Saturday, April 11, 2009

Leonardo DaVinci and ADD

We went to see the DaVinci exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry yesterday and it was fascinating. I knew that he was a prolific inventor and studied a wide array of disciplines in his life time. This exhibit highlights just a portion of his work and it's incredible how much he accomplished. And yet, it is well known that he had considerable trouble finishing projects. From the blog Procrastination Central:

Part of what made Leonardo such a "Renaissance Man" was that he was distractible as he was talented. Jacob Bronowski, the scientific historian, speaks about his procrastination. His talents and energy were often wasted in doodles and unfinished projects. The Last Supper was only finished after his patron threatened to cut off all funds. Mona Lisa took twenty years to complete. The Adoration of the Magi, an early painting, was never finished and his equestrian projects were never built.

Twenty years to finish the Mona Lisa! I don't feel so bad taking a year to finish a short story that doesn't even come close to the brilliance of DaVinci's most random doodles.

I've tried managing procrastination. I know I won't be able rid myself of it. At home I have a little kitchen timer that I sometimes carry around the house with me. I set it for 15 minutes and get as much work done in that time as I can. Then I set it for another 15 minutes and play on the computer or watch TV. The problem is that I often just ignore the timer when I want to keep playing. Discipline is not my strong suit.

I have some other projects that I've been avoiding. I am doing some knitting projects - hoping maybe that I can sell at least one of them to some higher end stores. I have lame excuses at hand each time I think about picking up the needles. It's fear. Plain and simple. I'm afraid of failing, I'm afraid of succeeding. I'm afraid of my own shadow.

So for me, it's more than the distraction caused by the ADD that keeps me from setting and achieving goals. It's the fear.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "All we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
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