence in this complicated, like, “I don’t know who I am phase,” dealing with all of the issues of ADHD without knowing that you really have ADHD, not having language to determine that. And now you’re having to sort of reintegrate new behaviors later, once you figure out what all this is, it makes it that much harder to do.

And so, I have a few challenges I’d like to run through. Three challenges I’d like to run through here, and hopefully, at least continue to set the stage for ongoing discussion because I don’t have an answer. I don’t claim to have an answer here, but we’ll consider this a thought piece. The first challenge we have here is time, right?

Time only sometimes exists with ADHD. And I’ll go to William Dodson who had this to say, and I really like the way he puts it. “The ADHD world is curvilinear.” That’s a sexy word.

Nikki: That’s a great word.

Pete: Oh, I’m sorry, curvilinear. Go ahead. Take a minute and say it. “The ADHD world is curvilinear. Past…” Oh yeah.

Nikki: Curve… See, I can’t say it very well, curvilinear. There’s nothing sexy about the way I say it. I have a speech problem. So it’s a work…

Pete: It doesn’t matter. This is a word that just exists to be sexy. “The ADHD world is curvilinear. Past, present, and future are never separate and distinct. Everything is now. People with ADHD live in a permanent present and have a hard time learning from the past or looking into the future to see the inescapable consequences of their actions.” This makes me chock up.

Nikki: I’m sorry. Yeah.

Pete: It truly does. It truly does, because that is…I mean, that is as clear and cogent as a description of my experience with time and the struggles that I have with it that I’ve ever had. So the implication of this is that our identity is disastrously contextual, right? Whatever we’re seeing or doing or thinking about, or hyper focusing on, that provides the canvas on which our identity presents. Who you are is dependent not on what you do, but what you’re doing at any given time. That can be so confusing to people who are trying to build a relationship with you.

If somebody walked into my house, you know, at any given moment, they might see me completely hyper focusing on, you know, scanning old CD or album covers and they’ll think that I live with chronic OCD because I’m not able to engage with them in conversation. I’m not able to look at them in the eye. I’m constantly thinking about my scanner, I’m thinking about all these other things besides the relationship. And that defines how I present and their memory of me if they don’t understand my experience with ADHD.

So this idea of my identity being a function of what I’m doing versus what I do or who I am, is…I find that deeply moving, will say. And something I haven’t thought about in that context before.

Nikki: I haven’t either. I haven’t either. It’s a very good point.

Pete: The second challenge that I come to is communication, right? We hear more than anything else with adults with ADHD, they feel like their diagnosis explains a lifetime of frustration and uncertainties. It’s great. It’s all well and good, but at what point in there did you learn to talk about what you’ve been living with? How to clearly and thoughtfully explain your approach to the world in a few sentences without the specific intention to help someone get to know who you are?

And you all know what I’m talking about. We just do it. You just asked me to tell you a little bit about myself, and you know, without great intention, I’m as likely to list my street address and driver’s license number as I am to tell you that I have ADHD and pass out at the sight of needles. Like all this stuff is totally irrelevant, but I have just vomited it up all on everybody anyway, right? You all have your thing. For me, I’ve got a thing with anxiety and I just like to talk about that.

For me, I have a thing about computers, I like to talk about that. Talk about mobile phones, I’ll talk about that all day long. So the context of who I am just depends on what’s in my head, and it takes an enormous amount of effort to focus the skill of communication to stay relevant to the topic at hand. I’ll go back to our fantastic guest who’s the read the room conversation, the whole idea of learning to read the room, that’s what this is, right? It’s building a muscle to be able to stay relevant outside of the context you’re living in at a given moment.

The third challenge is one that, you know, if you’re living with ADHD, especially if you’ve been living with it since you were a child, you’ve likely experienced medication. And so I will preface this by saying I’m not in favor or not in favor of medication, like whatever you’re doing is going to be good for you. Meds can be amazing. Please don’t take this as medical advice. I’m not a doctor and…

Nikki: And you don’t play one on TV.

Pete: I don’t play one on podcasts. Absolutely.

Nikki: Or on podcasts, right?

Pete: But I did digest a number of blog posts as I was searching for this and these are very personal posts of people who are living with ADHD. And the medication is a central premise of identity and ADHD. And I found this really interesting that this all too familiar feeling that medication can be such a stabilizing factor that it can help you present yourself to the world as if you are a person different than you are when you’re not on meds. Think about that, right?

The meds can have such a powerful impact on how you present to the world that in some cases, people have to ask you, who am I talking to? Am I talking to medicated Pete or unmedicated Pete? Generally, they probably don’t have to ask me because you know very clearly, right? But I found that really striking. It’s a fundamental identity crisis. If you are a different person on the meds and off, who do you like better? Who do you get along with better? Who do you communicate with more clearly? Who does the world want to see? Who do you feel like the world wants to see?

It’s like the classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome,” without all the murdering.

Nikki: That’s good. Yeah. Glad you had to put that in there.

