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It's not so difficult, but it is required. It's okay if you're skeptical. Consider opening up your mental door of possibilities. This is your journey into the workings of your inner self. The journey that will enable you to start understanding you and what it takes to make changes that will be lasting. There are two sides in each one of us: The "I can" self and the "I can't" self are both jockeying for position. Both sides play games to see who gets to be on top. Usually when you are about to enter the stretch zone, go for a big goal, or take a big risk, the "I can't" self enters and tries to dissuade and distract you from taking the risk. The "I can't" self tries to keep you safe and protected from disappointment and failure. It thinks if you don't risk too much, then you won't be too disappointed, nor will you have quite so far to fall if you fall. This side of you wants to play safe and hedge your bets. The unfortunate part is that the "I can't" self is a bully, and is often stronger than the "I can" weakling. So it's not too difficult to guess who usually dominates and wins these battles. But once again, what we are not having, tragically, is exponential growth of happiness. In fact, there is a lot of talk about the nature of happiness lately because it is becoming increasingly elusive. Despite all of the wondrous marvels that have entered our lives, statistics show that we are far less happy than we were twenty years ago. It could be said that we are witnessing an emotional collapse of industrialized society. From New York to London to Beijing, in the richest societies of the world, we find ourselves depressed, anxious, and sleep deprived, with few solutions being offered other than medicating the symptoms. The overcomplexity and ever-changing environment we find ourselves in cause anxiety and confusion, and a person continually confronted with massive change may withdraw into a more insular life in order to cope. We never planned to settle for a life of merely coping, yet we seem to have accepted it as inevitable, so we swallow our pills, becoming a society that now medicates our emotions, believing there are no other alternatives.

This could be the cause of the alarming increase in suicides. Doctor Ian Rockett, professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, led a 2012 study that claims the suicide rate has increased fifteen percent in the last ten years and is now the leading cause of injury death in America--ahead of motor vehicle accidents. That's one of the strategies for ADD, which I didn't have (the strategy, that is), to recognize where I'm having a problem and to ask for help. This is similar to trying to delegate tasks that we aren't good at; first we have to recognize that we aren't good at it and then we have to find someone who is good at it and is available. Unfortunately, I didn't know that I didn't know how to study. So I never tried to get any help. Our ADD problems will make studying and learning more difficult for us, but there are strategies that help. We can get our focus center turned on. We can learn how to study so that we're learning, not just studying. We need to make ourselves focus on one thing at a time and not just learn it but to overlearn it. We need to recognize that we can only do so much; there are only so many hours in the day. (See appendix 1 for more on studying, learning and the forgetting curve system.) Many approval perfectionists try to control the situation in order to get and maintain others' approval. They try to prevent anything from happening that has a chance of leading to their not getting or losing that approval. This was the case with one of my former clients, Bob, who worked in an in-patient facility as a psychiatric nurse. He told me that each evening after work he would experience intense anxiety thinking about the next day at work. As you can see, Bob's demand for control was based on his demand for his boss's approval--in particular, for his respect. He demanded control at all times at work so that he wouldn't make any mistakes that could cost him his boss's approval. Indeed, in his judgment this would have rendered him unworthy as a person, "a loser." Only when Bob began to appreciate that his self-worth did not depend on his boss's approval of him as a person did he begin to make progress in overcoming his anxiety. Extrinsic faith is not always stressful, but it often is, because the person with extrinsic faith sees spiritual practices as a means to an end. Most of their spiritual efforts are geared either toward using religious practices to gain approval/acceptance or achieve some other personal benefit.

