Thursday, August 09, 2007

Temporary ADD

It’s so easy for me to lose focus on something entirely when I get frustrated or just plain bored about it. Then there are other times where I obsess about a particular thing- like choosing a template for my website or finding the right codes to insert into my html, that I literally spend hours trying to figure it all out. I’ve been told that I may have OCD or ADD or some other disorder that makes me too extreme one way or the other. (With OCD, I become a clean freak- not the type where I check the doors a million times to see if they’re locked…)
My problem isn’t ADD---it has everything to do with something that interests me. People say, “Oh she can’t focus on something for too long.” Well, make it interesting or challenging for me. If something doesn’t challenge me, I simply become disinterested fast. Even when I first started dating- I needed the chase- I needed the “challenge”. If it came too easily, I wasn’t interested anymore. If the person didn’t stimulate me intellectually, I was looking out the window while she spoke about everything and anything. She didn’t even have to be “an intellectual”, but she needed to have strong beliefs or opinions of her own and not agree with every single word that came out of my mouth. I needed a conversation, not someone who “yessed” me to death. (Is that even a word?)Even in school, I wasn’t interested. The teachers didn’t challenge me. Their monotone voices turned me into a complete zombie. All I heard was, “Blah blah blah blah blah.” ...You know why? Because they weren’t even interested in it themselves to begin with. Then, you have those amazing teachers who are completely enthralled in what they’re talking about. They become nearly animated when giving a lecture. That makes a class interesting- when a teacher loves the subject they’re teaching. It makes all the difference. I’ve failed school, because my teachers showed a lack of interest in what they were talking about, and I lost interest too, becoming distant and eventually cutting out of their classes out of pure boredom. Then there was a time I was totally gaga over my art teacher. She made it interesting, of course, but I failed her class intentionally for two years. (I’m an artist too!) Sometimes being too much of an interesting teacher can be a bad thing.

So what does it take to draw someone’s complete attention? What can you do to draw someone in? The best way is to find out more about “them”. Ask questions. Ask them about their life and ask, “closed probe questions”---as opposed to open probed ones. If you really want to know something about someone, it’s best to inquire about it; instead of letting them pick the topic, leaving you with that glazed look in your eyes. (This only applies to people like me where I lose attention fast.)
Did you ever hear the phrase “nervous chatter”? It’s complete blabber about nothingness due to silence. It makes both parties nervous. One party feels obligated to knock the silence out by talking about their cat Fluffy or discussing the flowers in their garden, while the other one becomes completely withdrawn and disinterested. Take a moment and stop them in their tracks. Ask them a question about their family or---be brave and ask a personal question. Everyone loves being asked a personal question. I don’t care if someone says, “Oh, you shouldn’t ask that!” ----Everyone loves a good juicy conversation about a taboo subject. It always intrigues people.

I guess I can self-diagnose myself as having “selective ADD”. When you find yourself saying “yes” to, “Would you like red or white wine”, you know your mind has just shut down. I try my best to be polite, but sometimes you can just see the boredom oozing out from my entire being. I try to engage in conversations that are less than appealing to me, but you can definitely tell there’s a twinge of agony going on behind my smile.

What are the things that make you develop temporary ADD?

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