This episode of the (UN)Broken Podcast is dedicated to all the ‘differents’ in life, wherever they may be. The world needs different for innovation and creation, discover what has worked for one man who discovered is difference makes a huge difference.
This episode features a Q and A exploring all things wonderful and neurodiverse with Kofi Ayivor. Being different is hard enough but being neurodiverse in a neurotypical world is another level of difficulty. Listen to how you can find what works for Kofi and could be useful for you in navigating the beauty of difference against the backdrop of normalcy. With laughter, fun and lots of talk of food as medicine.
Key Insights From This Episode:
- I’m in awe of what you’ve just said, Kofi around human’s greatest asset, because probably about 20 – 30 years ago it would not be thought of that somebody who had an atypical brain would actually even understand what empathy was. – Dr Rachel
- In order to gain a better life, we often have to lose something. We need to go through a grieving process. – Dr Rachel
- And the more I accept myself, the more I like myself. It’s interesting. Because the more you tend to like yourself, it’s because you’re accepting who you are. – Kofi
- The one thing I say to people don’t tend to do, and I was guilty of this before, we tend not to be present in the moment. We tend to either live in the past or live in what we want to be in the future, but we never live in moment. – Kofi
- A key part of the process for me when helping anybody to be who they truly are, is for them to embrace of awe, wonder, magic and play, because these are the things make the human life wondrous really. – Dr Rachel
- An old man said to me before… we have a tendency to make ourselves small, so that we don’t expose our greatness. Because we are too busy worrying about whether we’re going to piss somebody off. – Kofi
- I work hard to play hard, and if I can’t play, I can’t recharge. And if I’m not recharging just means I’m just working. – Kofi
LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE OF THE (UN)BROKEN PODCAST HERE
About Our Host
Dr Rachel Taylor
Dr Rachel Taylor is a neuroscientist with decades of experience exploring, discovering and solving everyday challenges faced by many, as well as listening to and telling the stories of people she comes across in her endeavour to show difference is good, trauma is endemic and joy is connection. She started UnBroken as she wanted to highlight that the system is broken not people and uses the UnBroken podcast to share her learnings, honest conversations and words of wisdom with the UnBroken Tribe of listener.
UnBroken is founded upon the belief that the environment in which we were born, grew in, live in, work in, play in and rest in has a huge impact on how well we believe we are and how well we perform. Wellbeing and optimal human performance are not simply about the absence of disease, they are about the ability to live purposefully, intentionally, joyfully and freely.
UnBroken provides a range of supportive online resources including a podcast, blog, apothecary and monthly online membership for people who dare to be different, are open to possibilities and want a different pathway to their own version of success.
[00:00:00] DR RACHEL: So I’d like to welcome my very good friend Kofi to the UnBroken podcast. And we’re going to be talking about things that are a little bit different today. I came across Kofi’s path when we were both working on some neuro diversity projects and our relationships since then has blossomed.
I’m really interested to get him on the show so that we can talk through some of his interests in life and some of his motivations, as well as do our usual UnBroken, let’s get to the roots of a person. So thank you so much Kofi for being here. I so appreciate you giving up your time and your wisdom on this occasion.
[00:00:38] Kofi: Thank you so much for having me.
I really appreciate your time as well. Guys, Dr. Rachel is awesome. Well, I’m going to say it again, but she’s awesome. And then you’ll find out how awesome she is as time goes on. I’m really, really humbled to be invited onto your podcast to discuss the UnBrokenness and to just explore the journey.
So I’m interested. I’m really excited. That’s all I can say.
[00:00:59] DR RACHEL: Well, excitement is absolutely fantastic. and I think, you know, if anybody can sort of epitomise being an advocate of being UnBroken it’s you and our listeners will hear that throughout this podcast, I’m sure. So just give people an overview Kofi, what are you known for?
[00:01:16] Kofi: So right now I’m known for being a motivator. I’m motivated a lot of people, unbeknownst to me, I’m also known as a connector, so I’m very good at connecting people together. I’m also known as a moderator in the outside world. So, I can moderate any room. If you put me in a room full of people, I will bring them together.
