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Keep It Up

success is not failing
But failing is just not succeeding … yet

People with ADHD are sometimes wildly successful, and more often not.

Why is that?

Well, the more often not part has many explanations. We get distracted, don’t get to appointments, can’t manage time, act and react impulsively rather than in a calculated manner.

Yeah, I know. Why would we even try?

Because, dammit!

Because we see options, solutions, directions that others don’t see. And when we succeed, everyone wins.

There are stories out there of people with ADHD who lead extremely successful lives. And I mean successful by anyone’s standards. The owner of Jet Blue. The CEO of Chapters/Indigo. Okay, maybe it’s the CEO of Jet Blue and the owner of Chapters/Indigo, I don’t know, but I know they are successful and that they make no secret of their ADHD.

But there are hundreds and maybe thousands more people with ADHD who consider themselves reasonably successful as well.


On good days I call myself successful. On bad days … not so much.

I may not be living The Dream, but for the most part I’m living a dream.

I never realized how much I wanted to be a writer until I was in my forties.

Read these words!

I believe that most people with ADHD who do not think of themselves as successful have given up on being successful.

I further believe that many of these people have this conviction as a result of failing.

And I believe that is a mistake.

I believe …

I believe that a failure, or even many failures, are opportunities to learn. But blind acceptance of your inability to succeed isn’t learning with your eyes open. It isn’t learning with your mind.

It’s giving up.

And you shouldn’t do that.

Why, you ask?

There are lots of other stories, tales of people who never quit trying and who became successful because of that.

If Colonel Sanders had given up when he failed, you’d never have tasted that KFC chicken my friend.

Now I’m not saying that Harlan Sanders had ADHD, but what a laundry list of careers the man had, he could have been one of our people. And he had his share of failed endeavors.

So you should … ?

You should, whenever you perceive yourself to have failed at something, curse the world, gnash your teeth, clench your fist and shake it at the sky.

And when you calm down you should take a few minutes, or days if need be, and kick some gravel and grumble a bit.

And then you should start looking for your next brilliant idea.

Because I have an idea that succeeding is a matter of never quitting, and never thinking of yourself as a failure, just someone who hasn’t succeeded … yet.

Keep It Up

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). Keep It Up. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 20 Apr 2018
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