Support & Stories

Stop Comparing Yourself to “Normal” People

Tired of hearing “You just need to try harder”? Learn how readers use exercise, to-do lists, and humor to manage their ADHD — and why they’ve stopped comparing themselves to other people.

Profile of woman staring ahead smiling with wind blowing hair forward coming to terms with her adult ADHD
Profile of woman staring ahead smiling with wind blowing hair forward coming to terms with her adult ADHD

ADDitude asked readers to share the best advice they’ve ever gotten about managing ADHD. Here’s what they said!

I don’t compare myself to “normal” people. My brain is always going to work differently, so comparing myself to neurotypicals only lowers my confidence and makes me feel bad. -Erika, Indiana

Don’t get upset when you mess up or forget something. You’ll get it right next time. -Nicole, Arizona

I’ve come up with a saying: “There’s a strategy for that.” And there always is. When I get stuck, I know there is another approach that will work. -Haley, Massachusetts

My son and I both have BMD with ADHD. There is a lot of advice I have been given, but I always go back to something my mom, who raised two ADHD kids, said: “Pick your battles.” Not everything is worth fighting about. Let some things go. -Jennifer, Texas

[Take It Outside! Treating ADHD with Exercise]

Exercise and take care of yourself first. I run first thing in the morning. I need the physical release of running to manage my thoughts and my day. -Kathy, Pennsylvania

In starting my own business, I found that doing anything related to math is excruciating for me. I learned to accept this, and I hired people who could do the math for me. It gave me the time to focus on what I’m good at. My business success has shown that it’s a great idea. -An ADDitude Reader

My husband has ADHD, and the best advice I have received is “Don’t fight.” Fighting just feeds his anger and makes things a lot worse. -Margaret, Canada

You have to find your own way, not follow someone else’s, in order to live life and to understand your strengths and weaknesses. -Kathy, Florida

Everyone learns and does things differently, especially people with ADHD. You don’t have to do things the same way everyone else does to succeed at school and a career. -Patricia, Indiana

To take ADHD medication is the best advice I’ve gotten. It is a life-saver. -Whitney, Wisconsin

Embrace your adult ADHD as part of who you are. Be an ambassador for adult ADHD and represent us all in a positive, hopeful, and respectful manner. Remember that few are chosen to be members of this creative, intelligent group. We are unique thinkers, game changers, problem solvers, and difference makers. You matter more than you realize, and you have much more to offer than you think. -P., Texas

[Free Download: 25 Things to Love About ADHD]

The most important tip I ever got is to have one central family calendar, so that everyone in the family can remember important dates and events. Another helpful bit of advice is to enlist the aid of others. My spouse helps me with directions when I’m driving and tells me when I have social obligations. Colleagues remind me about meetings at work. -Stu, Indiana

Consider ADHD a gift. Since I embraced that concept, conversations start off on a positive note, and people see that I can laugh at my awkwardness while also understanding my struggles. Friends and family now ask questions and listen to my answers. -Teri, Georgia

None of the advice I’ve been given has had a long-term effect on my symptoms. But keeping a to-do list helps me remember things, and wearing a Watchminder3 has enabled me to get to my daily activities on time. -Jamie, Montana

To laugh at myself when I make a mistake. We’re all going to screw up from time to time. Since I’ve adopted this philosophy, I am much happier. -Doug, New York

[ADHD Humor: You Know You Have ADHD When…]