Someday I’m going to write a book called The Band-Aid Theory.
Actually, “Someday” is not a day of the week. So scratch that. On a day—a specific day I will mark on my calendar when I set my goals for the year—I will begin the process of writing a book called The Band-Aid Theory.
There’s a lot that goes into it—hence, an entire book—but for the sake of oversimplified brevity, here’s the basic gist:
Humans tend to look for the quickest, easiest Band-Aid solution rather than doing the digging it takes to get to a Root Cause Solution.
Example: my son. He has a LEGO bucket he hurts his foot on regularly because he can’t always clear the space when he walks by it. And every time he whimpers and whines, requesting a literal Band-Aid solution. But when I suggest, instead of single-handedly funding the bandage and boo-boo cream industry, that he move the LEGO bucket to another location, I am met with sheer indignance.
I swear it’s like I’ve insulted his ancestors or something.
Imagine my level of amusement, given my near-constant consciousness of this theory, when I participated in a 3-day workshop, entitled How to Achieve Predictable Success in Your Art, in which the majority of the discussion centered around grit, perseverance, and discipline. I could probably pontificate for days on all the ways this workshop seemed to be triggering the masses, but for now I’ll simply focus on one: the way it triggered me.
And Band-Aid Theory is center stage.
One of the speakers, Jake, talked about getting up at 5:30 am every morning. The importance of getting up early was discussed at length. My initial response? Nope. Can’t do that.
I’ll elaborate. I have a mysterious chronic health issue. I’m in the process of getting to the bottom of it, but that’s not the point here. The point is that part of this issue comes with insane migraines that are completely debilitating. I’m at my highest risk of having one of these migraines if 1) I haven’t eaten enough and/or 2) I haven’t slept enough. So, get up at 5:30 am? Hell to the no. I’d just be setting myself up to be less functional and less productive if a migraine hits me.
Now… here’s where that Band-Aid Theory comes in. I could accept my migraine situation as it is and decide that I have to sleep in because of it. That would be my easy, Band-Aid solution. OR, I could dig in.
If I want to get up early, but also get enough sleep, what do I need to do? Go to bed earlier.
And there’s the next trigger.
I can’t just “go to bed earlier.” It’s not that simple for me.
Recently, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’m 38 years old, by the way. Years and years of carrying shame and guilt for Starting All the Things but never being able to finish, complete, or accomplish Any Of the Things. If you know, you know.
I can’t just fall asleep earlier. My brain just doesn’t shut off.
I’ll be lying in bed at 1:30 am solving that work problem, remembering that I need to pay my daughter’s costume fee for dance class, trying to figure out when I should make time to run to the grocery store (knowing full well I’ll most likely lose track of time that day fixating on something else and I’ll be having to re-figure out the store trip again the next night), and sorting through my negative thoughts telling me that no matter how much I try to keep up, I’m a fraud who will never be able to sustain long-term success because I can’t even fall asleep when I’m supposed to…
So there it is. There’s my Band-Aid. I have ADHD so I can’t fall asleep earlier in order to wake up early.
I can refuse to let myself be defined by something.
Time to dig. And, folks… digging’s what I do best.
Little known fact about me: I was on track to become a naturopathic physician. That, and why I stopped, is a story for another day. A good one, but not for today. For today, this fact is just context.
What’s the context? With my natural health background, and a deeper dive into those resources, I know that my ADHD symptoms can be improved naturally. Omegas and healthy fats are at the core of keeping the brain “fed” enough that it’s not running on “ADHD mode.” I also know that trauma can radically affect one’s nervous system to the point that ADHD symptoms can become out of control.
There’s my choice: Band-Aid or Root Cause.
Band-Aid is accepting a situation as it is on the surface and trying to just live life around it.
Root Cause is digging enough to find the heart of the problem and finding a solution that will actually provide lasting benefits and growth.
Guess who’s taking trauma therapy and healing seriously? Guess who’s started adjusting her diet to support her body’s—and brain’s—needs? Guess who has started going to bed at 10:00 pm and now falls asleep fairly quickly?
Am I getting up at 5:30 am? No. Not yet. Yet being the operative word there. Just because you can’t do something today, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Some changes will take you more time than the person next to you. That’s okay. Rather than focusing on what you can’t do today, focus on what you CAN.
And you know what you CAN do today? Rip off the Band-Aid.
Band-Aids may help with boo-boos, but they can’t heal gangrene. Dig deeper and get to the root.
You CAN begin establishing professional habits. You CAN grow your email list. You CAN expand your marketing know-how. You CAN. You CAN. You CAN.
Start today. Make the decision.
No more Band-Aids.
Other things you CAN:
Create a one-year strategy
Apply to a gallery
Generate more leads
Become a professional artist
As of when I’m writing this update, I’ve been going to bed between 9:00 - 10:00 pm, falling asleep quickly, and getting up between 5:30 and 6:00 am every day for the last few months. I’ve gotten more painting done in that time than in the two years before it. I have far more sustainable energy to accomplish things throughout the day. My (homeschooled) children have also benefitted from this change, as their mother has the energy and focus to help them accomplish more of their goals as well. Rip off the Band-Aid, guys. It’s worth it!
Written by Julie Briggs