Adderall + Thomas Jefferson =

“When Ben Franklin gives you some of his Adderall and you write the whole Declaration of Independence in one night.”

Source: adapted from a joke found on the internet. The original joke-writer said the Adderall was from John Locke but that would be anachronistic. Jefferson drafted the Declaration in 1776; John Locke died in 1704.

“Focus…Means Saying No” — Steve Jobs

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.

— Steve Jobs, Apple CEO (Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997)

Entrepreneurial Ego. Tom Chappell

Sure I am a religious man who is also passionate about conserving the environment. But I am also a CEO, with all the bad habits and attitudes that are natural to the species.. . . I am still naturally self-interested, overconfident, full of pride, and eager to control a meeting as any CEO in America. Every day, I struggle with my ego.
— Tom Chappell, in Managing Upside Down

Chappell knows that a big-ego CEO may not be always considerate or kind. But he hasn’t given up on character.

Instead, he knows he has a wrestling match, every day. We executives with ADHD can borrow his attitude. If our ego or lack of self-control hinders progress or makes life difficult for others, we can apologize and make amends. But at the same time, we can know that our ego and drive are also part of what makes us motivated and strong.


About Tom Chappell: In the 1970 Chappell co-founded Tom’s of Maine, which grew into an enduring success stories of business done right. In 2006, Chappell sold a majority stake to Colgate-Palmolive for $100 million. In 1991, he endowed a professorship at the Harvard Divinity School, where he had just completed his Masters degree in Theology. Chappell is author of several books, including The Soul of a Business: Managing for Profit and Common Good and Managing Upside Down: Seven Intentions for Values-Centered Leadership.

Let Other People Stop You

Give your colleagues the power of No!
They’ll keep you in line.

“Don’t let me go to lunch with you!” 

Tell your favorite lunch-mate that you can’t go out because you have to finish a task. Later, have them tell you how awesome it was, so next time you’ll plan ahead.

“Don’t let me sign up for anything at today’s project meeting.”

Tell your colleague to poke you if you start to accept any new tasks or responsibilities. They’ll probably poke you harder than you like, but it will be worth it.

“Don’t let me leave my office unless I’ve handed off the mailing list.”

Tell your assistant to block the door unless you’ve finished the task. Let them tackle you if you try to escape.


Photo by Planetbene, Creative Commons License