View Full Version : ADHD and Willpower


Wackykay9
02-14-17, 10:06 AM
Here is a blog post I wrote recently. I really want people's feedback to make it truly excellent. so please feel free to critique it as need be.

Willpower and ADHD: 2 Ways to Control Your Energy


While in college, I came across a book called Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Ray Baumeister. Out of the many insights within the book, two main concepts stand out: Your willpower is limited, and you can control it.
At first, I thought no way. I was told our willpower is unlimited and everyone had different levels. Like many nuggets of conventional wisdom, some pieces were true, while others were not. I was hooked. My attention was gripped in a way I had only dreamed of. Growing up with ADHD meant I heard phrases such as ďyou canít concentrate long enough to be successfulĒ and ďhe canít concentrate on anything important.Ē Words and phrases like those can really suck the life and vigor out of your hopes and dreams. Will Baumeisterís book, I finally had a piece of evidence contradicting those limiting beliefs.

Your Willpower is Limited

There is only so much we can accomplish in a day. Baumeister says human beings are cognitive misers. What this means is we hold tightly onto our energy and only want to use it on activities, people, and actions that we want to do. Everything in our day takes energy from us and tasks we donít want to do take more energy than others. This means our obligations drain us at an ever increasing rate. In a world where there is so much noise between the media, our work lives, and the ideas of a prosperous life it stands to reason why human beings feel sluggish, unmotivated, and often frantic for stimulation. We spend long hours at work doing tasks we typically we donít want to do for people we typically donít want to spend time with. When we finally get time to ourselves even the tasks we want to do feel draining. Heck, even the thought of doing one more task sucks energy and life away. However, when this resource is tapped into we see incredible effects. Our productivity increases dramatically, relationships become revitalizing, and authentic empowerment. How can we tap into this resource to take back what drives us?

Taking Control of Your Willpower
Think of your willpower as a muscle. Every time you push it just beyond what it can handle, it grows. Also, the less you use it the faster it deteriorates. The last thing we want as cognitive misers is to lose the reserves of energy we worked to obtain. Baumeister has several action steps, but I only want to focus on 2 key action steps you can do today to strengthen your willpower.
Glucose is Your Best Friend
Baumeister says your brain runs on glucose. This fuel source is made up of tiny sugars that ignite the brain and allow it to continue focus for hours on end. Eating a candy bar has high amounts of glucose. However, the spike drops off fast and then willpower depletes even faster. Baumeister recommends eating foods that induce a slow burn over the course of a day. Fruits and leafy greens are one of the best ways to get a boost of glucose. Apples, bananas, spinach, or any dark leafy green vegetable have large amounts of glucose, but also burn slowly throughout the day for prolonged energy. If you work a traditional 9-5 job taking breaks at 10:00am and 2:00pm are good times for a brief boost in willpower. Even just a serving or two can boost your willpower results significantly over a two week period of time.
Power Scheduling
Starting today you can begin power scheduling. The brain craves a balance of structure and serendipity. However, human beings have issues structuring themselves for success. We tend to ready, fire, and aim instead of planning to win. Even if youíre screaming in the back of the head ďwhat? Planning who has time for that?Ē Trust me, this will benefit you. Baumeister says even thinking about a task rapidly depletes your energy. A great way to mitigate this problem is with power scheduling. Put simply, this means work when you have the best energy peaks. For people with traditional 9-5 jobs, booking the first two hours of the day for your toughest tasks will help tremendously. I used this technique for my project management job, and the result was incredible. I typically worked from 7:00am-3:30 pm. By deliberately scheduling the hardest projects on the front end of the day I knew I had the energy to take on the rest of the day. It also helped me prepare for presentations and meetings by giving me a focused two hours of uninterrupted focus. The best part about this technique, you can begin this today by looking at your week, your least favorite task, and then cementing that in for tomorrowís first project.
Of course, there is much more material the book covers on training your willpower. I would highly recommend the book for further details regarding the action steps above. I think everyone owes it to themselves to manage the precious energy they have in their day. If nothing else, try the two simplest steps in the book first. You will be amazed with not only the results, but how simple it is to get more energy back in your life.

Johnny Slick
02-14-17, 01:54 PM
Yeah, the willpower thing is a bit of a weird concept because I think people just think that if you are strong willed you're just strong willed on everything when in fact you do kind of use up your willpower like hit points in DnD to the extent that if you have to expend a lot of it at work you probably won't have much reserve left to keep yourself from eating poorly or avoiding acting catty with your SO and so on.

You *can* build up willpower over time too. On the other hand I feel like one of the many challenges that face those of us with ADHD is that our reserves are maybe not quite as high in the first place (or, perhaps more accurately, we have to spend it doing things that other people don't have to spend it on).

sarahsweets
02-14-17, 02:38 PM
My plain opinion:
Willpower is a myth.

Fraser_0762
02-14-17, 02:48 PM
Building up willpower takes up far too much energy. You're better off applying that energy into something productive. :)

dvdnvwls
02-14-17, 04:32 PM
Willpower is not the problem in ADHD.

Willpower does not cause action, it only inspires the person to want to act.

I have excellent willpower and no problem controlling it. I still don't act.

Fraser_0762
02-14-17, 04:34 PM
Willpower is not the problem in ADHD.

Willpower does not cause action, it only inspires the person to want to act.

