A client suggested Peter Shankman’s Faster Than Normal, and I’m so glad they did. This book is FULL of gems to normalize ADHD traits: the good and the challenging.
I really loved this book’s positive spin Shankman puts on ADHD. Shankman looks at his ADHD as a gift and realizes that gift comes with strings attached.
Most people who know me know I’m very much a rule-follower. Shankman understands that although frustrating, rules can buy freedom.
“Essentially, in order to be truly free, I’d have to make sure I was also my own prisoner in the best way possible. Paradox? Sure. How could I be free if I was a prisoner to rules? But when you’re ADHD, not having rules means that your freedom can cost you everything.”
Here are some of Shankman’s rules (read the book for more detail on the why and how to implement):
- Eliminate choice whenever possible. So true. Remember the jam experiment? Too much choice equals less decision-making. In addition, Forbes says of Einstein: “It has been reported that the famous physicist bought several versions of the same grey suit because he didn’t want to waste brainpower on choosing an outfit each morning.”
- Eat well. I like to consider food as fuel. If I put poor-quality fuel in my car, it doesn’t run as well. If I put high-quality fuel in my car, I get a smoother-running car with higher gas mileage. Our bodies are the same way.
- Sleep well. In a recent study, scientists found that “it looks very much like ADHD and circadian problems are intertwined in the majority of patients.” Researchers stipulate that nearly 75 percent of children and adults with ADHD may also have sleep problems. How important is sleep? Take a few minutes and watch this compelling TED talk, “Sleep Is Your Superpower.” It’s very illuminating.
- Exercise. Any kind of exercise physically and positively alters the chemistry of your brain. According to the Cleveland Clinic, exercise “also promotes neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to form new neural connections and adapt throughout life.” One of the benefits of neuroplasticity is increased memory.
In addition to explaining and giving personal examples of Shankman’s four rules, he also details ADHD triggers, personal productivity tools (including organizing, outsourcing, identifying your power time, his favorite apps, etc.), and navigating important relationships.
Near the end of the book, Shankman highlights one of my favorite quotes that helps put ADHD in perspective:
“Every animal is great in its own way, and every animal has their special gifts. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, you will be very disappointed.” — Albert Einstein
If you are interested in leading a more productive ADHD life, I highly recommend Faster Than Normal. In addition to Shankman being a very approachable writer, his information is priceless. I’ve used many of the book’s stories, tools, and statistics with my clients, creating a much-needed sense of normalcy.
Cindy Jobs, PCAC, ACC
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