impatience adhd zen pirsig
“Impatience is close to boredom but always results from one cause: an underestimation of the amount of time the job will take. [F]ew jobs get done as quickly as planned.

“Impatience is the first reaction against a setback and can soon turn to anger if you’re not careful. Impatience is best handled by allowing an indefinite time for the job, particularly new jobs that require unfamiliar techniques; by doubling the allotted time when circumstances force time planning; and by scaling down the scope of what you want to do.

“…[O]ne of the first warning signs of impatience is frustration at not being able to lay your hand on the tool you need right away. If you just stop and put tools away neatly you will both find the tool and also scale down your impatience without wasting time or endangering the work.”

Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Scanned from my 1985 paperback copy, which teaches me new things every time I open it.

“We Can Do Anything But We Can’t Do Everything”

“We Can Do Anything But We Can’t Do Everything”

— Author Unknown

With a car and four hours, you can drive from New York to Boston. Or you can drive from New York to DC. But you can’t do both.

You’re smart enough to write a marketing plan in one week. Or renegotiate a large contract. Or do performance reviews for all of your direct reports. But you can’t do all three.


Ability is not the same as capacity!


“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.