I have excellent willpower and no problem controlling it. I still don't act.

This.

You can turn the key in the car ignition as many times as you want. But you ain't getting anywhere without any fuel in the tank.

Wackykay9
02-14-17, 04:53 PM
Hello everyone!
Thanks for the responses and the comments! When I was looking through them I saw many comments on the concept of willpower. I am sure we could all go back and forth on the evidence on its existence or lack thereof, but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to make the blog post better?
Did you find it engaging, yes or no? if not, why? Questions like those. I want to give you all the quality I can and with your feedback I think we can.

dvdnvwls
02-14-17, 05:00 PM
In relation to ADHD, or just in general?

If the blog is about ADHD, then either the whole post needs to be thrown out, or it needs a "Part 2" explaining how all the stuff in Part 1 isn't really relevant for ADHD, and talking about our completely different experience of having lots of well-controlled willpower and still no results.

Little Missy
02-14-17, 05:06 PM
Well, I positively KNOW I have no willpower. My dad proved it with the tickle your feet for a dollar test. :lol:

I failed when I was about 4. No coming back now.

Wackykay9
02-14-17, 07:04 PM
In relation to ADHD, or just in general?

If the blog is about ADHD, then either the whole post needs to be thrown out, or it needs a "Part 2" explaining how all the stuff in Part 1 isn't really relevant for ADHD, and talking about our completely different experience of having lots of well-controlled willpower and still no results.
Mostly in relation to ADHD. I am trying to write personal development blogs for people with ADHD. Honestly, thanks for saying it might need to be thrown out. could you please go into detail why the stuff in part 1 is not really relevant for people with ADHD? I want to dig a little deeper to make this better.

Wackykay9
02-14-17, 07:06 PM
Well, I positively KNOW I have no willpower. My dad proved it with the tickle your feet for a dollar test. :lol:

I failed when I was about 4. No coming back now.

Are you sure you can't come back from that?

Johnny Slick
02-14-17, 08:26 PM
Are you sure you can't come back from that?I think she's being funny. Little Missy is one of the most willful people on these boards.

BellaVita
02-14-17, 09:26 PM
I can tell you spent time and effort to write that blog post. I think the writing sounds nice. And it is formatted nicely. :)

You definitely have writing skill.

With that said, I am failing to see what this has to do with ADHD.

It sounds positive and encouraging, but I actually think it would give those with ADHD who haven't sought treatment yet a sense of false hope.

Even those who do have treatment, I just don't see how the OP applies to those with ADHD.

One part in particular, I disagree with:
Think of your willpower as a muscle. Every time you push it just beyond what it can handle, it grows. Also, the less you use it the faster it deteriorates.

I don't even know what willpower actually is. Is it that feeling inside you that makes you want to push and get something done? The strong desire to do something? Unfortunately those with ADHD can have all the willpower in the world, but lack the executive functioning to put that willpower into action.

I think if a non-ADHD partner found this blog post and decided to read it to their ADHD partner, it might put a strain on the relationship because the non-ADHD partner would think that the ADHD partner has a way to be "fixed".

But we can't think ourselves into getting better. That's why stimulant medication is first line treatment for ADHD.

Because we can have loads of willpower, but it will get us nowhere if we don't have an improvement in our executive functioning.

sarahsweets
02-15-17, 04:57 AM
I can tell you spent time and effort to write that blog post. I think the writing sounds nice. And it is formatted nicely. :)

You definitely have writing skill.

With that said, I am failing to see what this has to do with ADHD.

It sounds positive and encouraging, but I actually think it would give those with ADHD who haven't sought treatment yet a sense of false hope.

Even those who do have treatment, I just don't see how the OP applies to those with ADHD.

One part in particular, I disagree with:


I don't even know what willpower actually is. Is it that feeling inside you that makes you want to push and get something done? The strong desire to do something? Unfortunately those with ADHD can have all the willpower in the world, but lack the executive functioning to put that willpower into action.

I think if a non-ADHD partner found this blog post and decided to read it to their ADHD partner, it might put a strain on the relationship because the non-ADHD partner would think that the ADHD partner has a way to be "fixed".

But we can't think ourselves into getting better. That's why stimulant medication is first line treatment for ADHD.

Because we can have loads of willpower, but it will get us nowhere if we don't have an improvement in our executive functioning.

This is excellent and I agree. I think trying to use what you wrote to aid those with adhd might actually alienate people with adhd and their loved ones.

Wackykay9
02-15-17, 10:56 AM
This is excellent and I agree. I think trying to use what you wrote to aid those with adhd might actually alienate people with adhd and their loved ones.

This is excellent feedback. How do you feel this post alienates people with ADHD from their loved ones? Please dig into it. I want my writing to reflect the needs of people with ADHD and provide solutions in many different ways. If my current writing style alienates people from solutions, I definitely want to try something different.

Wackykay9
02-15-17, 11:02 AM
I can tell you spent time and effort to write that blog post. I think the writing sounds nice. And it is formatted nicely. :)

You definitely have writing skill.

With that said, I am failing to see what this has to do with ADHD.

It sounds positive and encouraging, but I actually think it would give those with ADHD who haven't sought treatment yet a sense of false hope.

Even those who do have treatment, I just don't see how the OP applies to those with ADHD.

