What was the title of the last book you read? (Includes 100 interests)

Technically speaking, the last book that I finished reading was Batman, Knightfall Vol 1. And while there are a great deal of themes to discuss and thought I had while reading this great compilation of comics, I am much more interested in discussing the book I am currently reading, The Gift of Adult ADD: How to Transform Your Challenges and Build Your Strengths by Lara Honos-Webb.

I can honestly say that this is one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read. It has given me remarkable insight into some of my behaviors and greatly assisted me in understanding and verbalizing some key parts of my identity, such as “the storyteller”, “the conversationalist”, “the problem solver/firefighter”, “the emotionally intuitive counselor”, “the delegator”, “the artistic creator”, “the whimsical playmate” and “the instructor and encourager”. While I and others have identified in me these gifts for years now, by reading this book I realized that many of these titles are characteristic traits of most people with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. For some reason, while reading this book (all the while listening to the brilliant Patrick Dodson’s podcast series on Identity – which I must say has been the equal other side to this coin for me), I was finally able to consider these things more than just “things I am good at” but rather, things that make up my very identity. I have become able to rephrase a statement like “I like to talk to people about important things” to “I am a great communicator”. Instead of saying “I love to watch movies, read books, and write occasionally” to “I am a storyteller and a lover of stories”.

I have been so inspired by Dr. Honos-Webb’s book that I have devoted an entire notepad to taking down quotes and working through the various suggested exercises of the book. I have even surprised myself at how well I can access and relate to some of the parts of the book that I wasn’t particularly sure would be helpful at first. For instance, I often find myself disinterested in testimonials of people who I feel I cannot relate to. A few of her chapters end with testimonials of people with ADD who have achieved success. At first, I found myself wanting to skip over them, reasoning that the substance of the information lies in the chapters themselves, and the testimonials are nothing more than a repetitious account of how someone else made this work. Fortunately I overcame my desire to leap ahead and found that some of the more profound and encouraging lines in the book existed in the testimonials.

One such quote from Steve Prevett I recorded in my notebook verbatim:

“Apparently I used to walk down the street seemingly engaged in some deep, animated conversation with an invisible ‘other person’. My lips and my facial expression would shift rapidly as I fast-forwarded through a planned discussion with someone.”

I was telling a group of friends last month about how I do this in the car on my short drive into work almost daily. I talk through my thoughts, out loud, in order to process them or I have a complicated discussion with the other side of my brain about a particular thought or issue. And so, when I read Steve’s account of doing the same thing I thought “Finally! This is a reason why I do this. This is part of my ADHD, and that is part of my identity.

I’m over half way through the book. I have been taking my time going through it, diligently note-taking and re-reading parts that resonate with me in volumes. The goal is to have it done by the end of next week. One thing I found particularly helpful was the recommend activity of listing out 100 of my interests. The intended goal of this exercise was to find interests that I and my spouse have in common (Sarah wrote out a list of hers as well) so that we could share those together (such as movie watching, relaxing, exercising, traveling, and storytelling) and things that excite us that we can pursue individually, like dancing for her and having political or theological conversations for me. The unintended and perhaps more profound result of creating this list is that I found that nearly every, if not all, my interests point back to one of the “I am” statements that make up my identity. For instance, I began the list of interests with 3 that start with “Conversing about…” which so clearly express the statement “I am a conversationalist”. This understanding of my identity, along with recommendations from Dr. Honos-Webb have allowed me to implement some changes in how I approach things in my work life in a way that plays to my strengths. I have looked for opportunities where I can focus on my problem solving skills, intentionally slowed down and double checked my work for small errors that come from missing details (and given myself some grace when I have missed something), and simply allowed myself space to step away at times and process something outside of the box as opposed to limiting myself to the status quo. This has begun to transform a job that at times has some unnecessary frustrations into work that is much more pleasant and exciting.

Further expectations from this book include (glances at chapter headings to come) learning how I can use my “interpersonal intuition” to understand and speak into other people’s situations and lives in a counseling and helpful way and perhaps figuring out what types of hobbies or side projects I can start from that. Learn more about the common connection many ADD adults have with nature and finding out what that would look like if I were to press into activities that nurtured that connection in my life. And finally, harnessing and using some of this abundant energy I sometimes have in a way that is productive and optimized instead of simply feeling anxious or bored.

