I’m currently watching the second season of “You”. In it there is a creative who isn’t creating which ties into the post from the day before. We know him in the series as Forty. But there’s a scene where Forty tries to pitch an idea at a party and is shut down hard by a person who is probably tired of his bullshit. She tells him straight-up that he doesn’t have the “it”. The “it” being a mix of talent and work ethic. The woman could have hit me over thr head with a hammer.
Most creatives have the talent. That’s undoubtedly sure. So the only reason why we’re not making a bigger impact on the world is because when it comes to the work ethic part of creativity that’s where 99% of us are lacking. That’s perhaps why the world doesn’t take us seriously enough.
Forty in the series “You” is basically your typical annoying, privileged white man child. He doesn’t do anything really and constantly talks about what he is about to do without actually doing anything at all. He once made a short film that won one award, was the talk of the Town for a while and then faded to obscurity. He still thinks he’s the next big thing but he’s missed his shot. And he’s the white privilege rep of us. We’re all missing our shots within this industry most of the time and taking shots that aren’t worth it at the end of the day.
A professor who specializes in ADHD and has it himself has conducted research that suggests that it’s possible that over sixty percent of people who start businesses have signs of ADHD in America. I can’t help but wonder what information would be found out if the same study was done about creatives.
One of the strongest symptoms of ADHD is executive dysfunction which usually manifests as not being able to finish what you started or often times not being able to start at all. I won’t go into the technical aspects of executive dysfunction but when you realise how it affects someone’s life, it can fit into the description of why most creatives don’t have “it”. Well the work aspect part of “it” , but most creatives don’t claim to have a lack of work ethic but just can’t seem to get themselves together enough to turn their ideas into something real.
Why I think that the creatives lack of results is not laziness is because creatives often talk about inability to get things done. But the same creatives when they’re in a work situation can manage to complete the task set for them. Executive dysfunction can make completing vague tasks difficult but things with set structures are easier to follow. But the issue with those kind of jobs is that they can be boring to people with ADHD and boredom is completely unbearable or should I say impossible. Which accounts for why people with ADHD often don’t stay at one job for a long time or get fired often. In our defense, we have a very low threshold for bullshit which is a recipe for not staying in most jobs for long. But it’s a trait many creatives have so maybe some tips on how to deal with executive dysfunction might help.
And here’s what I do to deal with executive dysfunction. One, I remember how shitty it is to work for other people and how disrespectful bosses are to workers in third world countries. When I think of that it stimulates my brain enough to take the first step into action. That first step is often the hardest when you have no set structure such as a creative career or business. But I’ve been through some real shit working for other people and I have a sense of pride. I’m reminded that if I do not follow my creative career I’m stuck with bullshit from other people. The pain I associate with that often jump-starts me.
The other block of executive dysfunction is completing what you’ve started. And in order to do that…I’m actually still working on trying to overcome that but what’s been working so far is being around and sharing with trustworthy people and close friends. If you’ve read my blog you know that after a “certain incidence” I have major trust issues when sharing ideas, but I’ve also been making a very concentrated effort to assess people before I work with them and thank God that He’s been leading me to people that have much better intentions lately who build people rather than break them.
Because I constantly get into funks due to ADHD, I know a little bit about how to get out of them. Besides getting accountability from trustworthy people another thing that helps is getting into a new environment. It suddenly gets the gears shifting from “non-productive” to “productive” in my brain.
The reality of the matter though is that mental health and productivity are different for everyone and what works for me (or works-ish) for me doesn’t work for everyone. But maybe this might get us all a little closer to “it”.