One part in particular, I disagree with:


I don't even know what willpower actually is. Is it that feeling inside you that makes you want to push and get something done? The strong desire to do something? Unfortunately those with ADHD can have all the willpower in the world, but lack the executive functioning to put that willpower into action.

I think if a non-ADHD partner found this blog post and decided to read it to their ADHD partner, it might put a strain on the relationship because the non-ADHD partner would think that the ADHD partner has a way to be "fixed".

But we can't think ourselves into getting better. That's why stimulant medication is first line treatment for ADHD.

Because we can have loads of willpower, but it will get us nowhere if we don't have an improvement in our executive functioning.


Thanks for the critique. I actually like it when people disagree with me especially in an article with an intention to help. In essence, you are correct that willpower is the feeling inside that pushes us to get something done. It's a bit more complicated than that depending on which expert you talk to. So if I am correct, you think post actually hurts more than it helps? If so, why do you think this would alienate? I am curious because that's not a consequence I intended on, and if i want to create content that aids in solving problems, then I need the feedback.

Lunacie
02-15-17, 11:55 AM
This is excellent feedback. How do you feel this post alienates people with ADHD from their loved ones? Please dig into it. I want my writing to reflect the needs of people with ADHD and provide solutions in many different ways. If my current writing style alienates people from solutions, I definitely want to try something different.

I don't think your writing style is the problem.

Willpower is not the problem either.

The problem is that those with ADHD have trouble with executive functions,
like long term planning or follow through.

We can make wonderful resolutions or plans, but something in the brain
wiring trips us up and interferes with smooth follow through.

sarahsweets
02-15-17, 02:01 PM
This is excellent feedback. How do you feel this post alienates people with ADHD from their loved ones?
Well, for one thing, the way you describe willpower is more of an opinion than fact. I am not saying its bad, but adhd people have been told our whole lives that if we tried harder, worked harder, sucked it up, buckled down, had more willpower- that we would be able to overcome our disorder. Reading your blog, it seems like you are insinuating that a person can create, improve or overcome willpower. With an adhd person its not like exercising a muscle-its like trying to exercise without a muscle at all. If a non-adhd spouse or partner read this, I can see how they would slap it down in front of their adhd spouse and triumphantly declare that the adhd person needs to work harder at building up their will power muscle- and totally avoid making any changes in themselves, or offering any sort of compromise for the affected person.

Wackykay9
02-15-17, 03:36 PM
Well, for one thing, the way you describe willpower is more of an opinion than fact. I am not saying its bad, but adhd people have been told our whole lives that if we tried harder, worked harder, sucked it up, buckled down, had more willpower- that we would be able to overcome our disorder. Reading your blog, it seems like you are insinuating that a person can create, improve or overcome willpower. With an adhd person its not like exercising a muscle-its like trying to exercise without a muscle at all. If a non-adhd spouse or partner read this, I can see how they would slap it down in front of their adhd spouse and triumphantly declare that the adhd person needs to work harder at building up their will power muscle- and totally avoid making any changes in themselves, or offering any sort of compromise for the affected person.

Fair enough. I can see your point. So it seems my writing sample missed some very key examples understanding where the ADHD burning pains come from. Like many others, I have been told the same messages about ADHD and "buckling down, work harder, etc" However, the example where you say "it's like trying to exercise without a muscle at all" escapes me a little bit. You may know more about this than I do, but wouldn't it be the case if people with ADHD were missing executive functions entirely they couldn't make any executive decisions, instead of having issues of following them through? I feel like my understanding is missing the point somewhere, and I want to be as respectful of your viewpoint as I can.

Anywho, back to my writing, so I can definitely see where a spouse or a non ADHD person could misconstrue my writing. In an effort to better myself and my writing, I could use some advice on how to write it better. Are there any articles that you've read that could help me in this area?

Again, I appreciate your thoughts and well thought out critiques.

Lunacie
02-15-17, 04:04 PM
Fair enough. I can see your point. So it seems my writing sample missed some very key examples understanding where the ADHD burning pains come from. Like many others, I have been told the same messages about ADHD and "buckling down, work harder, etc" However, the example where you say "it's like trying to exercise without a muscle at all" escapes me a little bit. You may know more about this than I do, but wouldn't it be the case if people with ADHD were missing executive functions entirely they couldn't make any executive decisions, instead of having issues of following them through? I feel like my understanding is missing the point somewhere, and I want to be as respectful of your viewpoint as I can.

Anywho, back to my writing, so I can definitely see where a spouse or a non ADHD person could misconstrue my writing. In an effort to better myself and my writing, I could use some advice on how to write it better. Are there any articles that you've read that could help me in this area?

Again, I appreciate your thoughts and well thought out critiques.

I don't think anyone here said that executive function is non-existent in
people with ADHD. We do have some EF but we have little control of it.

It might help to compare this with "lazy eye" or "wall eye" where the eyes do
not focus on the same object. The weak eye still has muscles and nerves but
they are not in sync with the dominant eye. The doctor prescribes contacts or
eyeglasses to compensate for the weak eye. Stimulant meds help a person
with ADHD compensate for weak executive function.

Wackykay9
02-15-17, 05:32 PM
I don't think anyone here said that executive function is non-existent in
people with ADHD. We do have some EF but we have little control of it.