I’ll facilitate the room and ensure everybody gets a chance to speak. And I’m also known for being a talkative, I guess that’s my skill. And I try to use it to my best. So those are the things I’m known for. I started my working life – that’s my personal life – but my working life, I’m an investigator. I work for the ombudsman service, investigate cases and, I’ve got a law background. I’ve recently discovered I’m neurodiverse. So that’s another fascinating thing about me. I’m sure you explore more as we go on.
[00:01:59] DR RACHEL: Definitely. And, neuro diversity is such a passion of mine. I’m sort of embracing the difference in the strengths that difference can bring and how we need to sort of, levelling up is banded about in mainstream media, and what does that actually mean? Well, for me, it means that everybody has a shot at being the best that they want to be and can be. we have a lot in common with that Kofi. So it talks about what you are known for, what are you not known for?
[00:02:29] Kofi: What I’m not known for? Is that I’m a bit of an activist. I like to fight for justice.
I love people to know this. I’ve got a little bit of a bite by me. So when you meet me, I always come across very professional, very humble, always be professional all the time, but I hate injustice. I hate unfairness, which is what led me to being a lawyer or doing law in the first place.
I’m an activist in a sense that I always like to fight for the little people. I always go to the people who don’t have enough representation and I will try my best to fight for them.
These are the things I’m not known for. And the last thing I’m not known for, I’m a chef. I love cooking. A lot of people don’t know that about me, but when they discover my food they’re like “Wow, you can cook like this?” So that’s another secret.
[00:03:08] DR RACHEL: I love that because food, good nutrition is definitely a medicine. Would you agree with that?
[00:03:12] Kofi: Definitely, food can make the difference between someone’s wellness and unwellness.
If I can say that. Yeah. One thing that you said, always is make sure you have a bottle of water next to you. I don’t know water is not food, but it just led me to go on a path of discovery to learn more about food and our relationship with food, it reflects your mood for the day. Sometimes it’s what we put in our body can reflect our moods and doesn’t realise the importance of that.
For example, I didn’t even know things like having rapeseed oil, black seed oil, having things like, lemon, making sure you have high protein diets, less carbs . I didn’t realise those things had an effect on your well-being. And it shocked me too. When I started going into the details of it, to understand how food and the relationship with certain people in food, some people can even become depressive based on the starchy foods that they eat, because their body’s can’t breakdown these molecules, I was shocked by it. But your relationship with food is so important because it creates a balance in your brain and that’s why it’s so important. That’s all I can say.
[00:04:13] DR RACHEL: And I used to do some work and know some really amazing people who work with the community and one of their ethos is that food is our common ground.
And you can often do so much over food with people, you know, that it literally has everything that we need. And it was one of their modalities to sort of work with the community and get communities integrated. And, I think that very much is the pathway to wellness and wellbeing.
[00:04:39] Kofi: So definitely it’s a good question.
Food, I think is an untouched topic. I think a lot of people know about it, but not enough people know about how food is so important to our wellbeing. And it’s not just the food we eat is time to eat. It’s the times we eat. When we eat, how we eat, how often we eating and listening to all body reacting to the stuff that we’re putting into our body.
[00:04:58] DR RACHEL: And who are we eating with? You know, huge, huge thing.
So Kofi tell me what has to happen for you to realise that change needed to happen in your life?
[00:05:10] Kofi: Right. So what happened? I went on a journey. I left Cambridge. So I’m going to go through a few actions and don’t laugh at me.
So I grew up around people who spoke like this, “You know what I mean? “Let’s go to the pub” and I decided to move to London because I wanted to do more, pursued law. So though let me work within justice, come and seek a life. Which I did, then I got into a career. There was a lot of things I didn’t know about myself.
I didn’t know I was neuro diverse, or some people say neuro divergent. I got into a career. I had coping skills. When I say coping skills, it means I was masking the fact that I had dyslexia. Now I’ll try not to use that word too much because a lot of people think that’s a taboo subject. So I would say neuro diverse in a sense that my dyslexia may not be as severe or maybe clear to the naked eye that this guy’s got dyslexia. I can write essays for days. I can write your opinions. I can write skeleton arguments for days. So you would not be able to pick it up. But the very thing that’s unique about my dyslexia is that I have a problem with my memory recall.
