Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

The Quantum Leap of Self Improvement

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Have you ever experienced a quantum leap in your efforts for self-improvement?

If you have, I bet you can remember exactly when you noticed it and perhaps for a few days or weeks, after noticing it, the improvement seemed to wane, but when you stopped thinking about it, it eventually became your next level of existence and the search went on for the next quantum leap. Or… maybe it didn’t, maybe you actually fell back to a level even lower than your previous level before the quantum leap?

The search for self-improvement is fraught with difficulty, setback after setback always seem to get in the way and just when you think you are going to make it, well, something happens to disrupt the momentum. That’s just ADHD… right? Perhaps, perhaps not…

Why is the book “The Secret” so popular? Because it held the secrets to happiness? I don’t think so. I think it’s a great book and has some helpful advice. I have written about it several times and mentioned it in my book “One Boy’s Struggle”. The reason, I believe, is because it holds the promise for “The Secret” – you know, that one piece of advice we are missing which will help us achieve our dreams and become the person we know we can be or want to be! That’s what it is all about, I think. I read the book and watched the movie, and yes, I even have the T-shirt. I leave no rock unturned.

I am a seeker. I am always seeking ways I can self improve. I don’t set out doing it for anyone but myself, I am selfish like that. It’s called self-improvement for a reason. If we spend our time seeking self-improvement for someone else’s benefit, or reason, we may become conflicted and not sincerely want to improve in the way another thinks they need us to improve. Sure, we may think we want to because it will make our marriage better, our friendships better, or it will improve this or that and we will be appreciated more. I have discovered that quantum leaps have only come to me when I sincerely wanted or needed something for myself – including better relationships. I have to ‘own’ the desire.

What I have learned is that I must want to improve and when I seek to improve for my own reasons, the reasons that keep coming back to me, no matter where I am in life; I tend to find ways to improve, even if I do not realize it. For example, I have always wanted to write a book, but I never thought I would. I started writing over and over again, I have countless pages of what were to be books, but were never finished, and yet the desire never went away. I was always seeking the answer to how I could start and finish writing a book. I purchased writing software, countless journals and I don’t know how many books on writing. And I got closer and closer, but as the years passed, I never quite got there. You know how frustrating that is. Then I wrote a book, not just any book, the kind of book that only comes along once in a lifetime. Therefore, now I am going to reveal ‘my secret’. Are you ready for it?

When I wrote “One Boy’s Struggle” I did not know I was writing ‘a book’. I didn’t purposely set out to write for anyone else other than myself, it was a therapeutic effort to write my memories and thoughts. I wrote page after page, just writing and most of the time I had tears in my eyes remembering things I had long since forgotten, or I thought so. The memories just kept coming and coming and I could not stop writing no matter how much I wanted to. There were many times I could not bear to keep writing, I wanted to stop, let it go, the writing of my story was too emotional and often very painful.

The diagnosis of ADHD was my quantum leap in self-improvement. It was the key to unlocking mysteries that had perplexed me all of my life. Learning about ADHD helped me see why I had done so many weird and seemingly stupid things and how, if I had known, I could have done things better. The thing is, I didn’t know the diagnosis was my ‘quantum leap’, it just happened. I had been seeking and seeking and all the things I learned while seeking had been adding up in my ‘seeker’ account.

Here’s my point: There is usually no one single secret or suggestion or tip that will bring us to another level, or improve us dramatically, but every once in a while a revelation will come along which may put all of those suggestions and tips to good use, but we won’t know when it happens, not usually. After the fact we might be able to point to one thing which was ‘the revelation’, but the truth is that it’s all about the accumulation of lessons and information which makes ‘the revelation’ work. That’s my experience.

Sometimes we get too caught up in the idea that a certain suggestion or tip will take us to the next level and when it doesn’t particularly provide the benefit we thought it would, then we get upset and feel let down, which is quite natural. Seekers, like you and me, let’s be honest, we can be desperate at times and over eager, in a rush to get to where we want to go. The problem is, sometimes we get in our own way by feeling let down and thinking we will never achieve our desires and dreams. 

Never give up, never give in, keep adding to your personal seeker account and when a certain revelation, small or large, comes, all of those accumulated lessons and data will be worth it, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.

There is no magic formula or perfect tip to bring about a quantum leap that I know of, it’s an accumulation and when it happens it’s like the tree falling in a forest with no one around, or it might be like a sonic boom over a crowded city and everyone looks up! Either way, I don’t think it can be predicted or forced.

Oddly enough, it does seem to me that just when we are ready to give up, give in and for whatever reason decide to take a few more steps, or seek a bit more information, or ask another question, that’s when it seems to happen the most for people. But remember, it wasn’t that one question, or that one tip, or that one suggestion – it’s always much, much more than that. I started writing my book without knowing it was going to be a book and I finished it and filled it with every revelation that had propelled me from one level to the next that I could possibly remember at the time. It just happened, but it didn’t just happen, if you get my meaning? 

Maybe that’s what gurus mean by ‘letting it come’ or ‘when the student is ready…’?

~Bryan

PS: I can imagine a question which come immediately to mind:

1) What if I don’t know what I want, what my desires are?

You know, I think a lot of people fall into this category. However, I believe that inside each of us are desires we cannot always explain, they keep pushing us forward, searching, collecting information and, even though we may not be able to explain what IT is, it is there and eventually a revelation will come. I tend to think that when we try to rush ourselves and become unsatisfied for not knowing this disrupts our natural course to find whatever it is we are looking for. A good way to discover one’s true desires is to simply ask ourselves. The answer usually doesn’t come with a direct ‘this is it’ answer, but rather take a good look at your interests, what things compel you to learn more about them and take time to quiet yourself in meditation while asking “What am I looking for”. – I think another tendency for some is to do everything in life for others and ignore their own desires (I think mother’s fall into this category easily – living each day to take care of the kids, meet the husband’s needs, clean house, hold down a job etc…, as well as people with ADHD due to feelings that we are not doing enough to satisfy others). The truth as I see it is, we can never fully be available for others if we are not available for ourselves, the dissatisfaction eventually becomes too strong to hide. Meeting the needs of others while ignoring our own (even if we don’t know what they are yet) isn’t the right answer to living a fulfilling, satisfying life. Ignoring ourselves can eventually damage relationships and other endeavors – this isn’t news really, but too many of us have ignored this simple fact and then wonder why we are so dissatisfied and unhappy. When we take care of ourselves, meet our own needs and follow our inner desires we become better for others too…

That’s what I believe… what do you believe?

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