It might help to compare this with "lazy eye" or "wall eye" where the eyes do
not focus on the same object. The weak eye still has muscles and nerves but
they are not in sync with the dominant eye. The doctor prescribes contacts or
eyeglasses to compensate for the weak eye. Stimulant meds help a person
with ADHD compensate for weak executive function.

Ok I see your analogy. I was honestly trying to make a similar comparison in my post. I may not have described it as well as I would have liked.

Lunacie
02-15-17, 06:14 PM
Ok I see your analogy. I was honestly trying to make a similar comparison in my post. I may not have described it as well as I would have liked.

As I read it, you were making two suggestions. One: scheduling tasks for
times when your energy is strong, which is a good strategy.

And two: suggesting one's diet can provide brain energy, which it can, but
energy isn't really the problem with most ADHD, maybe with inattentive.

Focus is the problem in ADHD, and that seems to be related to inability to
utilize dopamine, or to low levels of dopamine.

Good carbs, or brain food, boost seratonin in the brain, but don't do much to
help with dopamine.


And I think that getting all that straight in my head and getting it written out
on top of doing physical therapy and shopping this morning has pretty much
used my dopamine for the day. :lol:

20thcenturyfox
02-16-17, 02:09 AM
Willpower is a hard sell to this audience. It sounds so 19th century and reproachful to our self-indulgent 21st century ears. And what could it possibly have to do with ADHD?

The irony is that Roy Baumeister, the author of the book cited by OP, has been a leading researcher in the neuropsychology of response inhibition, who first published that the energy or power to exercise conscious control over one's responses is limited and can become depleted through overuse...but can also be built up through practice. Baumeister is one of the editors of Handbook of Self-Regulation, 2nd ed, 2011, to which he and Russell Barkley are both contributors.

Far from being inconsistent with leading ADHD experts, Baumeister's findings on response inhibition, willpower and ego depletion have been adopted by Russell Barkley, and are cited in his many online powerpoint presentations, e.g. http://www.coveschool.org/staff/documents/2-ExecutiveFunctioninginTypicalandADHDStudents.pdf

So OP take note: Maybe people with no interest in reading the book would be less keen to jump all over the very idea of willpower if you make sure to wrap yourself in the luster of St. Russell of Barkley right at the outset.

sarahsweets
02-16-17, 06:42 AM
Willpower is a hard sell to this audience. It sounds so 19th century and reproachful to our self-indulgent 21st century ears. And what could it possibly have to do with ADHD?

The irony is that Roy Baumeister, the author of the book cited by OP, has been a leading researcher in the neuropsychology of response inhibition, who first published that the energy or power to exercise conscious control over one's responses is limited and can become depleted through overuse...but can also be built up through practice. Baumeister is one of the editors of Handbook of Self-Regulation, 2nd ed, 2011, to which he and Russell Barkley are both contributors.

Far from being inconsistent with leading ADHD experts, Baumeister's findings on response inhibition, willpower and ego depletion have been adopted by Russell Barkley, and are cited in his many online powerpoint presentations, e.g. http://www.coveschool.org/staff/documents/2-ExecutiveFunctioninginTypicalandADHDStudents.pdf

So OP take note: Maybe people with no interest in reading the book would be less keen to jump all over the very idea of willpower if you make sure to wrap yourself in the luster of St. Russell of Barkley right at the outset.

I wish there was a way to distinguish willpower from what the op is trying to point out because I think what he is trying to share is valid. Even if willpower is defined exactly the way he means, I think just the term alone will launch people into finger pointing at the adhd people just because they dont understand the term and its context either.

Wackykay9
02-16-17, 12:07 PM
ahah thanks for the quick giggle. Ya know, you have a point. I can definitely see why it would use up someone's willpower to do all that kind of planning. So if you had to change the suggestions to resonate with the ADHD community more what would you write about?


As I read it, you were making two suggestions. One: scheduling tasks for
times when your energy is strong, which is a good strategy.

And two: suggesting one's diet can provide brain energy, which it can, but
energy isn't really the problem with most ADHD, maybe with inattentive.

Focus is the problem in ADHD, and that seems to be related to inability to
utilize dopamine, or to low levels of dopamine.

Good carbs, or brain food, boost seratonin in the brain, but don't do much to
help with dopamine.


And I think that getting all that straight in my head and getting it written out
on top of doing physical therapy and shopping this morning has pretty much
used my dopamine for the day. :lol:

Wackykay9
02-16-17, 12:10 PM
This is pretty good feedback here. So if I had to do it again, I should really take the time to develop where the theory and research came from?

Willpower is a hard sell to this audience. It sounds so 19th century and reproachful to our self-indulgent 21st century ears. And what could it possibly have to do with ADHD?

The irony is that Roy Baumeister, the author of the book cited by OP, has been a leading researcher in the neuropsychology of response inhibition, who first published that the energy or power to exercise conscious control over one's responses is limited and can become depleted through overuse...but can also be built up through practice. Baumeister is one of the editors of Handbook of Self-Regulation, 2nd ed, 2011, to which he and Russell Barkley are both contributors.

