We're now into week 2 of ADHD Awareness Month, where this year's theme is 'Knowing Is Better'.
Over the course of the month, I'll be sharing my thoughts about the importance of knowing not only whether a specific individual has ADHD, but also the ways in which their unique brain wiring is influencing their thoughts and behaviours.
Once armed with this knowledge, a person with ADHD is able to identify their own traits, habits, strengths and weaknesses and start to build strategies to overcome the obstacles that are standing between them and reaching their life goals.
One incredible example of this is best-selling writer and Fortune 500 PR & Marketing guru Peter Shankman. Diagnosed with ADHD in his mid-30s, Shankman came to understand the ways that his brain worked differently from other people's and realised that, rather than conform to societal norms, he would only find success and fulfillment if he adapted his entire life to match his unique brain-wiring.
I've been aware of Peter Shankman's techniques for a couple of years now, since hearing him interviewed by my teacher and mentor Caroline Maguire on Attention Talk Radio.
His life has been peppered with moments of self-understanding that have led to interesting and sometimes unusual adjustments in behaviour and lifestyle - the one that stands out for me being the time he booked himself onto a 14-hour flight halfway across the world because he realised that being 30,000 feet up in the air was the only way he could ensure that no-one would distract him and stop him from meeting his deadlines for writing his first book!
As extreme as that story is, it has always inspired me to continue to try to find ways of doing things that work for me, and my brain, and not to worry about whether everyone else was doing things differently.
Looking back on my earlier life, it makes me smile most when I think of the adjustments I made to suit my own brain wiring, before I actually knew I had ADHD.
Like the time I moved in with my grandmother for 3 weeks to be able to focus on my university exams, away from the debilitating distractions of life in the student house I shared with 5 friends. Or the day I stopped getting annoyed with myself after repeatedly locking my keys in my car and solved the problem in an instant by wearing my spare car key on a piece of string around my wrist!
These solutions may have raised a few eyebrows at the time but, for me, they worked, and that is really all that matters. As Peter Shankman says, the changes he makes in his life are "less about rationalizing his 'condition' to others and more about fostering his personal achievement". I like that.
You can read more about the way that Peter Shankman has custom-designed his life, including his strict daily routine that begins at 3.45am, in this fascinating interview that he gave last week to Business Insider. And if you enjoy what you read, I'd also recommend reading this interview from August of this year in Psychology Today, as well as this article, and many others, from his personal website.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on Peter Shankman's unique approach to life in the comments.
And have you ever learned something about your own unique brain-wiring and then used it to adapt your behaviours and improve your productivity? Please share your experiences and insights with us all!