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Lately I’ve noticed in my YouTube comments, a strong focus on ADHD failure. I often hear this narrative of “I failed in so many areas of my life, and now I’m paralyzed to move forward because I know I’m just going to keep failing in anything I do.”
That’s some seriously paralyzing emotions, and while I understand where that’s coming from, it’s actually not true.
Why You’re Not Failing
Our brains are wired to focus on negative emotions. We naturally want to protect ourselves from harm, and our brains are designed to scan for emotionally charged input that might be a threat to us. This is where the negative self-talk comes from.
When we constantly focused on our failures, our nervous system reacts to them as something we need to remind ourselves never to do again. So we over-focus on them and as a result, we create a damaging self-identity based on them. However, this train of thought is less about your track record around failing and more about your brain’s wiring.
The fact is, you’re not failing all the time. You might have experienced some setbacks, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail at everything you do.
In fact, if you’re reading this blog post right now, then that’s evidence that you didn’t fail to learn how to read. But we don’t think about our wins with the same level of voracity as our failures, because wins aren’t threatening.
Distraction to Action
A science-based productivity program that helps ADHD’ers define what’s most important and follow through on it.
Vision to Action
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The Organized Business
A robust template for getting your business organized with trackers, workflows and project planning.
ADHD Failures Make us More Resilient Than Neurotypicals
If you tend to over-index on failures, I highly encourage you to practice reframing their benefits. Instead of seeing them as a reflection of your abilities or character, see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Every failure is a chance to learn something new about yourself or the situation you’re in. When you take this approach, you can turn your failures into stepping stones for building character, resilience and success.
It’s worth noting that ADHDers are often more resilient than neurotypicals because they have to be. Managing ADHD requires a lot of trial and error, and there are often more setbacks than successes. However, ADHDers are also more likely to be creative problem solvers, which can help them overcome obstacles and find new ways of doing things. This resilience can be a powerful asset in all areas of life, from work to relationships.
How to Stop Focusing on Failure
One way to balance your focus on failure is to create an intentional list of your wins. This can be a daily or weekly practice where you list out all of the things that are amazing about you or the great things that you’ve done in your life.
You can also create a system to track your wins in your life, something like a gratitude journal or a productivity program like the one I built in Notion. The key is to find a way that works for you to remind yourself of your wins and successes and stick to it.
Accept Your Failures + Embrace Your True Self
When you’re focused on failure, it’s easy to lose sight of who you really are. But embracing your true self is essential for living a fulfilling and authentic life. Your true self is the person you are when you’re not trying to please others or fit into a mold. It’s the person who is true to their values, needs, and desires. When you embrace your true self, you make choices that are in alignment with who you are – not based on whether or not you might fail.
Before I get off my soapbox, I want to remind you that failures are a part of life, and they happen for a reason. They build resilience and experience, which will serve you well as you go through life. But it’s also important to remember to embrace your strengths, focus on your wins, and keep moving forward!
Where your attention goes, energy flows, so why waste precious energy on negative stories?