For those who have ADD, or think they might, or live with someone who does, I could not recommend The Gift of Adult ADD more. And I strongly believe that everyone should invest the time into listening to Patrick Dodson’s podcast on Identity, as it is inspiring, intelligent, and exciting.

100 Interests

1 Conversing about faith
2 Conversing about politics
3 Conversing about movies
4 Conversing about books/characters
5 Reading novels
6 Reading comic books
7 Reading non-fiction about psychology, theology, and mild history
8Contemplating themes, philosophies, relationships
9 Watching movies
10 Playing guitar
11 Listening to podcasts
12 Interviewing

13 Singing
14 Teaching
15 Learning new things
16 Trying a new project
17 Investigating
18 Taking walks
19 Surfing the web
20 Eating, smoking hookah, having wine or a beer with friends
21 Writing blogs, comments, Facebook notes
22 Reading other’s comments, thoughts, Facebook notes
23 Being inspired by quotes, thoughts, ideas – particularly from people I admire
24 Loosely planning a trip, in which the details will be filled in later
25 Experiencing new cultures
26 Seeing beautiful terrain (mountains, waterfalls, beaches)
27 Eating out at somewhere new and “local” to wherever we are
28 Administrating and overseeing other’s “projects”
29 Creating a course of action in a project, thinking ahead to any possible problems, and finding proactive solutions
30 Delegating work (finding the interests and skills of others and finding tasks that are designed for their abilities)
31 Editing other’s words
32 Synthesizing or boiling down the overall message into bullet points
33 Taking photos to share with friends/family
34 Playing board/card games
35 Wakeboarding
36 Snowboarding
37 Flying in an airplane
38 Biking
39 Hiking
40 ATVing
41 Climbing
42 Camping (moderately)
43 Running (for the sake of maintaining health, not long term competition)
44 Seeing live music/concerts
45 Daydreaming
46 Counseling, instructing, listening to others
47 Encouraging others
48 Shopping for new clothes
49 Browsing for new gadgets, books, or movies
50 Searching for trinkets
51 Shopping for random things to decorate our space with
52 Helping Sarah find clothes she likes and gets excited about
53 Theatre (plays, ballet, etc)
54 Boating (sailing if ever possible)
55 Learning more about myself and others
56 Reading the Bible – careful meditation
57 Praying – speaking with God intimately and feeling His presence
58 Playing video games (preferably with other people)
59 Jamming with friends (playing/singing together)
60 Leading worship
61 Problem solving when it does not require too much time (I need to be able to hyper focus for a while but not to the point where I get bored with the puzzle)
62 Putting together a puzzle
63 Seeing comedians do stand up
64 Playful banter, joking, laughing, general silliness
65 Trying new coffee, wine, beer, cigars
66 Art gallery hopping
67 Museum browsing
68 Strolling around the city, seeing new things
69 Staying healthy and in shape
70 Listening to lectures
71 Hanging out with family
72 Watching football games (especially live)
73 Watching Baseball games (live only)
74 Listening to others tell stories
75 Storytelling
76 Haunted houses
77 Other seasonal activities such as retrieving a Christmas tree, opening presents, caroling, Easter church service, corn mazes, etc.
78 Rollercoasters
79 Horseback riding
80 Yoga
81 Receiving council, speaking with elders
82 Finding the factual truths in testimonies, philosophies, articles
83 Finding middle ground or logical agreements between two sides
84 Better understanding my own beliefs and challenging those around me to constantly test their theology, philosophy, opinions, etc.
85 Questioning the status quo, authority
86 Writing a short story
87 Creating narratives, characters, environments, and themes
88 Being part of a group of friends who I trust, enjoy, and share with
89 Golfing
90 Going on guided tours
91 Feeding the hungry
92 Playing with kids
93 Playing with dogs
94 Defending social justice/battling injustice
95 Showing compassion
96 Evangelizing in a long-term, relational way
97 Seeing excitement in others
98 Receiving and returning hugs, affection touches, massages
99 Mild gardening, yard work
100 Relaxing in a comfortable environment (whether laying in a hammock or on a couch by the fire)