Making Mistakes and Attention Deficit Disorder

Making Mistakes and Attention Deficit Disorder
Children with Attention Deficit Disorder get a lot of criticism because of some of the negative symptoms of ADD. If the student has hyperactivity there is disapproval when they fidget or move around in the classroom. Kids with impulsivity interrupt and talk over their peers and teachers. Distracted students forget where they put assignments or don’t turn them in. Sometimes they even forget to do the assignments! Creative thinkers with ADD/ADHD find many different ways to solve problems. Often, adults around them don’t take notice of the creativity; they focus on the belief that the little bundle of creativity solved it the “wrong” way. Students who are inattentive look like they don’t care about what is going on around them. Many times they are excoriated as being lazy. Day by day, word by word, as the years go by the layers of criticism and condemnation build up. A child who has been rebuked more than he has been praised will learn to do a lot of negative self-talk when he makes mistakes. Then, the child grows into an adult. Childhood plants the seeds of the adults that we become.

As an adult, what do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Are the words harsh or kind? I’m not talking about a trivial mistake like forgetting a comma in a letter. Nor am I thinking of a life-changing mistake that cause’s great harm to somebody. Every day, active people have hundreds of opportunities for mistakes! There’s the errand that you forgot to run. What about saying something unkind about a co-worker? Are you always pleasant and patient with family members? Life is full of mistakes. There are mistakes that are just waiting to find somebody to activate them!

In a long life, I have learned through painful experiences. There are always people who can be harsh with me. I don’t need to be unkind to myself.After reframing my negative thoughts, daily, I joyfully activate my mistakes! What can you do when your mistakes jump out for the world to see? Use them as great learning tools!

If you miss a deadline, find out what you can do to make the situation better. Then, analyze why you missed the deadline. Put supports into place, so that you won’t miss more deadlines. Do this consciously and ask for help from a colleague, if you need help. Forgive yourself and move on. If you have spoken in haste and said something that is insensitive, wait for things to cool down a bit. Offer an apology. Be sincere. If the relationship can be mended, this will go a long way toward doing that. Some relationships are not strong to begin with. It’s entirely possible that nothing that you say will do any good. Go to the person one time with the apology. Give your sincere apology, and then go on with your life. You waste time and energy going over the situation again and again. Let it go and don’t do it again. Be merciful to yourself. You made a mistake; use it as a learning tool.

If people had not learned from mistakes, our world would be a different place. Penicillin was a mistake that saved millions of lives. A researcher looking for a strong glue found a weak glue, instead. Years later, the glue was affixed to yellow pieces of paper, and sticky notes were born. Paperclips all over the world rejoiced that a mistake was used creatively to help office workers. Use your mistakes along with your ADD/ADHD divergent thinking skills to make your life better.

How do you feel when you make a mistake? I usually worry about mistakes that impact others. However, time and experience have softened these unhappy feelings, as I have learned to use my mistakes for productive change. Samuel Smiles, who wrote Self-Help had a healthy attitude toward mistakes. He said, “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”

Have you ever had a day in your life where you made no mistakes? I hope not! The only people who never make mistakes are people who are not doing activities that challenge them. Celebrate your adult ADD! Spend your life in joyful discovery. Make your mistakes and use them as learning tools.

Sometimes tips on living with ADD/ADHD can be helpful. This book is highly recommended as a very practical book for adults.

10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction & Accomplish Your Goals

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This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.