Far from being inconsistent with leading ADHD experts, Baumeister's findings on response inhibition, willpower and ego depletion have been adopted by Russell Barkley, and are cited in his many online powerpoint presentations, e.g. http://www.coveschool.org/staff/documents/2-ExecutiveFunctioninginTypicalandADHDStudents.pdf

So OP take note: Maybe people with no interest in reading the book would be less keen to jump all over the very idea of willpower if you make sure to wrap yourself in the luster of St. Russell of Barkley right at the outset.

Wackykay9
02-16-17, 12:11 PM
I am curious Sarah, what would you call it then? Like I said, I am trying to resonate with readers and make sure my content is both effective and accurate.


I wish there was a way to distinguish willpower from what the op is trying to point out because I think what he is trying to share is valid. Even if willpower is defined exactly the way he means, I think just the term alone will launch people into finger pointing at the adhd people just because they dont understand the term and its context either.

Lunacie
02-16-17, 01:57 PM
Willpower is a hard sell to this audience. It sounds so 19th century and reproachful to our self-indulgent 21st century ears. And what could it possibly have to do with ADHD?

The irony is that Roy Baumeister, the author of the book cited by OP, has been a leading researcher in the neuropsychology of response inhibition, who first published that the energy or power to exercise conscious control over one's responses is limited and can become depleted through overuse...but can also be built up through practice. Baumeister is one of the editors of Handbook of Self-Regulation, 2nd ed, 2011, to which he and Russell Barkley are both contributors.

Far from being inconsistent with leading ADHD experts, Baumeister's findings on response inhibition, willpower and ego depletion have been adopted by Russell Barkley, and are cited in his many online powerpoint presentations, e.g. http://www.coveschool.org/staff/documents/2-ExecutiveFunctioninginTypicalandADHDStudents.pdf

So OP take note: Maybe people with no interest in reading the book would be less keen to jump all over the very idea of willpower if you make sure to wrap yourself in the luster of St. Russell of Barkley right at the outset.

So ... I googled. Here's what I found when I used "Russell Barkley + wilpower."

(note I did not use St. in the search term)

(bolding added by me)

ADHD disrupts a person’s ability to manage her behavior or to act with future consequences in mind. That’s why kids with ADHD are at their worst when they must complete tasks that have no immediate payoff. Goal-directed, future-oriented behavior demands that a person be able to motivate herself internally. This ability is described as willpower, self-discipline, ambition, persistence, determination, or drive. ADHD disrupts this mental mechanism, leaving those with the disorder “low on fuel” in motivating behavior toward future rewards.

If a task provides motivation and offers immediate gratification — such as playing a video game — a person with ADHD will have no problem sticking with it. Give these kids a task for which there is no external reinforcement or payoff, however, and their persistence falls apart. They jump from one uncompleted activity to another and become bored and disengaged.

To help a child with ADHD complete work when there is little immediate reward or interest in the task, adults can establish artificial rewards to sustain motivation. Earning tokens, chips, or other external rewards will help them persist. Without such rewards, they cannot themselves muster the intrinsic willpower to stick with a task. So, if your child with ADHD needs to read an entire chapter of a textbook, offer a reward for each segment of the work. Eventually, he will be able to sustain attention for longer periods, as tenacity becomes a habitual response to work.from interview with Dr. Barkley @ ADDitude online.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/print/2509.html

Wackykay9
02-16-17, 04:57 PM
This is some pretty interesting stuff. So, if I were to go back and rewrite my article, I should include more elements on how ADHD disrupts willpower, and a solution could be immediate rewards of some variety?

Is this pretty true with adults as well?

So ... I googled. Here's what I found when I used "Russell Barkley + wilpower."

(note I did not use St. in the search term)

(bolding added by me)



from interview with Dr. Barkley @ ADDitude online.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/print/2509.html

Little Missy
02-16-17, 05:09 PM
This is some pretty interesting stuff. So, if I were to go back and rewrite my article, I should include more elements on how ADHD disrupts willpower, and a solution could be immediate rewards of some variety?

Is this pretty true with adults as well?

I don't believe it is quite that simple...:scratch:

Johnny Slick
02-16-17, 06:16 PM
Yeah, I just don't think it's "willpower" so much as it is that a big filter that controls what stimuli you concentrate on and what you do not just doesn't work right for us ADHD people a lot of the time. Yes, we can sometimes use our willpower reserves to stop from blurting out something stupid or stay focused on a task we need to finish, but to say that that means it's a "willpower" issue is a lot like saying that social anxiety is just a willpower issue because after all if you just push yourself hard enough you can talk to people in public.

Even if it's literally true that you can use your willpower reserves to muscle your way through some of the effects of ADHD, willpower itself is at best a secondary skill to build up to help with the condition and at worst, like sarahsweets said, another reason for people struggling with ADHD to cut themselves down some more when they fail. From my standpoint, when I'm on Ritalin I don't blurt stupid crap out that I sometimes blurt out when I'm not on Ritalin. Yes, I can "will" my way into controlling this by being extremely introverted and slow and never saying anything until I've carefully reviewed it to make sure it's worth saying, but why go through the trouble of using a conscious filter when the subconscious one actually works pretty well when I can get it to start?

I feel, too, like this gets at that "lazy" term and its relatives that *constantly* get thrown at ADHDers. We aren't *lazy*. We are *easily distracted*. There is a big difference, one of the huge ones being that a lot of the time I for one, when I am unmedicated, don't even realize that I'm about to be distracted until I'm full-on not even thinking about what I was originally doing. How do you "will" yourself into remembering something you already forgot? I think that for ADHDers, what "willpower" really means in this context is "push yourself into hyperfocus" more than "respond to outside stimuli like a normal person". I just don't think "will" can help you do the latter.