It’s interesting, I say that because I used to be a court reporter. So I had to take notes. What I didn’t realise is that that was prepared me for my day to day life because to help with my memory called one of my coping skills is to take notes. So my Mrs. laughs and says, “oh, you’re the shopping list guy”. People often me and say, “you’re the notes guy”.
Even on my social media platforms where I host rooms, people always laugh at me and say “your notes are so detailed. You should be a lecturer.” What they don’t know and don’t understand is that actually that’s one of my coping skills, because I take notes so that I don’t forget what I have said. Forget what you said.
It’s more what I’ve said. And those gems that I’ve dropped that I don’t want to forget. So, I became an expert at taking notes. And that’s when I realised that hold on, I’m neurodiverse. Why did that become important? Being neurodiverse or being neuro divergent, I realised that I have to do things differently. What’s different about me?
There’s not much different about me, but I just need different things to a Dr. Rachel. So for example, I learned that my relationship with food has to change because my brain worked differently. I realised I needed to take in more water. I realised I had to eat a more high protein diets to keep myself in the balance, so my body can break those compounds so I can be in a happier mood.
I realise when I eat certain foods, I’m so happy. And then when I eat certain starchy foods, I feel so lethargic. You know? My relationship with food became so important because I realised that I could eat a banana and fall asleep. I’m like, why am I full? Or I have, perhaps the most important meal in the day is breakfast and everybody loves porridge.
But if I over exceed on my porridge intake, I fall asleep. What I then realise that my brain is fighting hard to break down those compounds. So I realised that I prefer a protein in the morning. I prefer to smoothie in the morning. I prefer to have morenga in the morning. You know, I don’t know if you don’t know about the morenga powder, you didn’t get a powder, you can get capsules.
I realise I need the black seed oil. You know, I just needed different things to allow me to be this awesome person that I want to become. That’s when I realised I needed to be changed.
[00:08:09] DR RACHEL: It’s pretty amazing. That really is amazing. And, I know how much you’ve embraced having to do different because you need to support your difference. I know a lot of people find that quite inspiring because you actually have an authentic voice and you talk the talk.
But I also know that in that journey there will have been quite a lot of pain. So, what does pain mean to?
[00:08:31] Kofi: When people don’t try and make an effort to understand me from my difference. Yeah. Pain is everybody trying to make sure I fit in a box? I’ll give you an example. I think we’ve covered this subject the other day.
We’re talking about labels. I have a colleague that uses the word superpower. Feels like being neurodiverse, being neurodivergent’s a superpower. In the same breath you use the word high functioning. When I Googled high functioning I was thinking “that’s not a nice word” because it means anything from Sheldon Cooper to Rainman. And why is that interesting?
Because people are too quick to want to put you in a box. So. If I say that I am dyslexic, someone automatically just thinks that I can’t read. I remember when I had my first report done and in the process, one of my managers is read as saying, Kofi Main, this was done by an algorithm, said may not, does, may miss things out.
And I read that every day and I think is that me? And it doesn’t necessarily mean that I do that, but a person took it a status quo that this guy may miss things out when he’s writing letters. So then I went through that pain of having to prove myself. The pain that I feel is always having to prove to people who I am.
It’s always having to get acceptance. I don’t think that you have to fight so hard to be accepted for something that you are. I feel that people should embrace the difference that you are because one thing we’ve learned, and one thing I learned on this journey is that my difference brings something that Dr. Rachel won’t bring and Dr. Rachel’s difference, bring something to the table that Kofi will never bring.
And embracing that difference is the beauty of what life is. And the pain feels, when people don’t accept that or don’t want to embrace that. And the bigger pain beyond that is when people don’t go beyond to research and understand.
[00:10:09] DR RACHEL: And understand it. I mean, when I did my PhD research, I started off with something completely different. And, I was researching wanting to research joy because it was an emotion to me that was fundamental to the human condition. And then I happened to sit in on I lecture, which was about autism.
And somebody in that lecture said that autistic people could never be happy. Well, I have a problem with happiness anyway, because it’s a social construct, but then my interest was peaked. And it’s just like, how can you say that about a whole demographic of people who are human beings? And, there is difference.
