What ADHDers Can Learn from Jane Goodall
I write these words on the afternoon of March 25, 2019. I have just returned from watching a performance of Me…Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall (which is based on the book Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell which is based on the life of Jane Goodall). I loved it (and not just because my sister-in-law played the lead). In fact, I cried. More than once! This silly kids show made me cry. Therefore, I thought I would share what I found so moving about this story and what I think we ADHDers can learn from this story.
Follow Your Passion
Early in the show, Jane’s mother encourages her to follow her passion. We, too, should not be afraid to pursue our passions. The ADHD brain is such that, if we are not passionate about what we are doing, we won’t do it well or we won’t do it at all. However, when engaged in a task in which there is genuine interest, the ADHD brain is unstoppable. We ADHDers need to hack that and pursue what makes feel alive. For Young Jane Goodall, this is, “Animals, animals, animals, animals, animals…” (It’ll sound better in song) About what are you passionate? What makes you feel alive? Do that thing!
YOU Are What Makes Your Dreams Come True
Young Jane Goodall has no idea how to go from being a young girl in England to studying animals in Africa. She asks her mom for advice who tells her, “You are what makes your dreams come true.”
If you want something, go get it. Sometimes, all someone with ADHD needs is permission to act. So, I give you permission; go pursue your goals.
Don’t Wait for Someday; Start Today
Young Jane Goodall keeps talking about going to Africa to study animals in the future. Her mother tells her to stop talking about someday and tells her to focus on today. So, Jane sets off to prepare for going to Africa by studying the animals she can find around her home.
We ADHDers know how to procrastinate. We know how to do so too well. But, Jane’s mother’s advice should serve as a reminder to not wait. Begin today. Strive for excellence today.
Do It Your Way
Towards the end of the show, Jane receives a book by one of the leading scientists of the day. She reads in the book that dogs do not have feelings. Her dog, Rusty, then becomes upset and tries to convince her that he does have feelings. The song that follows pits Rusty against the professor who wrote the book. By the end of the song Jane can clearly see that her dog has feelings and a distinct personality, two conclusions that differed from the standard beliefs of the scientific community of the day. The real life Jane Goodall would later go on to observe this in chimpanzees and write about it.
We ADHDers are often told to be like everyone else and to do things the way they do things. However, we cannot do things their way. If you have ADHD, you need to operate in a manner that works with your brain, not against it. Do things your way.
Don’t Listen to the Naysayers
Throughout the show, Jane encounters people who tell her young girls don’t grow up to become scientists. They tell her she would make a great secretary or air hostess. However, Jane does not want to do those things. She wants to follow her dream of studying animals in Africa. She ignores the naysayers and grows up to become one of the greatest (if not THE greatest) primatologist of all time.
We ADHDers are often told we can’t do things. Yet, the list of successful people with ADHD is staggering. We can do difficult things. We can achieve our goals and dreams. So, don’t listen to the naysayers. Be awesome.