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Are our minds the minority?

So, here's the deal: people always say that honesty is the best policy, but to be real with you, being transparent all the time can be both a blessing and a curse. But hey, that's just who I am, and I can't help it. Since I moved to Japan, I've learned to be more discreet in stating my opinions right away. Living here has helped me a lot in that regard. If you keep reading, you'll see that I always keep it real and say it like it is. So, let's take this journey together, and I promise to be genuine in my writing. It might take some getting used to, but my friends know that I always respect their beliefs, even if we don't see eye-to-eye.

Welcome to my first blog entry, which was originally posted 5 years ago. A lot has happened since then, so I have decided to update and revise my original post to reflect those changes.. Before you continue reading, it's important for me to be clear about a few things. If you plan on frequenting my personal blog, you should know that I was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when I was 12 years old. While I have come to understand that it can make some things more difficult, I don't subscribe to the idea of it being a "deficiency" or a "disorder." My blog can be very opinionated, and I often don't back down from my views, despite what the general public thinks. Hopefully, you won't leave any of my pieces confused or upset. You can also be assured that I have read over 20 books on learning challenges to better understand how individuals like me with ADHD can succeed, despite what the medical community may have traditionally said. I hope to share some of these insights and strategies through my blog to help others who may be facing similar challenges.. I once read a book that was presented in a way that was easier to read for people with ADHD, and that book changed my life. Healing is part of moving forward, and that's what I would like to do. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I welcome you with an open heart and an open-minded view into the often-misunderstood brain of the hyperactive mind. Prepare yourself for randomness at its finest.

I want to share a few things with you about this site. First of all, I have never considered myself to be a writer, and staring at a blank screen can be uncomfortable or even downright painful at times. If the topic doesn't inspire me, I'm not likely to write about it. I'm not into assigned articles, it's just not my style. Secondly, all the articles you'll read here are true stories, and they come to me at the most unexpected times. Sometimes when I'm not in a good place, and other times when ideas are flowing out of me like a rushing river. Back in the day, a high school teacher in Ontario, Canada encouraged me to write more, but I was too busy having fun with snowboarding and skateboarding. Nevertheless, I still remember his words of encouragement 20 years later, and I sometimes regret not taking his wise advice. Lastly, I'll be the first to admit that my grammar skills are atrocious, and I won't be winning any literary awards anytime soon. But, I don't make up my stories, and I know I see things differently from most people. I am who I am, unapologetically, and I have a lot to say. Sometimes it's because I'm impulsive, and other times it's because I want to help others. Ignoring important issues facing society isn't doing anyone any good. My intentions are usually to help, even if my writing might not always be perfect. Lastly, I want you to know that even though I'm not a professional writer, I believe that we all have stories to share that can help others. I hope that by reading my blog, you will be inspired to share your own stories, and that we can all learn from each other. Let's embrace our imperfections, find our voice, and use it to make a positive difference in the world!

Our minds may be in the minority, but that doesn't mean they should be hidden or silenced. For the past 40 years, I've tried to mask my way of thinking to fit in with the majority. I spent the first 15-20 years of my life doing this to avoid judgment and to just fit in. Back then, not many people knew about ADHD, and it was easy for them to label someone like me as a problematic child. But now, I want to take you on a journey into the world of the hyperactive mind.

At the age of 12, I was put on strong meds that completely changed my personality. I went from being the life of the party, making everyone laugh, to a zombie sitting in the corner, all from a little white pill. While I'm not against taking meds if it's done the right way, I've been prescription drug-free since then because of how much it changed me.

I may have been able to concentrate better in school and maybe even received better grades, but for me, life was about enjoying the present moment, laughing with friends, and pursuing whatever sports or arts that stimulated my mind. Ritalin robbed me of all that, and I have no regrets about saying goodbye to it.

Looking back, I have some pretty amazing adventures to share, along with some not-so-smart decisions. I probably should have cared more about my grades, but what really mattered to me was staying active and being stimulated. Maybe it's typical of the minority mind, but I was only thinking a few hours in advance. I wasn't thinking about the long-term future or planning for a science project due next month.