And that sort of set me off on my divergent journey where I met the most amazing people. When you talk about being humble Kofi, I am still humble. I get everybody that I’ve ever spoken to, researched and had a conversation with who quite rightly, like you were saying, all they want is acceptance for being different.
You know, that those difference needs to be celebrated. And, I think discrimination is a word that’s banded about a lot. And it’s like, we can’t discriminate against discrimination when we are not accepting any kind of difference, that is discrimination in it’s essence. And I still stand by when I say that that piece of research was one of the most life-changing for me.
It was amazing. And I saw quite like, you described, I saw the pain of people I saw, complete, you know, incredulence of people when I used measures that were actually, purported to be measured for people with autism, but create confusion in the autistic mind.
The essence of UnBroken is to help people to understand that they are trying their best to be normal in an increasingly abnormal world. And that normal is dictated by a very narrow vision of what normality is. So UnBroken for me is about encouraging and supporting everybody, connecting people who need to be connected to realise that they have got every right to be sat at the table, than that very narrow vision of what normal is.
You know, so completely understand, you know, where you’re coming from.
[00:12:19] Kofi: Can I ask you, what is normal?
[00:12:22] DR RACHEL: In scientific terms like, with psychology and neuropsychology, you have like typical, which is, the sort of predominant state, and you have atypical, where there’s a difference, but I’m always interested in the outliers.
That’s where the greatest stories can’t be told. Do you know the thing is we might have a set of data about a set of human beings, but there’s nothing as variable as a human being, because we might have enjoyed egg on toast for 20 years every morning for breakfast, but then one day we can wake up and it’s like, no, I don’t want egg on toast, I want peanut butter on toast.
You know, we are as variable as that, that we can pattern and we can settle into a routine until we decide we don’t want it. We’re very lucky as human beings, we have the ability to transform if we choose to, if we feel supported to, if we’ve got the resources to. My life’s work, and it’s mirrored in my personal life as well.
Everything together is that I’ve been through a transformation journey myself. I’ve been through a process. Well, we’re never done with the process. We were always on the process.
[00:13:33] Kofi: We’re always in a process, always researching ourselves. It’s important we acknowledge that.
[00:13:39] DR RACHEL: Yeah. But what I know is Kofi, you are the expert on you. I’m not the expert on you.
You are the expert on you, everybody is the expert on themselves. They just might not realise it because I can’t tell you what you’re feeling. And I can’t change you. You are the one who can change you. I can support you and give you tools, but you are the expert in you, and you know what is best for you?
[00:14:04] Kofi: Only you can tell.
[00:14:06] DR RACHEL: This is the thing. So talking about that wisdom. Tell me Kofi, what parts of your body is a is the wisest?
[00:14:12] Kofi: Wow. Good question? My tongue, it can be wise and it can be silly sometimes as well. But my tongue is a wise. Sometimes I say profound things I don’t even expect to say.
It’s just the utterances that come out thinking, “Wow, I never knew that I could say that.” I’ve been given a little nickname, they call me Kofi’s Little Gems. Cause I come out with these nuances is that sometimes it’s outside of mind, sort of this just happens, you know? And I think it comes from my tongue, but the way I sing things, or deliver them and even the way I write stuff sometimes as well, because one of the skills I’ve been given, and I was humbled when I was given this kind of a compliment is that Kofi, you find a way to break things down, then you simplify complex things so simply that anybody can relate to it. And that’s a skill in itself. Not many people can do that.
[00:15:00] DR RACHEL: You know, that is probably, you know, one of your sort of skills, talents, asset, whatever you want to call it.
But if you consider that human beings as a whole, what do you think is a human beings greatest asset?
[00:15:12] Kofi: I think empathy, because we talk about coming into this age where we’re going to be robotic. We’re going to come to this alien age where everything is going to be done by algorithms.
You know, we’ve become almost aesthetic. I refuse to agree that a robot can give that emotion, that acknowledgement you know, the verbal nods as we’re speaking, I can’t see you, but can hear your tonality, that empathy, that softness, that touch.
