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August 23, 2013 


Attention Talk News 


In This Issue . . . 


ADD CrusherTM Alan Brown gives us his perspective on negative self-talk and points out how ADDers subconsciously use it to undermine their own success. But Alan suggests that negative self-talk is a particular opportunity to create your own natural remedy for ADHD challenges through more awareness and understanding. Check out Alan's article, entitled "Understand Negative Self-Talk for Natural ADHD Remedy!" in our Guest Writer section of this issue.
Jeff Copper shares an article he wrote called, "The Two Sides of Attention."  The familiar saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," is a metaphor he uses to show the significance of how we get attention and how we pay attention. Take time to read the article and consider how this may be working in your life.  

Taking the responsibility to get yourself up in the morning? It sounds simple, but is it simple for the average ADHD college student? Get the answer to the question and learn more by watching our interview with Robert Tudisco, entitled "ADD College Survival Tips: Getting Up and Financial Independence," on Attention Talk Video.

How is hyperfocus a good thing and a bad thing for ADDer Stephen Tonti? Find out by watching the TEDx video of a talk he gave at Carnegie Mellon University, entitled, "ADHD as a Difference in Cognition, not a Disorder," in our video section of this issue.


Is there a difference between attention and the object of attention, and how does that relate to reinforcing behavior? Learn more from our interview with Dr. Craig Wiener on August 7, 2013, on Attention Talk Radio, titled "ADHD: Behavior Response and Reinforcement."


What are the five key things to remember about effective ADHD incentives? Get the answer from our interview with Dr. Abigail Levrini, entitled "ADHD Rules for Effective Incentives," on August 14, 2013, on Attention Talk Radio.


Also check out our interview on Attention Talk Radio with Dr. Mark Bertin on June 5, 2013, entitled,"ADHD Without the Fluff." Dr. Bertin talks about what mindfulness looks like and how it can physically change our brains.

And upcoming... Be sure to catch Dr. Blythe Corbett on Attention Talk Radio Wednesday night, August 28, 2013. She'll be talking about "ADHD: Stress and Anxiety in a Context We Can All Understand."

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Understand Negative Self-Talk for Natural ADHD Remedy!  

 by Alan Brown of ADD CrusherTM

Article originally appeared on and is reproduced with permission.


I recently posted the multi-part series of Facebook entries entitled, Score Your Successes - which is based on what I teach in Way 9 of ADD Crusher™ Video II. This particular strategy is about...   


  1. Understanding our skewed perspective on our ADHD "failures"; 
  2. Putting these "failures" in healthier perspective;
  3. Learning to acknowledge our successes - big and teeny; and...  
  4. Keeping track of our ADD ups and downs so that they provide positive motivational fuel.


Then last week I was listening to one of the archived shows at Attention Talk Radio and learned about a much deeper dimension to our ADDer habit of not giving ourselves credit for anything -- and blaming ourselves for everything.  


The Negative Self-Talk of ADHD  

It's called negative self-talk, and host Jeff Copper interviewed Debra Burdick, LCSW and psychotherapist, about this topic in detail. In a nutshell, negative self-talk is the habit of talking to yourself in a way that reinforces the negative feelings you have about yourself and, ultimately, guides the things you do (not in a good way, of course).  


We all do it -- ADDer or not. But we ADHD sufferers, of course, tend to do it more than others. Think about it: We've been conditioned to feel we're chronically wrong/out of line/problemsome/etc. For instance, here's a beautifully painful exchange with a six-year-old patient Debra recounts: 


6-yr-old boy: "My new medication is working great!" 

Debra: "How do you know it's working?"   

6-yr-old boy: "Cuz nobody yelled at me all day!"   


Better Awareness and Understanding Are a Natural ADHD Remedy!  

As with so many areas of our adult ADHD, the more we understand it, the better able we are to accept it, deal with it, and crush it. And I realized, listening to this interview, that negative self-talk is an area of particular opportunity for creating our own natural ADHD remedy through greater awareness and understanding. For instance, have you ever heard yourself say anything like...   


  • "I'm not smart enough to get that promotion."  
  • "I don't have what it takes to start my own business."
  • "I didn't deserve to win that award."  


Top Lines from the ADHD Negative Self-Talk Interview  

Now, I can't do justice to all the information in the interview, but I'll summarize a few key points...   


  1. Become AWARE of your negative talk. (Confession: When I pull a bonehead move, which is usually trivial, inconsequential - I replay what I was often told as a kid and yell at myself, "You @#$%$ dummy!") Wow, gotta cut that out!  
  2. Identify the various types of of negative talk you engage in most (There are several, as described by Dr. Daniel Amen, who calls them "species").  
  3. Understand that negative thoughts are most often inaccurate and always self-defeating.  
  4. Pay more attention to your successes (as described in ADD Crusher™ Video II, Way 9). We ADHD adults/kids tend to "filter out" successes in our thoughts and recollections - leaving only the "failures."  


Again, can't really do justice to the interview, so give it a listen - it'll be time well spent!




Article originally appeared on and is reproduced with permission.   


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The Two Sides of Attention  

 by Jeff Copper  


If you're like me, you have probably heard--and used--the phrase, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease," countless times. But have you ever considered what the quote is actually saying? To me, the quote speaks to attention.  As a coach, I pay attention to two things: (1) What others do to get attention, and (2) what others pay attention to.  Let's explore the two sides of attention by using the above phrase as a metaphor.