My message to you is this: don't let society's expectations silence you. Embrace who you are and share your unique perspective with the world. It may not always be easy, but it's worth it. Life is about living in the moment, pursuing what makes you happy, and finding joy in the journey.

So, what is this blog all about? And why would I take the time to tell you random stories about my life or my favorite coffee shop? The answer is simple: ADHD, a term I dislike and feel doesn't belong in the English language. As you dive deeper into the world of the hyperactive mind, this statement will make much more sense. I was diagnosed with ADHD in my early teens, and now, at 40 years old, I want to use this blog to share my experiences and insights with others.

To be clear, the acronym ADHD or HM (Hyperactive Mind) will be used in my content going forward, for simplicity and understanding. However, I want to emphasize that I don't necessarily agree with this way of labeling us. The terms "deficit" and "disorder" carry negative connotations, and using them to describe our condition can create unnecessary stigma and misunderstanding.

As misfits of society, we face an uphill battle, and I've personally experienced the negative effects of this way of thinking. Many people I've talked to have no idea about ADHD, and kids with this condition or who are labeled as such are often looked down upon. People assume we are selfish, hyper, weird, or all of the above, simply because we don't fit the "norm." This is why I feel that spreading awareness and understanding is an important step towards moving forward and overcoming the past.

For the past 15 years, I've been promoting other people's brands, launching startups, and repairing my family relationships and past friendships to the best of my ability. While I may have felt successful after completing a project, I never felt truly fulfilled. Even will forever feel incomplete. However, through this blog, I hope to share my story and help others feel understood and inspired. It's time for us to embrace our differences, celebrate our unique perspectives, and use our experiences to make a positive impact on the world.

When I asked Jon Caften, a former editor at Concrete Wave Magazine, to write my biography, he started off strong but then the writing fizzled off. Like me, he's a busy guy, and I couldn't get angry or disappointed because I too have done that to countless people. It's not intentional; it's just part of my nature, and maybe it's Jon's too. He did a great job of articulating my downhill skateboarding "career," but there is so much more to share beyond that realm.

Skateboarding is entirely built on inspiration. The common thread of most skateboard brands’ marketing strategies is to find a talented skater and promote them as an individual, but also slapping logos all over them. This is done so that any inspiration which that talent has on up-and-coming skaters permanently embeds the associated brand into the consuming skaters’ psyches. Their inspiration helps the bigwigs with their commercial aspirations, but whoever talks about the inspired themselves? Dan Pape. Dan’s mission is on a page in skateboarding that is not even in the same "how-to" book "Getting Rich off Skateboarders". Dan has in his past created thousands of “Inspireds” and hardly any of them even know it. Most don’t even know the list of ideas Dan has started or ran with that others jumped in on and took his to commercial success while Dan moved onto his next play to help get more people enjoy downhill skateboarding. So here are just a few:

On Shore Boards, a completely unique approach to the geometry of a speedboard whereas the front wheels were inline rather than parallel.

Team Colabo, a sponsorship of riders who were nearing the beginning of their pro careers where Dan maintained a talent membership so that no particular brand had weighted representation. Inclusive sessions on the Vancouver North Shore helped amateur skateboarding in the DH world have a neutral face. Some of the faces Colabo brought us were Kevin Reimer, Brianne Davies, Max Erwin, Nathan Lang, Mike McGoldrick, and Quinn Dubois to name just a few. Even Dan himself rode to be able to properly capture the excitement of downhill skateboarding. Dan would contact their respective sponsors to lobby for expanded support, and the world got to watch the ams rise to pros as time went on.

Fellowship of the Bearing, the 2010 film production that for the first time ever elevated downhill skateboard filming out of the camcorder era pulling 10 years of footage, including an intense 13-month filming session with HD cameras, something never done for DH until then. Dan slaved over every image with Roman Bamburin and pieced together a revolutionary film with professional animations and crystal clear colour balance, but most importantly, very sick skating of the Colabo team. Yet, he always gives credit back to people that collaborated with him on the project like Patrick Weir and Errol Lazarre.