I don’t think a robot, I don’t care how many times you hug your teddy bear, it doesn’t give you the same thing as a human touch. And I think this pandemic has showed the most because being isolated away from your core partners, colleagues, friends, family, sisters, brothers, whatever. I think this has given a human beings or human nature the ability to reflect on the importance of human empathy and that touch.
Apart from other mammals, I don’t think any of our subject can have that same thing. Because the level of empathy you can give me, it’s not the same as me watching a TV series or me driving a BMW.
There’s nothing more important than just having a conversation with somebody. Dr Rachel, how you feeling today? Let’s talk.
[00:16:19] DR RACHEL: And you know, you’re preaching to converted there. So I spent most of the pandemic just encouraging people to connect. Whatever you do, please just still carry on that connection and video connection is not great. We need to have face to face. We need to have eye to eye. We need to remember we’re human. We need that human touch. We need to have it for our hormones. We need to generate that “I matter, I’m valued”. And do you know, what’s so interesting Kofi, when you talk about empathy and I find this gives me goosebumps really because, obviously other people have been interviewed as part of the UnBroken podcast, but one thing that comes through all the time, if I asked anybody to give me their definition of what neuro diversity people are like, people with your diverse conditions, they would immediately, possibly think of as you alluded to before the Sheldon Cooper, the Rainman effect. And it was like, “oh, well they have difficulty in feeling. They don’t connect.”
One of the main findings of my research was actually people with neurodiverse, people with autism, Aspergers, you know, we’ve had conversations ourselves with people, you know, with dyslexia, any kind of neuro diversity. Actually, they feel so much. And take responsibility for that emotion is like an emotional empathy is huge, that feeling for the world, that wanting to make the world a better place.
Whatever that calling is, you know, wanting to make a difference. I’m in awe of what you’ve just said, Kofi around human’s greatest asset, because probably about 30 well, 20, 30 years ago it would not be thought of that somebody who had, you know, an atypical brain, would actually even understand what empathy was. I think that’s a really key message for us to get across, you know, within our conversation, just how you meet and speak to a lots of people who have a lot of contact, both with neurodiverse people and also are neuro diverse themselves.
I have met some amazing people. And the one thing that I can say is that they have emotional empathy. Is that your experience as well?
Kofi: Definitely. Definitely. And they’d be very conscious as well. Because they are aware, I think it’s more about how they want to be treated, to expect to treat other people the same. So if somebody is neuro diverse, you notice that they’re very careful, they’re very mindful in the way that delivers stuff or they always thinking “how would I feel if someone said that to me” and they always try to go above and are very highly sensitive. The sensitivity, there’s varying degrees of it. But when I talk about sensitivity, I’m talking about everything like tonality, vibration, changing mood.
Sometimes they sense things. I feel like they sometimes have a sixth sense.
[00:19:06] DR RACHEL: Is this huge awareness of energy. Is the energy in particular? Yeah. You know, and that ability is like a sixth sense. I mean, you know, quite a lot, the people I interviewed spoke about, immediately when they’re entering into a room or going into a group situation, they were so vigilant about standing that group for where there was a gap in need then they knew what role they had and that is, pretty amazing really.
But when you think of the energy expenditure that’s having to be used. I know you won’t mind me saying that you’ve had to learn how to manage your energy a lot better, so you don’t burn out. You don’t get too tired, and I’m supposing that your nutrition and your hydration have also helped with that.
[00:19:48] Kofi: I think the nutrition and hydration has been the pinnacle point and I don’t mean to compare, but I can compare myself to other people who are possibly neurodiverse themselves, unaware, because those are the people I’m interested in they’re going about their day to day. They showing signs of neuro diverse backgrounds, but they’re not aware of it, and they’re burning out.
They are either hyper working. They are, I won’t say high functioning, but they are overcompensating and they are masking. I can see them have signs of like maybe ADHD. Because you see everything, but you can tell that they are not aware and they are not looking after the nutrition. So what that means for me, when I compare, we can go from a similar situation, and how I’ll take it and how they receive as two different things.
