People are creative whether they know it or not. 

Creativity is unleashed by a willingness to make or do something despite prior knowledge of how difficult it might be. 

That’s because when you stop fixating on your prior learning of how something ‘should’ be done, your mind can unlock to free-associate and come up with new strategies and possibilities. 

People with ADHD are great at this, as many are naturally divergent thinkers.

As for self-identified creatives, not all have ADHD…but it doesn’t (have to) hurt 🙂

Creatives and people with ADHD also become fixated on perceived limitations due to prior knowledge or experience. In fact, their minds can fixate ten times more powerfully and in greater catastrophic variation as their ‘neurotypical’ counterparts. 

But here’s the good news: If you know this about yourself, then you can find ways to disrupt negative rumination right in the middle.  Getting off that train of thought then frees you to find connection and do some solution-focused brainstorming.

For example, most of my clients say they hate structure. What they rightly despise is the wrong structure. The organizational processes of ‘neuro-normative’ people often look very different from those of creatives, with or without ADHD. And yet we’ve been taught that one size fits all: make a schedule, create a ‘to-do’ list, use a file cabinet.

I have been amazed and inspired by what my clients come up with in terms of task tracking and goal fulfillment once they jettison their fixation on what they think a structure is. 

Once he overcame his all-or-nothing thinking (ie work out four days a week or you’ve failed), Steve started breaking goals down by different levels of completion he deemed ‘good/better/best’ on a google sheet and tracked his progress accordingly.  

Anna created color-coded cubbies containing tools and totem reminders mounted on a wall. She bought herself tiny figurines and prizes upon completion of each stage of a project. This resulted in several completed works of art and a job as a textile designer.

If you’ve ‘failed’ at maintaining a system or structure and that failure caused you to abandon an important goal, see what you can come up with when you flip that thinking and realize it was the system or structure that failed you.

I’d love to hear what you come up with in the comments below.