Wackykay9
02-17-17, 01:45 PM
Well, either way I wouldn't mind trying to write more to at least feel out the pain points of other people with ADHD. I know how ADHD has affected my life, but I always like hearing other people's perspectives.

I don't believe it is quite that simple...:scratch:

Wackykay9
02-17-17, 01:49 PM
These are really good points. That being said, what recommendations would you make to my post so that it resonates with readers more? As I saw, I explained what willpower meant to me, but I didnt do a good job resonating with readers.


Yeah, I just don't think it's "willpower" so much as it is that a big filter that controls what stimuli you concentrate on and what you do not just doesn't work right for us ADHD people a lot of the time. Yes, we can sometimes use our willpower reserves to stop from blurting out something stupid or stay focused on a task we need to finish, but to say that that means it's a "willpower" issue is a lot like saying that social anxiety is just a willpower issue because after all if you just push yourself hard enough you can talk to people in public.

Even if it's literally true that you can use your willpower reserves to muscle your way through some of the effects of ADHD, willpower itself is at best a secondary skill to build up to help with the condition and at worst, like sarahsweets said, another reason for people struggling with ADHD to cut themselves down some more when they fail. From my standpoint, when I'm on Ritalin I don't blurt stupid crap out that I sometimes blurt out when I'm not on Ritalin. Yes, I can "will" my way into controlling this by being extremely introverted and slow and never saying anything until I've carefully reviewed it to make sure it's worth saying, but why go through the trouble of using a conscious filter when the subconscious one actually works pretty well when I can get it to start?

I feel, too, like this gets at that "lazy" term and its relatives that *constantly* get thrown at ADHDers. We aren't *lazy*. We are *easily distracted*. There is a big difference, one of the huge ones being that a lot of the time I for one, when I am unmedicated, don't even realize that I'm about to be distracted until I'm full-on not even thinking about what I was originally doing. How do you "will" yourself into remembering something you already forgot? I think that for ADHDers, what "willpower" really means in this context is "push yourself into hyperfocus" more than "respond to outside stimuli like a normal person". I just don't think "will" can help you do the latter.

dvdnvwls
02-17-17, 01:59 PM
Is it a valid goal, to make a misguided and inaccurate post resonate with readers?

Maybe the best resonance would be achieved by retracting that post and making a new, completely different post.

Or putting the current post into an extremely different context, by somehow making it clear that as far as ADHD is concerned you went up a blind alley with this one, that it didn't end up helping.

Fraser_0762
02-17-17, 02:03 PM
Is it a valid goal, to make a misguided and inaccurate post resonate with readers?

Maybe the best resonance would be achieved by retracting that post and making a new, completely different post.

You can disagree with something that may well be perfectly accurate.

dvdnvwls
02-17-17, 03:10 PM
I believe the original post IS accurate, just not exactly on topic in terms of ADHD. Giving it a new context, as one of the confusing struggles many of us go through, would put it on topic in my opinion.

Example: I drive an old car that stalls for no apparent reason. If I start reading enthusiastic articles about the benefits of nitrous oxide systems, I may get enthusiastic about them myself, and forget that it's a topic that doesn't really apply in my situation, obscuring the fact that getting that stall investigated and fixed would be much more useful.

Johnny Slick
02-17-17, 04:45 PM
Yeah, and to take it a step further I think that with people with ADHD terms like "willpower" and "intestinal fortitude" or whatever are tossed around in our presence so often that they tend to mean a lot more to us than the dictionary definition. Willpower in particular is a thing that I've been told over and over again that I don't have a lot of and should cultivate. In reality, now that I'm beginning to understand my condition, I now think that willpower is something I actually have quite a bit of but have expended doing lots of now-useless things.

I don't know... it feels a bit like writing a post aimed at people with MDD that focuses on "sadness". It can be technically right for non-MDD people, not to mention people with MDD who are not in the middle of a depressive episode, but if it doesn't at least acknowledge the history so many people with MDD have with that word, it's not going to a fat lot of good.

dvdnvwls
02-18-17, 12:34 AM
Johnny - thanks, what you said is a better version of what I was trying to say.

People with ADHD don't look sick. We don't appear to be broken. People usually don't give the willpower lecture to someone with a visible disability, but when the disability shows no outward signs then too often people start to make assumptions.

Wackykay9
02-19-17, 02:28 PM
I am actually planning on rewriting the post. Initially, I wrote this to see where my writing is at and where to improve. I also wanted to see what the community would say about it so I knew who I was writing for in a better light. I appreciate your honesty and feed back though on the post, it's content, and it's overall appeal.

Is it a valid goal, to make a misguided and inaccurate post resonate with readers?

Maybe the best resonance would be achieved by retracting that post and making a new, completely different post.

Or putting the current post into an extremely different context, by somehow making it clear that as far as ADHD is concerned you went up a blind alley with this one, that it didn't end up helping.