So I can go for a performance improvement plan, for example, and I’m not saying I don’t care, or it’s not a serious thing, but I’ll be cool, calm and collected about it. If it’s a serious thing, but I think when my nutrition is good, when everything’s balanced, how I receive that information, it makes me sit back and reflect and think what are the important things in life.
Is my wellbeing. important? Yes. Am I alive? Yes. Can I go and get another job? Yes. What is important that I keep myself safe and well for myself, my family. So I can live to fight another day.
Compare myself to somebody else who’s nutrition is wild. They’re not eating properly. They’re not drinking water. They’re not aware of themselves and they have a capability issue. What they’ll be doing, rather than look up what the other person is do, and looking at it objectively, and stepping back and looking at the facts and thinking, what am I doing wrong? Let me fix what I can fix. Cause I’m working really hard. And look up what the other person is doing wrong. That’s not helping. What they tend to do is implode. So what do you do is that they will become overly analytical self, self-destructive, self-criticism, anxiety, depression, and I’m thinking I can sit back.
I use this word. I say “it’s not that deep”. It’s like, “what do you mean it’s not that deep?” For them it’s the whole world. They’ll forget that “ Hold on. Before this job, I used to have a life. Before this job, I have a family. Before this job, I’m a human. Before this job, I had no job. I had to fight to get the job, so I can get another job”. They forget all of that.
And their whole world become fixated on this one pivotal thing that it’s an imperfection to them, and that stops them. And that’s all based on the fact that there’s an imbalance. They’re not eating well, they don’t drink enough water. They’re not feeding themselves. So when the body is what you feed yourself, the brain is not functioning to pick up these nuances and say, “hold on, Dr. Rachel, where are you doing?
You are Dr. Rachel. You have a PhD, you will get another job. Hold on. You will do a podcast. You have other skills beyond this. You will not just a tickbox”. Does that make sense?
[00:22:26] DR RACHEL: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. So, you know, it always interests me, you know, especially when people talk about anxiety, especially, anxiety is one of my favourite subject areas because we have anxiety for a reason, and regular listeners to the UnBroken podcast have heard me say this before. It’s an evolutionary benefit for us to have anxiety. And if we are feeling anxious, it’s because there’s something in our environment it’s a warning about that, that we need to change something.
We need to observe something, we need to attend to something. I think we need to get in better touch with that because the environment to me is getting increasingly toxic for everybody. And we need to take ownership of that. Like you were saying, what small changes can I put in place to make my environment more of a tonic for me?
Some of us can put up with more toxic situations than other. Some of us can manage on six hours of sleep, they’re really fortunate because I need about eight to nine and if I don’t get that then I’m really not myself, I’m not Rachel, you know.
But that in itself is a commitment having to have so much sleep. We have to make choices. You know, and particularly when I’m working with people, when we’re going through a process, when trying different interventions out on people. One of the key things is, that in order to gain a better life, we often have to lose something.
We need to go through a grieving process. We need to understand letting go and loss, because even if it’s something that is detrimental to us, it’s still familiar.
So what did you have to lose, Kofi, to gain a better life for you?
[00:24:00] Kofi: Oh wow. I had to lose the fact that I had to fit into a certain box, allowed to think openly. I had to lose listening to hearsayers and care what people think, I have to lose that.
Yeah. Cause you lived this whole life, you’re thinking… We too often try to people please, or you want to fit in the box. You know, I want to fit in this little stereotype of, “I’ve got this lifestyle. I’ve got this house. If I haven’t got this, then I have not fulfilled. If I’ve not done this, then I’m not put together.”
All of that is just rubbish. Really and truly, it’s an acceptance of self and I’m still on that journey to be honest. And the more I accept myself, the more I like myself. It’s interesting. Because the more you tend to like yourself, it’s because you’re accepting who you are. And in that acceptance, you just tend to shut down or shut out the noise and listen to your inner self and listen to what you need.
Like you said earlier, nobody knows Dr Rachel better than Dr Rachel. So you know what you need and you know who you are. It’s just tapping into that. And I think until we able to do, as human beings, we don’t give the best of ourselves to the world. There’s no point in me trying to mimic and try be a Dr Rachel, because I can only copy it.
