Intention Deficit Disorder
Among the increasing numbers of kids and teens being diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, many of us have friends in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s being similarly diagnosed.
What we don’t talk about, though, is that nearly all of us have Intention Deficit Disorder*.
We’re mostly living our lives from default intentions. Intentions like:
Avoid looking bad
Avoid negative attention
Avoid being taken advantage of
Avoid getting hurt
Avoid being controlled
Be a good guy or gal
Make it through…the meeting, the morning, the day, the week, the year
These are intentions we’ve Inherited from family and culture or they’re intentions coded into our DNA, like the intention to survive and the intention to reproduce.
A teacher does not teach a class without having specific objectives to cover. That same teacher, however, will drive home and live out a default intention of defensiveness with his own family.
When we’re living our lives from these default intentions, we’re living a default life.
Especially in the areas of life that matter most to us, we are not being nearly as intentional as we can be, and this has real consequences for us and the people in our lives.
When we’re faced with challenges in relationships, motivation, effectiveness, and happiness, there’s nearly always an Intention Deficit Disorder at play.
Intentions are the link between how we’re showing up and how we’d love to show up.
This message is so simple, but we allow our amygdala and mental conditioning to toss our intentionality out the window at the first sign of a "threat" (the vast majority of "threats" we experience are illusions made up by our safety-seeking brain).
The good news is that if living from default intentions means we’re living a default life, then living from created intentions means we’re living a created life.
"Build a life, don't try to make a living."
Steve Chandler in Reinventing Yourself.
For example, as I've been more and more intentional to be unconditionally loving in my life, I've uncovered layers of growth available in my ability to love and support my wife and kids. I thought I had those relationships in life "handled," but my commitment has shown me how in so many ways I live default intentions that result in selfishness, judgment, and criticism. After the initial feeling of shame about it, I get back to work living my created intention of being unconditionally loving, and that then becomes the life I get to live.
Here are two aspects to living a created and intentional life:
Be intentional in all things by creating specific intentions for your commitments and activities.
Be intentional in how you show up by directing your thinking, actions, and being towards fulfilling your created intentions.
My favorite definition of integrity: aligning our intentions with our commitments.
While ADHD may be a neurobiological 'disorder,' Intention Deficit Disorder isn't - this 'disorder' is a matter of creativity, willingness, and intentionality.
Thanks so much for engaging with my work. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational coach, I help people move beyond their self-imposed limitations to live their best lives and feel amazing. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you, reach out and let’s talk. 💌
* I'm borrowing "Intention Deficit Disorder" from a chapter title in Steve Chandler's book, Reinventing Yourself. Steve's chapter is specifically about the negative impact of the resentment-inducing use of "should" and its synonyms.