Research has shown, ad nauseum, that human beings designed with the ADHD energy will perform inconsistently on various working memory tests. A primary inconsistency weaponized against ADHDers measures their response times and/or reaction times. With this type of research, the test defined with what each human being should be consistently harmonizing.
Yet, how do response/reaction times become an external standard/expectation? Stated simply, they do so because the majority of human beings’ response/reaction times will vary minimally on working memory tests. The majority becomes normal, and normal becomes the standard/expectation. Unfortunately, the standard/expectation becomes the rule, which, in turn, rules righteousness.
Let’s tell a different story. When my daughter, Lindsay, was four years-old and learning to ride a bike, she declared “I follow my own rules, not yours” in response to my rule stating “you need to wear a helmet anytime you’re on your bike.” Instead of reacting to her declaration, I offered Lindsay a slow-motion reenactment of my head hitting the concrete sidewalk outside of our house. Her eyes got big and brian lit up as she stated, “oh, it’s about me not getting hurt; I like my head!”
Wearing a helmet became consistent with Lindsay’s internal standards. External consistency is motivated to follow rules, standards, and/or expectations derived from parents, teachers, authorities, cultural conventions, etc. Lindsay could follow the external rule related to helmet wearing once she understood the reason the rule existed and that the rule was consistent with her internal beliefs/attitudes.
Let’s pause as we acknowledge the cross roads we’re facing as we discuss internal consistency for the ADHD energy. We have a Choice. Digesting internal consistency and its ripple effects throughout the human system will leave you feeling dizzy, disoriented, and nauseated. Yet, the Choice will remain. One choice is the same one we’ve made for years, which is the belief that the ADHD energy is inconsistent. Furthermore, that choice entraps the ADHD energy into pathology, disability, and, at worst, as a garden-variety character flaw. The other option is to see it through the lens of neuroscience, natural selection, polymorphism and as a structural minority difference.
(For Matrix Trilogy fans, the Choice between the red pill and blue pill was a Choice toward understanding. Neo chose to understand and see more fully when he ingested the red pill. Neo’s experience of being “freed” was disorienting and highly uncomfortable. Neo survived first, understood second, and transcended last.)
Consistency entails the feeling of being in harmony with one’s Environment. As such, human beings struggle when they can’t/don’t move toward consistency. Another defining quality of consistency entails a “firmness of matter.” As we consider “firmness,” human beings run into a different barrier. We become too rigid with standards and expectations. As a result of the rigidity, human beings may force these standards on Self and its Environment. Most of the time, ADHDers become highly critical of and punish Self unrelentlessly regarding the firm standards. Oftentime, the unrelenting Self-punishment leads to burn-out, Self-destruction, and/or destruction in its Environment.
Differently, the idea of slowing down seems to resonate with ADHDers as an alternative to burn-out as long as it doesn’t remind them of the authorities and systems telling them to “calm down.” Slow-motion instant replay provides a wonderful example of how slowing down helps us find wiggle room. While watching a particular movement through slow motion, we’ll see something we didn’t detect while watching the movement at regular speed.
Paradoxically, the intentional mindfulness practice of slowing down (along with zooming out) lessens the variability in ADHDers’ response/reaction times on working memory tests. Furthermore, accuracy improves on those same tests. While zooming-out adds variables, slowing down consolidates and prioritizes the variables that matter to the ADHDer. Slowing down can be awe-inspiring; certainly, slowing down is more revealing.