As a writer, you must know by now that we writers have several personality traits in common. Many of us tend to be introverts, creative to a high degree, and even our personalities can stray from the norm.
So it comes as no surprise when a high percentage of authors discover they have LLI–or low latent inhibition. LLI refers to your brain’s inability to filter mass quantities of stimuli (sights, sounds, details). As we age, this ability is developed as our brain tends to overlook things categorized as unimportant. For example: Think of your neighbor’s mailbox. You pass it by every day on your way to work, yet, unless it’s an extraordinarily extravagant mailbox, would you be able to muster more details other than the color or basic shape? Would you notice if your neighbor put a small dink in the box one day as he pulled up to get the mail?
If you have LLI, your brain is unable to look past such unimportant information. You could probably recall several more details about this mailbox. You would certainly notice the dent. As your LLI mind is forced to sort, process and categorize these details, you would probably be able to deduce the time of day it happened, the new dent in the car mirror as you pass your neighbor on the road, the finger smudge where the neighbor tried to rub the mailbox paint from the new car, and the tension between the mailbox-hitter and the spouse. And that’s putting it simply.
It sounds maddening, right? It’s quite a bit for your brain to take in, having LLI. Sometimes too much. Here’s a quick rundown of how LLI and IQ go hand in hand:
LLI + low IQ = severe disorders such as autism
LLI + normal IQ = ADHD, chronic depression, psychosis, prone to slip into severe mental illness.
LLI + high IQ = extremely high-functioning individual, numerous talents, possible creative genius.
In essence, LLI is quite often–and most likely–a curse. But in very rare circumstances, it can be a gift. The problem is, most people affected by LLI don’t know they have it. Since it’s a birth-trait, it just seems normal, and many people are able to function in day-to-day jobs and hold a decent social life. So the question is:
DO YOU HAVE LLI? Read through the checklist to determine if you’re impacted by LLI, and follow up with the short “How to Cope” section.
1. Increased awareness of your surrounding environment. Example: You may be engaged in conversation, yet you can hear and understand several conversations around you.
2. You learn extremely quick. Folks with LLI find they are happiest in a Jack-of-all-Trades job. A wide array of creative hobbies is another indicator.
3. You’re able to make the same advanced connections in a subject you’re only mildly interested in versus a normal person with a deep interest in the same subject. Example: Did you often correct your teachers as a child?
4. It can be frustrating waiting for others to arrive at a conclusion you’ve already figured. Sometimes you gently guide others toward the proper answer to keep from seeming like a know-it-all.
5. Your dreams are incredibly lucid and so surreal you cannot make sense of it or hardly describe it aloud. You can even acknowledge when you’re dreaming and manipulate your dream.
6. Reading is a chore because your brain has to look at and study each letter independently before it forms the word. You read slower, and if you aren’t captivated, you have to read sentences and paragraphs multiple times because your mind wanders far too easily.
7. You have a very curious nature because your brain is always in a constant state of “WHY?” Not a second goes by that you aren’t questioning things, even while conversing with others.
8. Hallucinating without being under the influence of drugs can occasionally happen during times of extreme stress or sleep deprivation.
9. You’re a master of reading people. You can see through lies and ill intent with the most subtle of body language. You’re extremely perceptive and cannot be manipulated easily, but tact is a must because family and friends lie and manipulate constantly. You tend to have anti-social tendencies because of this and the list of people you trust is incredibly small.
10. You’re a natural strategist, able to consider an incredible number of variables, dependent upon the initial action, and even the most infinitesimal variables come into play in your master plan.
11. Your brain will not allow you to forget traumatic experiences. Your mind refuses to block things out like a normal person would, so healing takes a great deal longer and the possibility of mental illness much greater. You may also have very early memories of childhood such as weeks or months old. You may even remember communicating in your head with full sentences before you’ve learned to speak words.
12. Your intuition is incredibly strong. You can sniff out a bad situation before it happens. Your instincts are rarely wrong and if they are, it’s usually because you have overridden them simply to give an individual the benefit of a doubt.
13. You’re able to create associations between people and or things and the stimuli that goes with them in very different ways. This makes folks with LLI inventors, theorists, novelists, and supreme problem solvers.
14. You may be great at driving, but new cities can trigger an anxiety attack due to the inability to control the influx of stimuli. Too many lights, cars, noises, details, possibilities.
15. Sleep has eluded you since as far back as you can remember, partly because your brain doesn’t know it’s time to rest. All it knows is “GO.” Folks who have become a master of their LLI tend to be extremely hard workers, knowing that sheer exhaustion is the only thing that will make them fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleeping aids are usually ineffective.
16. You’re overly empathetic. You forgive people when they don’t deserve it because you’re worried about hurting the indirectly associated people.
17. You can very easily forget your train of thought and fall into a complete trance, not noticing you’ve gone completely immobile (unblinking even) until something jars your attention.
18. School is a challenge due to the way things are taught. You learn with visual and hands-on experience because you cannot focus on verbal lessons.
19. You can be very intolerant of teamwork, because the other members hold you back.
20. You absolutely despise stereotypes, limits and conforming. You never care about the same things others do, which makes politics, gossip, and drama largely superfluous and annoying.
21. You’re incredibly tactile. You must touch EVERYTHING and categorize it in a forever-growing encyclopedia, able to recall infallibly.
22. Some people will turn to drugs to reduce the constant barrage of stimuli, however, bizarre, life-altering side effects can occur.
23. Repetition can be infuriating. Various degrees of OCD is also likely to accompany LLI.
24. You reflexes are top-notch, because your brain processes possibilities far more quickly than other people. When things go south in a hurry, LLI folk’s reaction times and quick thinking can save lives.
SO, IS THIS YOU? If so, know that you’re not alone. Your LLI can be managed. Find and communicate with others like you and check out the LLI Facebook page. And follow these steps if you’re having difficulty controlling your anxiety or coping:
- Walk with your head down whenever possible to manually filter the stimuli, so to speak.
- Turn off the radio when you drive in unfamiliar cities.
- Eat espresso beans to marry your focus and the influx of stimuli for high performance situations.
- If you struggle with paying attention in meetings, draw. It keeps your wandering mind corralled.
- Keep a stress stone in your pocket to rub when you need to.
- Be wary of listening to too much depressing or rage music, since your mood is far more easily influenced.
- Work your ass off! Exhaust yourself. You’re more likely to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Find a Jack-of-all-Trades job and keep it. You’ll train your brain to become more of a tool for you, rather than a weapon against you.
- Boring job? Write a novel.
- Force yourself to have some social interaction, even when you really don’t want to. It’ll help your social anxiety.
Now, may you feel empowered and confident enough to tap into that creativity you’ve locked away in an effort to appear normal. Use your LLI to write something great! And remember the wise words of creative genius, Albert Einstein: “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”
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