Lid Technologies, a Colabo spinoff in partnership with Legend Blake Startup, that really set out to get DH skaters in something safer than hang-gliding helmets. The branding took a few organizational twists and turns before they hit the market, but in the end, safety was achieved and that was the end goal. The Research and Development was a long road and some of the prototypes were nothing short of scary, but in the end, a helmet was born that set the DH skate scene on its ear, safely. No longer did skateboarding need to borrow from other sports to have a helmet.

School of Riding, following the success of his film, thousands of riders were rapidly joining the sport. Riders that saw the Fellowship of the Bearing were eager to start riding like Colabo. Dan was prepared for this and immediately launched his summer program to help keep kids safe. Within a few weeks he developed an educational riding program that enlightened youth on proper practices to be able to achieve high-level skills as well as remain smart about their riding.

Skate[Slate] has made an indelible mark in the world of downhill skateboarding, being arguably the most influential magazine to date. The need for global representation of DH skateboarding with a professional edge taken to print form was clear, but few had risen to the challenge. Dan Pape, co-founder of Skate[Slate] with Tim Cutting, did just that. What started as an online magazine blossomed into a print magazine that garnered support from all the major industry players. In less than two years, Skate[Slate] became a global phenomenon, attracting the best photographers, bloggers, and professional riders. Dan's vision, determination, and unwavering commitment to quality helped Skate[Slate] become the beacon of the downhill skateboarding community.

Dan Pape's dedication to inspiring others through skateboarding is truly remarkable. He understands that skateboarding is not just about commercial success or getting rich, but about having fun and spreading positive energy to those around you. His past projects, from On Shore Boards to Lid Technologies, all share the common goal of improving the skateboarding experience for others, whether it's through safer equipment or educational programs. And despite relocating to Japan, his passion for creating and inspiring others has not waned. His never-ending flow of ideas for new projects is a testament to his boundless creativity and determination to make a positive impact on the skating community. Dan Pape is more than just a skater; he is a visionary whose legacy will inspire generations to come.

I really appreciate Jon's understanding of my journey in skateboarding over the past 15 years. While my focus is not solely on downhill skating, it's been an adjustment for me thinking outside of that space. The main purpose of is to support others who are making a positive impact on the world. I've always preferred to support from the sidelines rather than compete, and I take pride in seeing others succeed. One of my brands, for example, was based solely on collaboration. Jon and I share a similar outlook on skateboarding, which is why we've known each other for so long.

To all students at Spring Learning English School,

I want to take a moment to share with you a little bit about my personal journey. Throughout my life, I've always been drawn to creativity and adventure, even if it means taking a less conventional path. Perhaps this is because I've always seen life as an opportunity to discover new things and learn from my experiences.

While my journey hasn't always been smooth, I've learned that every challenge and setback has given me the chance to grow and learn, and to become a stronger and more resilient person. It wasn't until I hit some roadblocks that I realized many of my mistakes were mostly in my head, driven by anxiety and overthinking. But through these experiences, I've learned that mistakes are just learning opportunities, and they can help us grow and improve if we have the courage to learn from them.

Now, I want to use my experiences and insights to help others who may be facing similar challenges. My aim is to inspire and uplift others, to help people find their own path and live a fulfilling life. And I want to help people who may not have had a chance to shine before, by giving them the support and encouragement they need to succeed.

For me, life is all about taking risks, trying new things, and never giving up on your dreams. Even if it means going against the norm, or taking the road less traveled, it's worth it to pursue what you truly love and believe in. And I want to encourage all of you to do the same, to take bold steps towards your goals and to never let fear hold you back.

Remember that no matter where you are in your journey, there is always room to grow and learn. I hope that my own experiences can be a source of inspiration and guidance for you as you move forward. So go out there and make your mark on the world, and know that you have the support and encouragement of the Spring Learning English School community behind you.


Dan Pape