Have you ever thought about why you think the way you do? Or why you are or are not impulsive?
I’ve found that I am hyper focused on new projects but once a project moves into general maintenance and repetitive mode, I prefer to move on to something new. This has served me well on high-stress proposals with 30 day turnarounds and new problems arising every other hour. When it comes to the mundane tasks, I’ve often wished I could be more methodical. I assumed these were personal traits (or deficiencies) that I just had to work harder to solve.
As shown in Daniel Amen, M.D.’s book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, it turns out there’s a lot of research out there that how our brains think (and where in the brain they do this thinking) greatly determines the outward expression of many traits. And by understanding how my brain thinks, I can more effectively change my behaviors than just setting another New Years resolution to be more organized.
It turns out I have many traits in common with people with overactive Pre-Frontal Cortexes. And that this disposition is genetic. In laymen terms, I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD but my dad has so I don’t know if it’s nurture or nature but I’ve got a busy Pre-Frontal Cortex. In addition, with the information overload of today’s society, a lot more people are exhibiting signs of an overactive Pre-Frontal Cortex (easily distracted, problems focusing on one activity, an over-dependence on “multi-tasking”). This doesn’t mean we should all run out to CVS for ridalin, but instead, that we can follow the recommendations the book has on overcoming the major symptoms of ADHD to make effective behavioral change, or essentially, become more productive and focused in all areas of our lives.
By going into why we think the way we do, we can identify traits and design specific solutions to improve our performance even more. For example, I now understand that my strengths lie in leading and shaping new projects, so rather than torturing myself with the minutiae, I now delegate those tasks to the people I manage. This has been especially beneficial when I took the time to evaluate which of my people were detail oriented and actually enjoyed the mind-numbing (for me) projects. I now have more time for developing business and innovative solutions.
Additionally, the book goes into a lot of other ways of thinking and gives great recommendations on how to be a better person. I’m not saying you have a problem or a disorder but wouldn’t it be cool if you could at least notice things about the way your own brain works. Even if you believe you’re completely normal it can at least help you notice reactions you currently have that may be more brain related than you knew.