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Why Do We Hold Ourselves to Neurotypical Standards?

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Being more neurotypical does not equal being more valuable. We need to stop telling ourselves (and others) that it does. If you want to check out Wondrium, go to to start your free trial today! Check out Brendan Mahan’s podcast here:

Stick around till the end of the video to learn more about it. so i was talking to brendan mahan of adhd essentials on his podcast earlier. and we were talking about how neither of us really gives ourselves credit as we go through life, those of us with adhd tend to be corrected more often or tend to be judged for not being where we should be showing up on time and being

Organized and being responsible and all of these things that are things we should be, and, because of that, i think it’s really easy for us to be extremely focused on the things that we’re not good at society tells us we’re supposed to be good at, by now at least. and, the truth is, the things that society tends to expect of us, so by neurotypical standards, a good employee

Is one who shows up on time and is consistent and reliable and does their job without complaining and all of these things that we tend to think of as like, “oh, that’s a good employee.” things like staying focused are prized but so is innovative thinking. and coming up with new ideas and creative solutions. that tends to be stuff that those of us with adhd are really

Good at we don’t give ourselves credit for the things that we’re accomplishing and we can get stuck in a situation where i remember hearing once that the people who are actually successful are not the people who get good at… the things that they’re bad at. they’re the people who focus on the things that they’re good at and that’s essentially what i did starting this

Channel. i stopped putting all of my energy into things like keeping my car clean or making sure my house was in order before somebody came to visit, and started just accepting that i struggle with that stuff and putting my energy into things where, in retrospect, i did have strengths, i didn’t know that at the time being able to put things together in interesting new ways.

I have a strength of being able to simplify complex information, i used to think of that as i’m just not good at, i don’t know, elaborate poetry. everything i tried to write came out really simple and basic. but that’s a skill! and it’s one that would never have recognized if i had just continued to try to focus on making myself be good at… file folders. because, it’s

Really easy to look at somebody who is neurotypical and responsible and reliable and… you know, all of these things, and say, “well i’m not that, and that’s what society values, so… i’m not valuable.” perpetually get the message that we aren’t valuable… and i think that’s true whether we’re talking about our brain or, we have to look for that value because it’s not

Where society expects it to be. we have different brains, we’re functioning on different operating systems. and so i think it’s important that we sometimes go looking for what we’re good at because we’re constantly reminded that we are not good at the things that a lot of employers want somebody who has the ability to innovate, those are considered valuable skills. not

Everybody is creative, and those of us with adhd tend to be. we’re really good at something called “divergent thinking”, coming up with a lot of different ideas. we’re not as good at convergent thinking like narrowing those ideas down maybe. at least compared to the massive volume of ideas that we have. but i think because nobody is telling us that that is

The benchmark like, “okay, you’re being an adult when you’re really good at innovative thinking.” it’s really easy to compare ourselves to things that this… it’s really easy to say, “well, i will be an adult when i can stay on top of paying my bills and my credit is good and i can hold down a job for more than two years without getting bored,” like, that’s the mark of

Being an adult. but maybe it’s not for us. i think we need to give ourselves more credit… for our strengths. i think we need to give ourselves more credit for the things we’re good at, and give ourselves more credit for the things that we accomplished, despite the level to which we struggle with things. and i think this is especially important when you have the kind of

Brain that wants to attempt 50 different things, all at the same time… every day. but we forget, we also are trying to do a lot more, that lack of convergent thinking, that lack of like, the ability to narrow things down means we do try to do a lot at once and maybe our little timeline, we’re not aware of what our capacity actually is, we’re trying a lot of new things,

We’re going after a lot of things, and when that happens, you’re gonna miss the mark on a lot, you’re gonna fail a lot, and that’s ok. it doesn’t mean you didn’t succeed. it can help, i think, sometimes to look back and just… yeah, today i had to change my shirt before we shot because i… spilled on it. you know what i also did that i need to give myself credit for

Right now? i was an a podcast earlier but like, i brushed right past that and went to, “oh yeah, but i spilled something on my shirt. i suck!” we are so used to rehearsing and beating ourselves up and have this negative self-talk from just… years and years of being corrected you are supposed to sit still, you are supposed to stay focused the way our brains

Work and where our strengths lie the truth is, society standards for employees, for children, for students, for women if you have a brain that develops a few years behind your peers, the whole “be mature, act your age, you should be able to do this by now” doesn’t actually apply to us but we do internalize that. and so i think it’s important that we create our own markers

For success, executive function in neurotypical brains finishes developing at age 25. but in adhd brains, it actually develops a few years later, it finishes developing by 28, and even after that it’s still impaired. so, it develops more slowly, it finishes maturing later, and it’s still impaired. and so we can’t hold ourselves to the same standards. and we can’t say that

That is what makes us valuable, or that is what makes us adults, because the truth is, we’re gonna be adults and still be struggling with that. whether that’s how we’re thinking about our employees and their contributions, i don’t think the same output every day is what makes a valuable employee. and the way that i run my company is that we build those expectations in.

And we expect people to have brilliant productive ones showing up exactly on time for most jobs is not actually that important, and we place this high level of importance on it for some reason to the point where we devalue ourselves and our efforts and our contributions because we aren’t meeting these very specific neurotypical standards. society is going to tell us that

We are not good enough we have to tell ourselves, “this is what i did well! this also matters! this is valuable! and i don’t have to meet those standards!” and that can be hard in a society that is telliing you otherwise, and it can be hard when you’ve gotten fired from the third job one of the things i’m doing to help me focus on what i’m good at is my creative director

Palestrina and i painted these pictures together. and it got me really curious to learn more about how to do it. so, i decided to see if there’s a course on painting on wondrium wondrium, if you don’t know it, is the rebrand of the great courses plus i learned more about painting than i had in any art class. i thought that everything you put on canvas had to look good and

So it’s been easy for me to get discouraged when something i paint but the professor explained that you actually have to build the foundation before you can add the details that make it look pretty. so it might look terrible for the first half of the painting and that’s okay. i knew that that was true about writing, my first drafts are always terrible. i love wondrium

Because everyting i wanna learn, they have a course on it. and the professors are really encouraging. and they have a lot of stuff. which gives us brains lots of opportunities to explore our interests or click on the link in the description below to start your free trial today. i’m gonna try and… walk my own talk right now and… and this is hard. because i know. i

Can tell you the things i’m impaired at, i can tell you the things that i’m bad at, i’ve said it a million times, but i’m not entirely sure i can tell you exactly what i’m good at i can understand the research well enough to explain it and then do a good job explaining it in a way that anyone can understand. i’m good at working hard to make up for the fact that i’m not

Good at stuff. i don’t know if you consider that something to be good at but… that i can tell you all of the things that i’m bad at start rehearsing what you’re good at, what your strengths are, because society is going to remind us what we’re not great at and they’re not necessarily gonna tell us… what we are.

Transcribed from video
Why Do We Hold Ourselves to Neurotypical Standards? By How to ADHD