Wackykay9
02-19-17, 02:30 PM
Johnny,
Thanks for your opinion on the piece as well. I thought this comment was pretty accurate. I too have had the "you need more willpower" advice thrown at me. I could try wiriting this in a different light where the answer may not be adding more willpower, but reducing distractions so can more for what you want. What are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, and to take it a step further I think that with people with ADHD terms like "willpower" and "intestinal fortitude" or whatever are tossed around in our presence so often that they tend to mean a lot more to us than the dictionary definition. Willpower in particular is a thing that I've been told over and over again that I don't have a lot of and should cultivate. In reality, now that I'm beginning to understand my condition, I now think that willpower is something I actually have quite a bit of but have expended doing lots of now-useless things.

I don't know... it feels a bit like writing a post aimed at people with MDD that focuses on "sadness". It can be technically right for non-MDD people, not to mention people with MDD who are not in the middle of a depressive episode, but if it doesn't at least acknowledge the history so many people with MDD have with that word, it's not going to a fat lot of good.

dvdnvwls
02-19-17, 05:59 PM
To see who you're writing for in a better light? Do you mean that you don't have ADHD yourself, or do you mean something else?

Wackykay9
02-20-17, 11:41 AM
I want to learn how to better resonate with the ADHD audience. I have ADHD, but my story is different than other people, and I want to learn to better resonate with other people with ADHD. I hope that clarifies my idea.


To see who you're writing for in a better light? Do you mean that you don't have ADHD yourself, or do you mean something else?

20thcenturyfox
02-24-17, 02:28 AM
I want to learn how to better resonate with the ADHD audience. I have ADHD, but my story is different than other people, and I want to learn to better resonate with other people with ADHD. I hope that clarifies my idea.

Russell Barkley is a brilliant and compassionate researcher and a tireless campaigner for better understanding of ADHD by sufferers and the general public alike. Although he has spent more of his career focusing on ADHD and related disorders in children, he was also among the first to call attention to ways ADHD often persists into adulthood, and the relatively severe functional impairments that can result from seemingly mild deficits in Executive Functioning.

But, if I may say so, he is a better lecturer and interviewee than writer. His writing is laborious--and so is the job of the reader!

Here is a PDF dating from 2011 where he covers the very ground that the OP seems to want to cover--how to apply what we have learned about self-regulation (SR), executive functions (EF), and willpower in normal humans to those with ADHD. If you can absorb the key points without taking notes, you are higher functioning than I am! http://www.russellbarkley.org/factsheets/ADHD_EF_and_SR.pdf
Related to this idea of motivational deficits accompanying EF disorders is the literature on self-regulatory strength and the resource pool of effort (willpower) that are associated with activities of SR. There is an abundant literature on this topic that has been overlooked by neuropsychologists studying EF yet it has a direct bearing on EF given that EF is viewed as SR here. Research indicates that each implementation of SR (and hence EF) across all types of SR working memory, inhibition, planning, reasoning, problem-solving, etc.) depletes this limited resource pool temporarily such that protracted SR may greatly deplete the available pool of effort. (p4)
IMO he eventually covers it all, starting with a roundabout description of ADHD as a disorder of self-regulation, moving on to self-regulation in normal people, including Baumeister's work on willpower (p4), then flitting back to mention some very good specific suggestions on replenishing willpower tailored to ADHD , then generalizing about effective interventions for ADHD, and cautions about how much lasting improvements to expect.
Research also indicates what factors may serve to more rapidly replenish the resource pool such as routine physical exercise, taking 10 minute breaks periodically during SR strenuous situations, relaxing or meditating for at least 3 minutes after such SR exerting activities, visualizing the rewards or outcomes while involved in EF/SR tasks, arranging for periodic small rewards throughout the tasks or SR-demanding settings, engaging in self-affirming statements of self-efficacy prior to and during such tasks, experiencing positive emotions, and consuming glucose rich beverages during the task. Some research further suggests that the actual capacity of the resource pool may be boosted by routine physical exercise and by routine practicing tasks involving self-regulation daily for two weeks. From the extended phenotype view of EF as SR, these findings from the psychological literature on SR are directly pertinent to EF and its disorders. (also p4...he says based on research; anybody know what research?)
In short, there is probably no more reliable source for ADHD treatments, interventions and compensatory strategies than Russell Barkley. But with anything he writes, I find it's hard work to find and absorb these nuggets. Maybe Wacky can do better to bring these important ideas to the distractible masses.

finallyfound10
02-24-17, 02:54 AM
I want to learn how to better resonate with the ADHD audience. I have ADHD, but my story is different than other people, and I want to learn to better resonate with other people with ADHD. I hope that clarifies my idea.

Hi Wackykay9,

In what way is your story different than other people?

How do you feel that you do not resonate with other people with ADHD?

Wackykay9
02-28-17, 04:58 PM
Hello,
I would say my story is not all too different from many people. Sure, i learned how to manage my ADHD in a productive way, but I wanted to write this article to show people they can do it as well.

I found I wasn't really resonating with my audience because I didn't frame willpower well enough. Most of the comments I received showed I didn't have a firm understanding what willpower was and how it applies to ADHD.

Hi Wackykay9,

In what way is your story different than other people?

How do you feel that you do not resonate with other people with ADHD?

dvdnvwls
02-28-17, 05:54 PM
IMO it's not about audience resonance at all, but about in-depth accurate research about ADHD. I think your resonance is fine, and that your original blog post was simply not thought through very well as it relates to ADHD.

