Megalomania

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Megalomania

Postby Lector » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:39 pm

My problem is a little odder than most. I live on disability and so don't have the necessity of finding a “good enough” job. I am fortunate in that I can devote all of my time and energy to reading and writing. However, I am unable to simply enjoy the time I have for study and writing. Instead, I am often so focused upon a project I reach a point of megalomania, and feel I must be among the very greatest if I do it at all.

I have ADHD subtype Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, so I understand that component of my personality. Yet, not being able to simply live life in the present without worrying about posterity, and without the need for some form of external validation and adulation, has made life miserable most of the time. Why can't I just write what I want and study what I want without the constant desire to attain a Nobel prize? :bash:
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Re: Megalomania

Postby shparks » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:53 pm

I used to feel that way sometimes. Now I realize that life is more fun if you don't care whether you accomplish anything important.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Lector » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:11 pm

Thanks for replying to my post. I think I have some form of obsessive-compulsive circular reasoning that I need to deprogram.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby skannie » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:22 pm

Hi Lector

If you’re motivated by external validation and adulation I think you need to arrange to get some, instead of beating yourself up because you think you shouldn’t want them. Nothing wrong with having the Nobel Prize or some other big award as a goal. But if you think about it, Nobel Prize-winners don’t start from scratch with one big, perfect, amazing project that suddenly lands them the ultimate prize. They build up their body of work and reputation gradually with small projects which get small amounts of recognition, until it eventually all adds up to something big. So you’ll have to do the same.

Only you can decide what kind of recognition works for you, how much you need, who from and how often. And it might vary from project to project. But here are a few suggestions.

You could start by bragging about your achievements in the Success Stories section of these boards. For more serious online recognition and reputation building you can write a blog about your studies, or a have your own YouTube Channel or Blog-Talk Radio show. You can contribute your knowledge to other relevant forums or blog comments, and post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It usually takes some patience and persistance before you get much attention, but if you work at it you can build a dedicated readership who love your stuff. (You’ll inevitably get spammers and maybe a few nasty trolls as well, but you can delete them.)

Offline, you could print and distribute newsletters, or arrange to give readings, talks or exhibitions about your projects, maybe at first in your own home for a few friends, then progress to a library or café or community centre. Or form a group with other writers to give joint readings and publish a magazine together. You can enter competitions and exhibitions, write a column for your local newspaper, get interviewed by your local radio, send articles to other magazines and newspapers for publication, or join Toastmasters and make speeches about your projects. Sometimes it could be appropriate to do a course or take a test and get a grade or certificate as validation. Or you could teach your own courses and workshops about what you learn.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby shparks » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:19 pm

Maybe there are small community awards that you could try to win:
Ribbons at a County Fair
Local Art Contests
Local Writing Contests
Start Your Own Contest
ETC.

Also, if you have any interest in working with kids, you could volunteer and become a winning coach of some sport or academic competition.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Lector » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:09 pm

Thanks for the advice. I guess it's the fact that I'm coming up on my thirty-fifth birthday, and I'm finally being forced to confront the fact that it just isn't going to happen for me--fame that is. Up until recently I have lived my life upon false expectations, and I am trying to find purpose in the writing its self rather than in what it brings me. It's foolish to live in hope of a future that one cannot foresee, but it's just that kind of short circuited logic that makes me think its a chemical imbalance of the brain. :)
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Re: Megalomania

Postby skannie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:35 am

Yeah you’re right. 35 is far too old to achieve anything significant. Time to book your plot in the cemetery. And why bother doing any projects? Easier to pass the rest of your days watching trashy TV ;-)
It's foolish to live in hope of a future that one cannot foresee, but it's just that kind of short circuited logic that makes me think its a chemical imbalance of the brain.
Nobody can foresee the future, yet almost everyone lives in hope of something. Does that mean we all have short-circuited logic and chemical imbalances? What is foolish is to sit around hoping and dreaming for something without making plans and taking actions to achieve it.

You really need to stop analysing and pathologising every aspect of your personality. Are you spending too much time at home alone? Get out and socialise more, or even better, volunteer to do something useful. And I expect you need to boost your vitamin D levels that have run down over the last months, unless you live somewhere that’s sunny in winter, so in that sense there could be a chemical imbalance.

Have you read any of Barbara Sher’s books? Oh probably the Scanner book, but I recommend you also read her first book, Wishcraft, and do the exercises in it. The first part will make you clearer about what you really want out of life, and what motivates you. The second part gives you practical methods for achieving it.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Lector » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:24 pm

Thanks for writing skannie. I don't think I pathologize over much, but ADHD brings with it certain mental speed bumps. I don't know if you have this disorder, it's very difficult to describe, or my OCD which is co-morbid. I got married this past September, so I'm not alone, but it would be nice to live in an area with more intellectually inclined people. Your profile says you're from Slovakia, not to change the subject, but I've always wished to visit Europe. Not much history in southern Ohio.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby emspace » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:57 am

Lector, I've had these same thoughts, though not as severely as you apparently do. Part of me wonders if it was poor conditioning when I was young, getting accolades for things that came to me easily. Did that set me up to expect continued recognition? Possibly. Or possibly as you wonder, it could just be my wiring. Either way, it’s not useful in the adult world.

I’ve been hearing this message for 13 years at my workplace, and I’m hearing it more and more from others, but it’s only now finally starting to really sink: do what you love and the rewards will come later. For now, though, you just have to focus on doing what you love and doing it the way you love to do it, for yourself and no one else. When you do what you love and do a lot of it, eventually, other people can't help but take notice. If you do it a lot, you can't help but get better at it. If you really love it, you can’t help but continue doing it. Without rewards.

As for a practical suggestion for getting through your need to produce stellar writing every time you sit down, try this: write a passage twice, once for the Nobel committee, and once for yourself. Allot a certain amount of time (an hour, say) to write something dedicated to the Nobel judges. Then allot the exact same time to write the exact same material for just yourself and no other readers. You can even burn your “self” version after if that helps you write freely without caring that someone else will read it and judge it. Then again, maybe you’ll compare both versions and find your “self” version to be more interesting, more creative, more alive? Or maybe it’ll just free you up to get more words down. After all, the only way to get better at writing (or anything else for that matter) is to write a lot. Just keep getting the words down.
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Re: Megalomania

Postby Lector » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:53 am

Thanks emspace. That's a really good idea, I'll try it.
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