Bored For 35 Hours

Bored for 35 Hours - ADHD


Since I have been so preoccupied with working on this site and its content and development, I thought it might be a good idea to have a guest poster.  In keeping with my philosophy of Living In The Positive, I am featuring this short, inspiring piece by Dr. Ron Bashian.

I hope you find it as uplifting as I did!


A periodic contributor, Ron Bashian, M.D. is a pediatrician who coaches students with ADHD.  He also evaluates his clients’ unique executive functions profile.


People with ADHD have many strengths, including creativity, bubbling energy, and spontaneity. This story, from The Elephant in the ADHD Room – beating boredom as the secret to managing ADHD, (Letitia Sweitzer, 2014) taught me a few new ones.

Harry Briggs was a pain-in-the-neck high school student with ADHD. Bored, but quick witted and easily irritated, Harry was your classical “wise guy.” He regularly provoked one teacher in a way which made the whole class break up laughing – but not his teacher. One day, his exasperated teacher grabbed Harry’s shirt, and hauled Harry up, eyeball to eyeball.

As an adult, Harry happened to bump into that teacher, and apologized. But Harry did more than that. He found an academic field he really liked, got a PhD over 10 years, and taught. He also started a few businesses.

And Harry did yet more. Remaining fidgety and restless, he trained to swim across Lake Erie – 32 miles, taking about 35 hours. He “chunked” the journey into segments – having the captain stop every half hour, and also getting crew members to interact and applause. Harry knew that applause was an “element of interest” which highly motivated him.

Finishing the swim, Harry was greeted by loud boat horns and further applause, motivating him to finish, the first person to do it. At 91, he still swims.


Boredom for 35 hours. How did Harry manage to not be overwhelmed by boredom?

-Getting “hooked” by something never done before.

-Seeing his swimming skills as meeting the challenge.

-Using his rich ADHD fantasy life and associations, to deepen motivation, develop a dedicated mindset, and convince himself he could do it.

-In his long hours of training, visualizing the exciting and personally meaningful result.

-Knowing he needed to chunk down the task, stopping with the boat every half hour

-Getting charged up by interactive applause at those times.


Link an ADHD mind to challenging, new, personally relevant, and exciting goals – and who knows what will happen.

Ron Bashian, M.D.

Ron Bashian, M.D. is a pediatrician.

He coaches students with ADHD, and evaluates his clients’ unique executive functions profile.

Twitter: @adviceonadhd

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  • cheryl

    Precisely why I started running in high school….suddenly I could focus. Put some students into my cross country team with the “fidgets” and they too were able to complete their classwork more easily.

    • Liz

      I’m so glad you came back! 🙂

  • cheryl

    And long distance swimming is hardly “boring”!

    • Liz

      I agree long distance swimming sounds hard! exhausting might be a better word.
      I know a guy who bikes or runs to work each day, year round. I asked him where his energy comes from. (he works with small children.)
      He told me that he has been ADHD since he was a kid and when he gets 2-3 hours per day he can sleep. Otherwise he cannot sleep at all.
      I think it’s pretty cool that he has figured out exactly how much physical exertion he needs each day to function and sleep. He should do public talks on physical activity as medication for ADHD.