I’ll get to a point where I’ll struggle. But when I learned to be the best of Kofi, nobody can mimic that because that is me. And I’ll do the flawlessly. Because when Dr. Rachel is flying on 90, 100. She’s on cloud nine. And nobody’s stopping up. When she’s talking about masking, talking about neurodiversity, dieting, that’s her passion.
So that’s what I wanted as a message. If anybody takes anything from this is what you have to get rid of is the hearsayers. Listening to external stuff and listening within. Sometimes you have to be in tune with yourself, not mentally, but physically as well, just understand yourself.
What is your body saying about your environment? If you go to a new job, you’re thinking this is making me unwell. You have to be really alert to it. Listen to what your body’s saying. It’s not saying that you’re a trouble maker or you’re just one of those complacent people, but understand what is this environment I’ve just walked into this setting and I feel so tense. I feel attacked. I feel uncomfortable. These comments are making me feel unwell. Be present. The one thing I say to people don’t tend to do, and I was guilty of this before, we tend not to be present in the moment. We tend to either live in the past or live in what we want to be in the future, but we never live in moment.
Like right now, I’m in a moment with you, we’re talking on the podcast. I have to be present. Where am I? Where’s my emotional wellbeing in this moment? How do I feel? Do I feel excited? I told you I felt excited. Do I feel that I’m in the right place? Do I know what I’m talking about? Be present. Too often we’re not present in our current reality, we’re too busy chasing for the future of what the society or the world has created for us to be, or we’re too busy living in the past of what we failed to do, but we never live in the present.
So I think that’s another key thing. So what we need to learn to kill, is kill the hearsayers and be ourselves and be in the present, and own it.
[00:26:56] DR RACHEL: I think that’s so important. And part of that, like when I was listening to you sort of say, be in the present, something that we don’t do enough of and we need to, because we thrive from it and it’s very much sort of, and now our activity, is play.
You know, a key part of the process for me when helping anybody to be who they truly are, is for them to embrace of awe, wonder, magic and play, because these are the things make the human life wondrous really.
How do you play and how often do you play?
[00:27:26] Kofi: So how do I play? So I make jokes all the time. I find humour in the littlest things.
I can be very tongue in cheek sometimes as well. And I take the opportunity to celebrate my skillset. So for example, I like to dance. If I go to a party and I hear music I like, I don’t care if anybody’s not dancing, I will dance. If my daughter comes into the room, I used to be very bad with this. If I’m working, I’ll be like, I’m working from home.
But then in that moment she asks me “I want to play”, I’ll look at her like “do do I”. What’s the little quick cheeky, five minutes? Just play with her. If I lose those moments, I can never get them back because I realised in that moment, that was my moment to shine.
An old man said to me before, a lot of people tend to do this. We have a tendency to make ourselves small. You know, so that we don’t expose our greatness because we are too busy worrying about whether we’re going to piss somebody off. I said to him, what do you mean by that? It’s because you’re too busy trying to be perfect. We don’t want to let our imperfections become our perfect, so be happy.
If you do wants once run into a pond, let her jump into the pond. Maybe join her in the pond, clean her up afterwards, but obviously do that within reason. I’m not saying go be drastic, but just seize the moment. If they want to go to the park, like my stepdaughter wanted to go and sit on a bicycle and just ride around the park.
I was thinking I don’t want to do that, it’s a bit boring. I thought, nah, sod it, lets go get the Boris Bikes and go out. And we had the best time. So I do. Some people think that sometimes playing is too much. No, because in those moments is when I recharge. I remind myself why I work so hard. Cause I work hard to play hard and if I can’t play, I can’t recharge. And if I’m not recharging just means I’m just working.
[00:28:58] DR RACHEL: And that’s why it’s important, play is where the magic happens, play is where we get creative and innovative. And like you say where we get that, you know, that Eureka moments or that, “oh, wow”. You know, those kinds of moments, you know, and I think it’s so important that we sort of start a movement of play because that is equally as important as being serious all the time.
Of listening to fear messages all the time. You know, when we do that, we have to play more. We have to connect more.
Well, Kofi that has been an absolutely amazing and enlightening, humbling experience. You have given so much of you, but just the last question that I ask everybody in one word, what would you like the next five years to be like for you?