Let's assume the "wheel" is a person and the "grease" is attention. Using the DIG Coaching "Interest" Model to diagnose what is really going on, we learn the person (the wheel) is interested and passionate about getting attention (grease). If a person wants attention, there is an incentive to squeak. Alternatively, if squeaking gets old, maybe the wheel (person) will rattle (i.e., squeak) or maybe grind (i.e., squeak). The point is, the person can make a lot of sounds that may appear to be different, but in the end, it is all about getting attention! The quote also implies, if a person squeaks, rattles, or grinds, someone will respond by giving them attention.


Now consider this: We are all humans, and humans are social animals. To different degrees and in different ways, we all want attention and we all pay attention to each other. That said, when was the last time someone approached you and specifically asked you to pay attention to them? Conversely, when was the last time you specifically asked someone to pay attention to you? I don't know about you, but for me it is awkward to admit I need attention. It makes me feel vulnerable. 


Ask yourself this: When was the last time you showed off something new or gawked over something someone else was showing you? In either of these instances, were you or the other person "squeaking," "rattling," or "grinding"? In other words, was it really about the item being shown off? Or was the item being used to get them to pay attention to you or vice versa? 


New clothes, trophies, fancy cars, big houses, awards, money, being the class clown, fame, etc. What is the one thing that all of these things have in common? People pay attention to them. So, what do you do to get attention? Are there better ways to get attention that would serve you?


Conversely, ask yourself this: What do you pay attention to? Spending quality time with your kids, focusing on your health, exercising, getting sleep and relaxation, as well as stopping to enjoy life?  What do all of these things have in common?  They are important things that are not urgent--i.e., they don't typically "squeak," "rattle," or "grind"--but they are important.  So, are you paying attention to what is most important?  Is it serving you?  If not, what should you be paying attention to?  What is possible if you paid attention to it? 


What I have learned as a coach is that few people understand attention.  Few acknowledge that they need to pay attention to something in order to stimulate (and satisfy) their brain.  Most people do not recognize that they need to be the object of attention.  What you do to get attention or what you pay attention to is a choice and something you can actually manage. Remember, obstacles often become possibilities if you just shift your attention.  

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Recent Shows to Listen to in Our Archives


ADHD: Rules for Effective Incentives 
Establishing habits or finding motivation to do boring things is most effective by piggybacking on existing habits or using what you naturally attend to as a way to get around what you struggle to focus on. For those who need help reaching their goals or need an extra push, there are some key characteristics necessary for effective incentives. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, Dr. Abigail Levrini discusses these rules and shares examples of effective incentives. If you are trying to change habits or find motivation, this is a show you don't want to miss.


ADHD: Behavior Response and Reinforcement   

Attention and the object of attention are two different things. Most focus on the object of attention because it's more tangible. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, we interview Dr. Craig Wiener, licensed psychologist, to talk about behavior in the context of ADHD, responses to the behavior, and reinforcements of the behavior. Anyone who listens to this show will know we love to pay attention to attention, and this is right up our alley. If you want to learn about attention or behavior, you don't want to miss this show.

Mindfulness and ADHD without the Fluff
Mindfulness, awareness, medication... it all sounded fluffy until host and ADHD coach Jeff Copper interviewed the experts and finally "got" it. In this episode of Attention Talk Radio, Jeff interviews Mark Bertin MD on the topic in a concrete way. Mindfulness will be defined and illustrated in the context of ADHD, and Dr. Bertin explains how it is a powerful tool in managing executive function, self-regulation, and attention. Join us for this insightful show. 

Reminder to Calendar Upcoming Shows 

ADHD: Stress and Anxiety in a Context We Can All Understand
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 8 pm ET
How can you manage anything if you don't know what you're managing? For example, how are stress, anxiety, and daily hassles different from each other? What about anticipation and actual events? Can stress be different from, say, physical, biological, cognitive, or emotional perspectives? What strategies work for managing stress, anxiety, or daily hassle? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this episode of Attention Talk Radio where host, attention coach Jeff Copper, interviews Dr. Blythe Colbert of Vanderbilt University. If you have ADHD and stress or anxiety...and you know you do... you can't miss this show.

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ADD College Survival Tips: Getting Up and Financial Independence
The transition to college is more about learning life skills and not just academics. Two areas often overlooked are (1) addressing financial independence with an eye toward the impact on a credit rating and (2) assuming the simple responsibility of getting oneself up in the morning. Get details in our interview with Rob Tudisco, executive director of Edge Foundation (

Click image to watch the video



ADHD as a Difference in Cognition, not a Disorder  -- Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU 

Stephen Tonti is a senior directing major at Carnegie Mellon University and the current president of CMU's Film Club. He has ADHD and shares his insight on ADHD not being a disorder, but rather just a difference in cognition.   


Click image to watch the video.

ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder: Stephen Tonti at TEDxCMU  

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Copyright 2013 Attention Talk News, Tampa, FL, USA.  All rights reserved. 

Editor's Note

Jeff Copper, Editor

Our intention is to share audio, video, and printed content to capture your interest and perhaps inspire you to pay attention to something differently. Enjoy.

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