A bit like explaining cattle ranching to vegetarians - they understand fine, but it's not their topic. I think people are tuning out because of the relevance of the content to them, not because of the presentation.

aeon
02-28-17, 06:44 PM
When I was looking through them I saw many comments on the concept of willpower. I am sure we could all go back and forth on the evidence on its existence or lack thereof, but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to make the blog post better?

The fact that we could go back and forth on the meaning of the term means it is not a solid base upon which to write an essay/blog.

Overall, I very much liked what you wrote, and I thought there was a lot to recommend it, but it would benefit from keeping that which honors the science, and losing that which is easily misinterpreted...and as loaded words go, willpower is a biggie. Itís been used innocently, but it has also been used as a weapon. For some with ADHD, to simply hear the word stirs up memories that are painful.

How do you feel this post alienates people with ADHD from their loved ones?

People believe, for better or worse, that will exists, and that we can choose to control and wield it, to our own benefit.

Inasmuch as it is a concept, and not real, yet the disability of those with ADHD makes it appear as if they, for whatever reason, choose not, or cannot do so, which is most often then judged as a moral flaw, weakness, or absence.

However, the example where you say "it's like trying to exercise without a muscle at all" escapes me a little bit. You may know more about this than I do, but wouldn't it be the case if people with ADHD were missing executive functions entirely they couldn't make any executive decisions, instead of having issues of following them through? I feel like my understanding is missing the point somewhere, and I want to be as respectful of your viewpoint as I can.

Those with ADHD have executive function, each to varying degrees, but each and every presents with a disability. So it isnít that we lack muscle, so to speak, yet no amount of exercise or willful effort is going to result in lasting growth or strengthening of that muscle.


Cheers,
Ian

aeon
02-28-17, 06:46 PM
Is it a valid goal, to make a misguided and inaccurate post resonate with readers?

Iím not sure, but writers and authors of all kinds, in all disciplines, do it to some degree or another, in both ignorance and awareness to a desired outcome, every single day, to manifold consequences.


Cheers,
Ian

Lunacie
02-28-17, 09:24 PM
The fact that we could go back and forth on the meaning of the term means it is not a solid base upon which to write an essay/blog.

Overall, I very much liked what you wrote, and I thought there was a lot to recommend it, but it would benefit from keeping that which honors the science, and losing that which is easily misinterpreted...and as loaded words go, willpower is a biggie. Itís been used innocently, but it has also been used as a weapon. For some with ADHD, to simply hear the word stirs up memories that are painful.



People believe, for better or worse, that will exists, and that we can choose to control and wield it, to our own benefit.

Inasmuch as it is a concept, and not real, yet the disability of those with ADHD makes it appear as if they, for whatever reason, choose not, or cannot do so, which is most often then judged as a moral flaw, weakness, or absence.



Those with ADHD have executive function, each to varying degrees, but each and every presents with a disability. So it isnít that we lack muscle, so to speak, yet no amount of exercise or willful effort is going to result in lasting growth or strengthening of that muscle.


Cheers,
Ian

Yes. Yes. Yes. I can't give you rep right now, but know that I would.

Postulate
02-28-17, 09:32 PM
The tasks you don't want to do actually take fewer energy then the ones you love but create stress, because you don't have to burn any nutrients to produce pleasure. Pleasure is very costly to produce, you need to be well fed and red in the cheeks :)

In 1967 there was a famous actor in a communist country, 22, just graduated acting faculty and became an actor. So after he learned he passed all his finals he was walking on the street and met his friend who was also an actor. His friend asks:

Friend: So, did you pass?
Him: I passed...
Friend: Sorry what?!
Him: I paaaaaaased.
Friend: Hah! You passed and this is how happy you get? Whaaaat the???
Him: hmmya
Friend: Dude, you didn't eat anything did you? When's the last time you ate something?

So see how important food is, the dude's dreams came true and he didn't have the ingredients inside the body to produce happiness, at that time there was a famine in that country. He was like all depressed huh I passed. My dream came true. What else is new? LOL!

Wackykay9
03-03-17, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the very detailed critique. I agree, I feel like I didn't do a good enough job explaining the overarching definition before we got into the meat of the content. I have actually gone back re-written my post extensively thanks to the feedback from you and the rest of the community.

I really appreciate the depth you went into describing the critique. It was very helpful in re writing my piece.

The fact that we could go back and forth on the meaning of the term means it is not a solid base upon which to write an essay/blog.

Overall, I very much liked what you wrote, and I thought there was a lot to recommend it, but it would benefit from keeping that which honors the science, and losing that which is easily misinterpreted...and as loaded words go, willpower is a biggie. Itís been used innocently, but it has also been used as a weapon. For some with ADHD, to simply hear the word stirs up memories that are painful.



People believe, for better or worse, that will exists, and that we can choose to control and wield it, to our own benefit.

Inasmuch as it is a concept, and not real, yet the disability of those with ADHD makes it appear as if they, for whatever reason, choose not, or cannot do so, which is most often then judged as a moral flaw, weakness, or absence.



Those with ADHD have executive function, each to varying degrees, but each and every presents with a disability. So it isnít that we lack muscle, so to speak, yet no amount of exercise or willful effort is going to result in lasting growth or strengthening of that muscle.


Cheers,
Ian