[00:29:41] Kofi: Oh my goodness. What a question? So one word, happy.
[00:29:45] DR RACHEL: Oh, Kofi I’m not going to let you have happy, you know, it’s a social construct. You know I am the world’s downer on happiness because it’s a social construct.
[00:29:57] Kofi: Do you know what I want it to be, productive. Or the other word is purposeful,
[00:30:03] DR RACHEL: I like purposeful
[00:30:05] Kofi: So I write affirmations down and I laugh. And I said to you, I’m so glad I’m doing this podcast with you. And I was excited because one of my tick boxes, the thing I want to do is a podcast. And I write down affirmations because I like to know that in the next few years, I will be purposeful in the sense that I write things like this.
I say, everyday when I wake up, I want to be happy. I am rich in my spirit and I’m excited with ideas. I feel great, I travel and have fun. And every day I wake up and lead people to happiness. I am secure, I experience love in the most beautiful way. That’s purposeful for me because it’s led with purpose. And I want to make sure that everything I do like, I want to have purpose in what I’m doing.
If I host a room there has to be purpose has behind it. And the purpose is not just any purpose. I have to walk in my purpose. Right now, in you letting me do my podcast with you, I’m walking in purpose. It’s purposeful. Whether I accept it or not.
And it’s unleashing and releasing other things about me that didn’t even know. So that’s why I said the word purposeful.
[00:31:08] DR RACHEL: Well, Kofi, you were literally one of the first people on my list for people I wanted to get on the UnBroken podcasts, because you have made such changes in your life in a relatively short period of time, and you are so open to difference. So open to thinking about how things might be different. That is truly humbling for me to see how you yourself have progressed through the time that we’ve known each other.
[00:31:37] Kofi: Thank you for that as well. You played a big part in me accepted myself.
So thank you. Dr Rachels’ a bit humble but honestly, once I realised that there is greatness in being different, there’s nothing wrong with being different. And you, you unleashed that in me. And that’s what I embraced it. Difference is good. What’s the point of all of us being the same? All of us walking the same line. Doing the same test, doing the same cars, the same houses.
There is no fun in that. There is strength in difference because wow. Look at the colourful dress. Look at a beautiful mind. Look at Dr. Rachel, she’s amazing. She’s different. And you make me feel alive, you know, when you light some things like, wow, never thought about. And that’s the importance of difference.
So thank you for that.
[00:32:28] DR RACHEL: No, thank you. And I really, really hope that I can get you back on the show again we can, we can talk some more about the power of difference and how we can all get better at accepting difference, you know, once we get away from the suspicion of it.
Thank you so much, Kofi. And I look forward to speaking to you very soon.
[00:32:53] Kofi: Thank you so much and feel free, if anybody wants to ask me questions, let them know where I am. I am happy to be back on here 24/7.
[00:33:02] Dr Rachel: Maybe we need to find a radio show Kofi, me and you, you know, that would be something to behold. I am sure.
[00:33:10] Kofi: I’ll wait the feedback of this podcast and then we’ll take it from there.
[00:33:15] DR RACHEL: Thank you. Thank you so much.
This is a 60 second recap for the UnBroken Podcast with my very, very dear friend Kofi of living with neurodiversity. What I really want you to consider is embrace difference and when we are different, we have to live differently. And this is the thing is that we have to create a life that is good for us. An environment that nurtures us. We need to recognise what depletes us. We need to recognise what energises us. We need to do our basic housekeeping. Are we drinking enough? Are we eating the right foods? Are we speaking with the right people?
And you know, that the episode itself, you know, had that slant on neurodiversity, what it’s like to live in a neurodiverse world, but how about we all celebrate difference?
And we all recognise that we cannot live a one size fits all life, that we cannot look at any image that we see, read any story and just accept that that is all there is, that there’s not extra nuances that go along with it.
Let’s expect difference and accept difference. Let’s just see how we are with difference and what that means for us. So thank you for listening. Please feel free to give me a five star review. Place any comments below, please subscribe to the Unbroken Podcast. Remember the call to action, tell two people that you realise and you know, will feel the benefit of having UnBroken in their lives.
Thank you very much.