The Sweet Taste of Success

Just when you thought you had it all, someone puts out a plate of warm, gooey brownies. You reach for one, and as you sink your teeth into the chocolaty goodness, all you can think is “oooooooooh yeah.” Your bliss is complete. WRONG!

It doesn’t take long for that entire plate to be gone. Why? Because once you taste one, you want to go back for more. And more. And more. Who cares about huge guys bashing into each other on the field when you have brownies?

As a guy with ADHD, I’ve realized that I have to cherish the brownie moments in my life – when a success or accomplishment tastes so good that I want to go back and taste more of it. It’s too easy for us to remember the bad stuff and get caught up in the times that we have failed. But by intentionally celebrating our achievements, no matter how big or small, we can get that taste of success in our mouths, making us strive for more.

One of the greatest mysteries of all time is how I managed to graduate high school having read only two books front to back. I had struggled with the characteristics of ADHD, learning disabilities, and dyslexia all the way through school. When I had to read a book for class, I would start it and put it right back on the shelf. If it was really important, I’d have someone read it to me, or I would cheat (which I’m ashamed to admit). But after graduation, I decided that I wanted to really read a book.

I started to read He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado. It took me a little over a month, but I actually finished it. I even read the introduction! I was so excited that as soon as I closed the back cover, I started calling all my friends. I wanted them to celebrate with me. The encouragement I got over the phone felt so good that it motivated me to go out and read a couple more books. Just like those brownies, the taste of succeeding despite my ADHD was so good that I wanted more of it.

If you are in the ADHD club with me, find a way to recognize and celebrate all of the little achievements. I know it’s a lot easier to think about all the difficulties and negative stuff, the lack of focus, the distractibility, all the battles. We hyper-focus on the bad and have a tunnel vision that blocks out our successes. Instead of remembering the “A” we got on a spelling test, we remember getting our name put on the chalk board for not paying attention during class. Instead of remembering 199 great shows that I put on in a given year, I tend to remember the one that didn’t go well.

But you can change that by refocusing and setting attainable goals. We tend to be extremely creative and create goals outside the scope of reality, and we feel like we’re only a success if we’ve reached that pinnacle. That just sets us up for failure.

So, make a list of realistic goals. And when you’ve successfully achieved one of them, find a way to celebrate or commemorate that victory. Maybe it’s putting something special on your desk that reminds you of the success, or maybe it’s eating a Little Debbie or something. Whatever it is, reward yourself for your accomplishment. It’s something to look forward to and be excited about, and it will drive you to work toward more goals.

mmm… I think I’ll go make some brownies…