Pete: There is significantly less murdering with ADHD as compared to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and we’ll leave that at that. And that’s why…you know, there is a book that I was talking about a long time ago, it’s called “Legion” by Brandon Sanderson. And it’s this wonderful character, it’s fiction. This wonderful character who’s a…you know, he deals with multiple personality disorder. And the way it manifests for him is that, like, he’s the one person, and then he has like 27 different personalities, they have different accents, different skills, and he talks to them as if they’re real people, and he can engage them as a group of people at any given time.

And so, you know, the whole purpose of this book is people hire him to solve crime and things like that. And he engages their services of his personalities to help him, you know, engage in the world. And it’s so clever to the point where he has like cab drivers on call to go pick up the personalities and they’re instructed to just pull up to the fountain and go around it, open the back door for about five seconds and then close it and come home, because he needs to know that those personalities are taken care of.

It is a brilliant sort of assessment of the disorder if you’re into, you know, crime thrillers.

Nikki: Interesting.

Pete: This character is fantastic. I love him, and I finally feel like I get why I love him because he manifests through these like extrasensory personalities, what it feels like in my head when my brain is on a search of things to lock on to. When all of the signal and noise is all like saying, you know, “I want to touch something, I want to listen to something, I want to smell something,” you know, I want to experience something right now and I don’t have enough, so I’m going to lock onto this thing right in front of me. That’s what it kind of feels like to me.

So I’ll wrap up since I know I’m on a roll here. I’m on a roll. Slow down. Slow down Pete.

Nikki: You keep going. Keep going.

Pete: Ray Dalio is a billionaire, American billionaire investor, and hedge fund manager, and he’s probably the last person you would expect me to quote in a podcast about ADHD, but I love so much how he sets aside this beautiful set of principles that completely hit home for me in the context of this conversation. And so with all due respect to Mr. Dalio, I have tweaked it a little bit, you can find his original premise in the book “Principles” and it’s great.

So number one, decide what you want. Number one, okay, simple statement, decide what you want. Number two, evaluate what is true in the world. Number three, determine what you should do to achieve number one in light of number two, and then do that with humility and open mindedness so that you consider the best thinking available to you at the time. Okay, so Ray’s not talking about ADHD here, and yet this checks all my boxes.

It’s time based, it demands an evaluation of current conditions, and it calls on all the creativity and will and determination and good nature and all of the things that we know comes as sexy, sexy baggage with ADHD. Do you want to be a runner? Number one. Are you able and healthy enough to train to be a runner? Number two. Do you have the time and will to build the physical and training habits it will take for you to become successful as a runner? Number three. Those three conditions are met. You’re a runner, right?

Nikki: Right.

Pete: I love it.

Nikki: I do too.

Pete: I’ve sort of buried Dalio’s biggest lesson and it’s not his alone, but it’s…of all of this stuff this one stopped me, right? It puts me in vapor lock when I think about this. “Evolution,” he says, “Is the single greatest force in the universe. It is the only thing that is permanent and it drives everything. Evolve, or die.” And no, I don’t think that if you don’t successfully become a runner that you’re dead, but I think it’s important to provide some perspective, right? We are always changing. We can’t not change. No one’s identity is static as a result of that, even those without ADHD.

The beauty of our existence is that our identity changes more quickly. We can use that to explore new paths, to test new ideas, to learn many, many new things and to wear all the hats. People wear all the hats because ADHD heads are simply massive. And with that, I rest my case.

Nikki: I love it. And one thing I want to add that I think is great, too, is that, you know, it’s talking about…going back to the running idea. You’re saying, no, I don’t think he’s saying that if you don’t…or don’t successfully become a runner, you’re dead. But I think we have to look at the definition of what that means to us as being a runner. You don’t have to run a marathon to be a runner, right? I mean, and you don’t have to run, you can run and walk and still be a runner.

And so I love that. The success part, I think is defined by how you see it and what works for you and what you’re proud of.

Pete: Well, and that’s why I think that number two is so important, right? Evaluate what is true. What are the current conditions of the world because you don’t have to write a novel to be a writer, you don’t have to, you know, produce a front page podcast to be a podcaster, right? You don’t have to do any of those things in order to accomplish the reality that you set, you know, that fills your conditions.

Nikki: That you want.

Pete: Yeah.

Nikki: That you want. Yeah. This is great, Pete.

Pete: Yeah. Huge, huge, huge.

Nikki: I’m not sugar free. I never will be, but I do limit my sugar.

Pete: Yes, you’re a sugar limiter.

Nikki: I’m a sugar limiter.

Pete: So sometimes the things in your identity might sound really weird, but they’re your really weird things.

Nikki: But they’re my weird.

Pete: That’s right. Thank you, everybody, for indulging me. Thank you, Nikki, for the stage as always for my little Pete rants, I sure appreciate it. Appreciate all of you for downloading and listening to this podcast. I hope it hits home for somebody, somebody, just one person.

Nikki: It hit home for me.

Pete: There you go. Well, see. I’m a hit homer…

Nikki: You are. Home run, whoo-hoo.

Pete: We appreciate your time and your attention everybody. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll catch you next week right here on, “Taking control: The ADHD Podcast.”

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.