Delusion of agency

An #adhd thing, especially among people who don't suspect they have ADHD. You don't identify yourself as someone who is unable to follow through on their decisions because it seems to you that of course, you can. When you need to.

You have to shatter the delusion by asking e.g. "Okay, so when did you last follow a decision that came from yourself?"

(Decisions that could be acted-on right away don't count.)

I'll wait.

In support of the delusion is cryptomnesia: the habit of forgetting all the times you tried something new and it failed to stick, so this time around, you still think it's a new trick and honestly believe it will work.

You suffer from unassailable optimism. Your "can I?"-meter is stuck on "yes" and you never learn.

I suppose it's nice that an unending stream of disappointments never kills your enthusiasm. But it's seriously maladaptive… It's why when someone texts you asking to do them a favor, you don't reply to the message because you're not sure when you can do it, but you definitely think you can eventually, you just feel you shouldn't say so until it's happening. No matter how many hours or days or weeks pass, you never generate the thought that "maybe I can't", so you don't ever just tell your friend for their information that maybe you can't. You still think you can and you still intend to. Then years pass without a text.

It's a logic failure, and a damn bizarre species of one.

Midas prioritizationđź”—

Antidote to the delusion of agency: first get conscious of how little agency you have. You had basically no say in getting to where you are, right? Your life so far happened by accident? Then extrapolate: you cannot believe that even now you have any say in where you will go from here!

When you finish crying, learn to work with that, with the absence of control. Accept that none of your desires will come to pass, so long as you prioritize them. Read that again.

Do you know the story of King Midas? He was cursed such that everything he touched turned into gold. He couldn't touch his friends, for they'd turn to gold. He couldn't eat, for the food would turn to gold.

With regards to priorities, you have Midas' touch and must not touch anything that feels important. Use Nonstandard ways to cope with ADHD.

You can also think of it as a "gorgon module". Your brain has a subroutine, basically malware, that if it's plugged in while you think about a goal that you'd like to accomplish, it petrifies that goal and you cannot progress.

I'm talking about a pattern of counterproductive mental chatter (Avoid causing harm with your inner chatter).

Keep Medusa locked away in a dark cell, don't let her look at anything. And the simplest way to do that—

—is to have no priorities.

When you only ever do things for fun, you'll by accident do useful things too. But the moment you see those activities as useful, bam! Petrified.

Oh, it's a task? Now you're this comic:

Comic; an anthropomorphized task asks a character for 15 minutes of attention, who freezes for 8 hours and then 8 months

Note that admitting this actually changes nothing in practice. You were avoiding your priorities already, weren't you? So what will be different?

With no agency, it makes no sense to make plans.

Why were you trying to make plans all this time? That unassailable optimism?

Admit the absence of agency, and you free up your mind for pursuits other than pointlessly gripping the reins of an untrained horse. Perhaps in between bouts of Minecraft, you find yourself genuinely wanting to chip away at the creative challenge of how to fool employers into hiring you—but it's not useful, of course.

the motivation game

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Created (2 months ago)