For those who are reluctant to give approval in general, or whose practical goals and wishes are frustrated, extrinsic faith will tend to be either scrupulous (in an attempt to manipulate the spiritual system that's allied against them) or frustrated and angry (because God isn't playing by their rules). If they can't resolve this emotional tension, they may eventually come to dismiss faith as just one more obstacle in the way of meeting their real (unconscious and unstated) primary goals of approval, affirmation, social acceptance, or professional success The Perfectionist expects only perfection and anything else is unacceptable. He expects this from himself and from everyone around him. The good news is that you will always get outstanding products and services from him. The bad news is that it is difficult if not impossible to please him, and if you don't measure up, you get the ax. Imperfections are intolerable to him. The pressure to perform up to his expectations is intense. Since there are few people who are perfect all the time, he feels righteous, superior to everyone else, and ultimately alone. His belief is "I can do everything better... myself." Other statistics reveal that we are turning to pharmaceuticals in mass and have become a medicated society of unprecedented proportions. For example, one in four women in the United States takes antidepressants and/or antianxiety medication3, with the men not far behind. And for sleep? About one in four adults takes medication every night, and these numbers are growing alarmingly fast. Taking medications is sometimes appropriate and doesn't mean someone is wrong for doing so, but what it often means is one has gone to a doctor and essentially said, "I am unhappy, I have run out of options, and I don't know what else to do." I was surprised when Daffy mentioned creativity as a gift that comes with the ADD. I do think I'm a little creative; this is my second book. But I had never thought of my creativity as related to ADD. And I do tend to problem-solve a lot, sometimes when I would do better just listening. Then I found this on the internet, courtesy of Pete Quily, an ADD coach in British Columbia: Many approval perfectionists are conformity junkies; that is, they feel compelled to do things just to fit in. This can be a perilous existence, because you may be willing to do things that are self-destructive just to gain the approval of others. Take the case of my high school friend Larry.

He had speech impediments: a lisp and a stutter. Other students often mocked him about it, which led Larry to question his self-worth and to think of himself as a social outcast, a reject or loser. After graduation, trying to fit in, Larry befriended a group of high-risk-takers who would go drag racing down the narrow, winding roads of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Sadly, one evening Larry was ejected from the back seat of a speeding car when it struck a tree. The driver and the passenger who sat up front were killed instantly, but Larry remained in a coma for a few months in a nursing home until he finally passed away. I often think about Larry and his plight. He was a kind, generous spirit who had the capacity to live a fulfilling life, but instead chose to take unreasonable risks in order to gain the approval of a misguided lot. Larry demanded of himself that he gain the approval of this group, and, at just eighteen, paid for it with his life. In the beginning, everyone's faith is extrinsic. As children and/or newcomers to the faith, we learn religious beliefs and practices from others. However, at some point (for most people, in adolescence), we each have to decide whether our faith is a series of hoops we will jump through to gain the approval of others -- parents, our culture, or our social group -- or a source of meaning, integration, transformation, and transcendence in our lives. Slave Driver is another attitudinal cousin. Slave Driving starts with an attitude then spills over into a behavior. Slave Drivers can also be workaholics as well. They are compelled to work, to work harder, to accomplish one more thing. Slave Driver has no time to play, only work, work, work. He sits on your shoulder telling you that you must "write the dissertation." You think to yourself, "I'd like to go to the movies" and the Slave Driver says "NO! Make the corrections." You think, "I'd like to spend some time with my friend," yet Slave Driver says "No! Get it done now." You muse to yourself, "I need to go shopping," and Slave Driver bludgeons "You have a job to do. Now get to it!" Now, when we use the word happiness, what do we mean exactly?

From my experience working with tens of thousands of students, most people have only a partial or vague notion of what brings them happiness, and they usually confuse it with pleasure, material wealth, and power. In this book, when I use the term happiness, I do not mean pleasure based on external circumstances, such as the perfect house, an exciting romance, or a glamorous holiday. We know now that happiness is not predicated primarily on external circumstances. A wiry, slightly built salesman was obsessed with balancing his accounting books. He walked at a fast clip, his body angled forward, carrying large accounting ledgers under his arm. Len was consumed with the bookkeeping, believing that if he didn't attend to this task, his business would fail. His response when asked to go to dinner or play golf was continually, "I've got to do the books." After a while, it became a joke. "Hey, Len... yeah I know, you've got to go to do the books, right?" There are poor people who are the most joyful you will ever meet, and there are people who are rich and famous yet are absolutely miserable. What I'm talking about is a meaningful life. I find that when people feel like they have meaning in their lives, they define themselves as happy. They want to get up in the morning and have something to live for that is larger than they are. Meaning brings fulfillment. I personally define happiness as the daily experience of a meaningful life. Hours of full engagement and concentration in a task, IF you find it interesting. You can get into the zone and be totally immersed in what you're doing while the outside world disappears. When I went on the internet for the first time in 1993 at an Internet cafe I got on the machine at 8 pm and around 4 am decided it was time to go home. Your brain processes information at hyperspeed. You can do things in 30 minutes on a computer that might take other people hours. Downside if you're stuck with an old machine and not enough RAM you'll be frustrated cause it can't keep up with the speed of your brain.