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I Am the Man with the Grasshopper Brain

My brain never stops. Some days I wish I had access to a pause button like TIVO (if you don’t know what TIVO is, Google it).

Are you the type of person who has an endless stream of ideas, thoughts and self-reflective visions?

For those who can relate to my blessed discomfort, you understand how hard it is to focus on a single task. Over the years, I spent more time trying to figure out what was wrong with me rather than turning those ideas into action steps. People would become increasingly frustrated with me due to my inability to see a single project through to completion. I was known as the guy you go to for ideas, but not as someone who was responsible enough to get stuff done.

That sucks! No one wants to be known as a slacker. I worked my butt off, just not in the same way others define “work.”

Pushing a pencil was not something I was strong at. School was extremely difficult for me. I was only able to retain the information that I found interesting. Anything I was forced to learn would be brain-dumped as soon as that bell rang. My grades reflected my lack of attention, and it wasn’t long until became fed-up with curriculums, school counselors, and teachers who told me I’d never amount to anything.

The thought of pursuing higher education by attending college made my skin crawl. I was just happy to graduate high school! Why would I ever volunteer for more of the same punishment? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the idea of college. But at this point, my views on educations were insanely bent!

I just wanted out….so I joined the military.

My eleven years in the Air Force were enjoyable. Well, some of them were. There were times when I felt trapped. I was in it for the paycheck, locked into a contracted term of enlistment for a certain amount of years with no sign of early parole. I was told what to wear, how to cut my hair, where to be and when to be there. But that’s how the military works. A certain level of discipline is required to maintain order and structure. It works for them…but not for me.

Once again, I found myself searching for a sense of belonging and acceptance. Certainly, after over a decade in the military, I had to have some marketable skills. But would the application of those skills bring me satisfaction? The answer to that question was made quickly evident.

Nope.

My life was turning into a bad novel nestled on the crooked shelves of a dollar store. A story about a man who felt that he was created for a specific purpose, but hadn’t the foggiest idea as to what that purpose was.

I’m sure we’ve all felt lost at some point. A prolonged feeling of absence brought on a state of depression. And not the, “Monday morning after your favorite NFL team lost,” I’m talking about a deep, bottomless, black void of a depression. Combine that with a brain that runs on high-octane, and you have an issue that needs some attending to.

That attention came in several forms. Pills, family, newly discovered friends, and positive psychology. Working your way out of a deep depression is like solving a Rubik’s cube after eating fried chicken. It’s doable, but that tasty grease no longer serves the same function.

One tool that helped me gain a little friction on that multicolored mystery block was a book titled StrengthsFinder 2.0.  The book, along with the assessment, provided me with terminology I could use as a way to express how my unique brain functions.

The title of this article contains the words “Grasshopper Brain.” Not two words you’d normally see sitting next to each other in a blog about self-activation and personal development, buy hey…that’s how I roll. Anyway, for those who don’t know how it feels to have your thoughts resemble kernels in a hot-air popcorn maker, think of how a grasshopper looks bounding along between the blades of grass in your front lawn. They move from left to right, right to further right, back to front, and then rest a minute. After a short pause, this rhythm-less dance starts all over again. It continues until the sun drifts below the horizon. And even in the midnight hour, they spend their time rubbing their hind legs together to create an even more distracting ruckus.

Now a year ago, I would have said that the functionality of my brain was a by-product of eating paste in kindergarten, or sniffing that purple marker that smelled like grape Jolly ranchers, but today my outlook is a little different.

My Top 5:

Strategic – Futuristic – Woo – Ideation – Communication

Strategic (as it applies to me) – I’m not the guy who’s going to have the blueprints readily available for your review. Why? Because they only exist in one place. My head! I have each step of the process thoughtfully laid out in a high security, steel guarded, and Rottweiler patrolled fortress in my mind. Only one person has unlimited access to it. Me, myself and I!

But I can clearly explain to you how the plan works. This introduces you to my other dominant theme.

Communication (as it applies to me) – I don’t want to share my ideas with you because I think you’re super awesome! I want to share them with you because I have to. It makes me feel good to clean up the clutter in my “Hoarderish” brain. I am compelled to give my opinion, promote my ideas, or even type this blog because it creates a new void in my head which can then be filled with something new. Until I give one thought the proverbial boot, it’s stuck stiff-arming new ones from forming.

How will I get you to listen? You don’t even know me!

Woo (as it applies to me) – People are drawn to me. This isn’t a cocky statement, it’s a newly acquired realization. I don’t know why, but they like to listen to me speak. I guess they don’t have enough crazy in their own lives, they want a dash of mine to spice things up. I’m not shy sharing things with others either. And I even learned how to do it without stepping over that thin line that divides interesting and weirdo.

Take this blog post for example. I’m sure the fact that it was written under a headline which contained the word grasshopper, left you slightly more intrigued than usual. And that was my plan! I needed to share with you my interpretation of my own Top 5.

How did you ever think to write a post like this? Was it just an idea?

Yup!

Ideation (as it applies to me) – I shouldn’t have to go into too much detail here. I’ve already expressed the grasshopper reference above. Ideas fire in my brain like a Gatling gun! One after the other with limited space in between. It’s exhausting to be honest. But every once in a while it yields some awesome results. I hope this post is one of them.

So what happens now? What’s next for you, Andy? Well since you asked…

Futuristic (as it applies to me) – I’m always thinking about the future. It kind of reminds of the movie Dude! Where’s my car?

In the movie, two dysfunctional (I guess that’s the pot calling the kettle black) dudes cruise into a Chinese food restaurant’s drive-thru. One of the dudes places an order, and the woman on the other end of the speaker says, “And then?” He orders another dish, and again the woman questions, “And then?” The guy says that he’s finished with his order, but the woman keeps saying, “And then?” The dude grows increasingly frustrated, but with every attempt to explain that he’s done ordering, she replies the same way each and every time…”And then?”

Futuristic is like a long string of “And Then’s.”  Each question leads me to the next step. I can see how each action will impact my future. If this…than that.

So there you have it! A quick glimpse into the mind of a strengths-aware lover of life. At one point in my journey I would have given anything to hold in my hands a detailed map pointing me in the right direction. A turn-by-turn navigation system focused on getting me from point A to B.

But now I embrace the adventure. I’m no longer concerned with fitting into a particular mold.

Speaking of mold…I’m hungry for Jell-O.

Have a good day 🙂 ~Andy Sokolovich

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR OWN

STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0 ASSESSMENT CODE

photo credit: Doundounba via photopin cc

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About The WOO Warrior

Andy is a GALLUP-Certified Strengths Coach, and the owner of UnleashStrengths. He lives with his wife, Marlana, and two children, Adelyn & Drew, in the small Midwest town of Clinton, Iowa. he can be reached at andy@unleashstrengths.com View all posts by The WOO Warrior

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1 Comment(s)

  1. September 9, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Great story, Andy! You do remind me of me!

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