Reply To: Breaking the Cycle of Failure

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Hi Rory,

The Cycle of Failure struggle is no joke, one I have accepted as “unpredictably inevitable” in my life. Honestly, is it really necessary for my brain to ask itself:
“why is yellow yellow?” when I’m just trying to get laundry sorted?! And laundry is but a small struggle. On the topic of success and adulting, while I haven’t seen myself through a Masters or anything close (SERIOUS props!), I have certainly enjoyed a lofty accomplishment or two… but then deliver underwhelming results in the most monotonous of life’s basics. My intentions are right, the purpose of the basics understood, the consequences blatant… and yet, I proceed to disappoint myself and others. Family and friends find the paradox entertaining! High-functioning, out-of-the-box, impressive accomplishment: SUCCESS, in my sleep, with my hands tied behind my back; Low-level, necessary, everyday obligation: FAILURE with a side of WTF.

By no means have I conquered this yet, but I have found a promising approach for myself. First and foremost, ADHD is a gift, truly, with unique aptitudes and an impressive capacity/hunger for complexity and skill-building. It is NOT a deficit. I have the utmost confidence in my capacity to analyze, attempt, and accomplish things found to be intimidating to everyone else. ADHD has been responsible for every achievement and praise I can recall, thus its tendencies have become my comfort zone. So, I’ve concluded that I “believe” in myself, which is a beautiful thing indeed… it’s the thing everyone else in the world is chasing and nurturing.

But, believing in myself is NOT the same as trusting myself. I don’t trust myself because I can’t rely on myself… and not trusting myself is sabotaging that sought-after luxury of believing in myself. So the moment I find myself attempting something exceptional/complex/new, I give myself a “yes, you are a bad-ass” pat on the shoulder and remind myself that I’m probably creating a diversion for an easy task that will still be waiting for me, but now with an extra dose of drama. And then quickly ask myself what I “should” get done, so I can get back to fully-enjoying my ADHD without guilt.

In short, I am making the discipline of “doing first what I want to do least” mandatory, and the belief that “trusting myself” is the best achievement yet, better than anything I’ve accomplished thus far. Most importantly, the very moment one of life’s basics pop-up, I immediately get it done before my “gifted mind” has the opportunity to compose some deceivingly-productive distraction.

My personal ADHD slogan: If I stay a step ahead of myself, I’m that much closer to catching-up to myself. 🙂