Know one of those brilliant brains that can’t have a sustained human conversation because their mind races too fast? They may suffer from a not-so-rare disorder. And you hold the cure – if you print out the following article and hand them a copy.
(With permission from Utah Valley Business Q)
We may have an epidemic among us. At the next networking meeting you attend, wash your hands immediately afterward – maybe five times for good measure. Despite medical evidence to the contrary, a previously thought incommunicable disease is spreading faster than copies of Who Moved My Cheese?
The disease is Short Attention Span Syndrome, or SASS.
Perhaps someone you know and love is affected. Perhaps you yourself have noticed some of the following symptoms.
-Shifting in your seat and coughing just a little too loudly during a boring meeting.
-Saying to your significant other, I’m sorry, honey, could you repeat that? I wasn’t paying attention.
-Going to sleep while mentally rifling through a mile-long to-do list
Many with these symptoms joke, «I must have ADD!» However, only 4 to 8 percent have the genetic condition referred to as ADD – more correctly termed ADHD, – which is present from birth and, while treatable, is permanent. The dreaded disease of SASS, on the other hand, develops over time.
Symptoms begin to appear around the teenage years and slowly accelerate until they become a frenzy of activity and mental noise. SASS is viral. It passes from manager to employee, from spouse to spouse, from parents to children and from children to parents.
Most common is the passing of SASS from entrepreneurial types: business owners, risk-tasking executives, sales professionals, visionaries. Entrepreneurs develop SASS themselves, typically in the incubator of their own ever-changing minds. While most everyone has a lot to do, entrepreneurs have the tendency to pick up a lot more «To-Dos» than the average person. They then pass the virus on to those around them.
Entrepreneurs pass SASS to their employees in the form of altered objectives, multi-tasking, bold initiatives, training meetings, revised agendas, organizational restructuring, innovation after innovation, and of course, more meetings. They pass it on, unable to listen to the comments of others as they continue to create more to-dos in their mind.
Then they return to the quiet of their own homes and continue to think about more changes and more To-Do’s deep into the night. They are often oblivious to the peas and carrots on their plate and the 8-year-old wanting to play Bob the Builder.
There is hope. SASS is a curable condition. Those afflicted by SASS usually have developed an altered sense of reality. Recommended therapy is as follows.
First, have the subject look in a mirror. Ask them, How many of you are there? Sometimes, the SASSy individual thinks outside the box to the point that they insist there are two of them. In this case, have them repeat 50 times the phrase, «There is only one of me. There is only one of me.»
Second, have the subject look at a clock. At the beginning of a minute, ask the subject to count each second as it passes. At the end of the minute, as them how many seconds there were. If the number is anything other than 60, repeat this exercise 59 times. At the end of the hour, ask them how many minutes there were. If necessary, repeat this exercise another 23 times and ask them about hours in the day.
Finally, find the subject’s calendar. They may have more than one calendar. Explain to them that, since there is only one timeline in the real world, they can only have only one calendar. Next, look for double-bookings. Again, explain to them in a firm but loving tone that, since there is only one of them, they can only be in one place at a time. If travel time is not properly scheduled, explain to them that, since faxing one’s self has yet to be invented, they will be unable to magically teleport from location to location.
As therapy continues, SASSy entrepreneurs will gradually overcome their delusion that their disease makes them more productive. They will come to learn the truth of the proverb, «man who chases two chickens catches none.»
There is hope for the SASSy entrepreneur. With your help and the help of professionals, they can and most often do come back to reality.