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Just Go For It: The Motto of Impulsivity

Do you ever just go for it?

It could be anything. A spur-of-the-moment outing or a spontaneous trip. A life change, a new project – or an ill-advised comment.

When I talk about just going for it, the “just” is important. Going for it, without the just, can be something done very deliberately. You can think about whether to go for it, and then decide to go for it. But just going for it is about going for it without hesitation or too much planning – or maybe any planning at all.

Green LightJust going for it is what impulsivity feels like. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re just going for it. You’re too wrapped up in the excitement of some new possible life change that you don’t stop to consider all the consequences. Or in the moment of a social interaction, it doesn’t occur to you until too late that what you’re about to say might not come across the way you intended.

I was originally going to say that “just go for it” could be the ADHDer’s motto, but I don’t think that’s exactly right. Every ADHD brain is different, and not everyone with ADHD has the hyperactive-impulsive side of the disorder.

That said, many ADHDers do take impulsivity to an art form. And by the way, that’s not always a bad thing. Speaking of art forms, many creative undertakings do require a dash of impulsivity and spontaneity. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that people with ADHD disproportionately become entrepreneurs: at some point, taking the risk of starting a business almost always means reaching a point where you have to just go for it.

Of course, impulsivity isn’t all puppies and rainbows – or creative undertakings and entrepreneurial endeavors. Impulsivity is also dropped responsibilities, counterproductive life changes, unhealthy habits, and social mistakes. Impulsivity is rarely good for the bank account. Basically, there’s a reason mental health professionals talk about impulsive symptoms.

Whether just going for it is a good idea depends somewhat on the situation. If you’re a jazz musician, just going for it might result in an unexpectedly cool new improvisation. If you’re a financial planner, just going for it probably means you’re going to be out of a job.

For those of us with ADHD, “just go for it” isn’t the worst motto we could have. It’s a little more inspirational than “remind me whether I’ve already taken my Adderall today.” But that doesn’t mean it’s a life motto to embrace wholeheartedly. Ultimately, our symptoms are what they are, so the best we can do is try to distinguish the situations where just going for it is actually OK while recognizing the ones where impulsivity tends to cause us problems.

Image: Flickr/Adam Sacco

Just Go For It: The Motto of Impulsivity

Neil Petersen

Neil Petersen writes regularly on education, learning disabilities and technology. He received his B.A. in 2014 and was diagnosed with ADHD at the beginning of his college studies. Neil also works for a music education non-profit and hopes to help create an education system that can better serve students with ADHD.

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APA Reference
Petersen, N. (2019). Just Go For It: The Motto of Impulsivity. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 4 Apr 2019
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