Oops! I didn’t do it again.
Recently, I wrote a post about one of my greatest phobias. In the post I told you about how I tried to ride a mountainside roller coaster and jumped off when my wife and I reached the top of the mountain just before it could begin to sail back down.
It was a big mistake and I totally failed! I silently beat myself up about the failure the entire time that I was climbing back down the mountain. Yes, even as I waved at the people riding up. The people who would succeed where I failed.
I told myself I wanted to try again, but I knew if I just hopped back on the roller coaster I would simply do what I’ve done so often before, I’d repeat my mistake.
I failed, indeed. But I also realized something.
I needed to try again, but I would need to start another way.
Later that day my wife and I discovered slides that went down the mountainside. They were not nearly as scary, but I was still listening to my internal fears for warning signs. Then I decided I would approach this ride and my fears differently. This time I examined the entire ride before getting on and when I finally felt comfortable that I would be okay if I slid down this steep mountain, I sat down at the top and slid down!
It was exhilarating and fun. I totally enjoyed it.
I did not repeat my mistake and I succeeded. The key for me was that I started differently. I did not try to ignore my fear and act in haste.
Have you ever repeated a mistake, then tried again, but did the exact same thing with the exact same result? Isn’t that frustrating?
You. Will. Fail.
There’s no way around it. Everyone fails. That’s not the real problem.
One of the major issues for people with ADHD is that we tend to repeat mistakes. Then we beat ourselves up about it. It’s difficult to see what we need to correct when we are busy berating ourselves.
Do you agree?
It’s painful to repeat mistakes. I’ve done it so many times. Each time there’s an instant when the realization that I’ve done it again hits me like a ton of bricks. Now that I know Britney Spears has ADHD “Oops! I did it again!” takes on new, understandable meaning for me.
“Why?” There’s always that question.
I chastise myself with it, because, as you know, it’s not really a question.
It’s an accusation.
“Why am I such an idiot?”
That’s what I am asking. Worse, I believed it. Have you ever asked yourself that question?
It doesn’t matter how smart someone is or how high their IQ, repeating mistakes will happen. And they will happen again.
Making mistakes is not a bad thing. We all make mistakes. We all fail.
Failure is life’s way of teaching us something in order to succeed. Click Here to tweet that if you like.
Einstein said it perfectly in his famous quote:
“Insanity is doing the same things again and again expecting different results.”
Failure is important.
Failure shows us we are doing something the wrong way. If we do not change our approach or learn something new in order to try differently, then we will repeat our mistakes. I figured out that I can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.
What does this really mean?
If you want to change the “end” – you must change the “beginning”. I spent so much time focusing on the end results that I didn’t focus enough on how I started. When I tried again I started the same way. My approach had not changed. Until I learned to always ask myself 2 questions.
The next time you fail (and you will), ask yourself 2 important questions:
1) How did I arrive at this result?
2) How can I approach this differently?
That’s where I had been failing and why I repeated so many mistakes. I didn’t ask the right questions and I began projects, tasks and even adventures the same way as before.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to repeat the same mistake if you start in a new, experienced way. That’s a lesson of failure. Not that we can’t do something, but that we must look at how we started the process and change, improve or modify from experience, what we learned.
And sometimes, it’s a good idea to ask someone for their take on the issue.
I used to have a serious problem when shooting long shots in billiards. I’d try to change my angle, my aim or hit the ball softer or harder and yet, I’d continue to miss the long shots. However, when I talked to a more experienced player about my problem and told him how I tried to correct it, he explained I was correcting the wrong part of the process and needed to evaluate my initial stance at the table.
I was standing and leaning down to the table in a way that made my arm take an unnatural path as I shot. It wasn’t as noticeable on short shots, but was a major problem for long shots. Once I corrected the beginning of the entire process, by learning to stand correctly at the table, I started making long shots. It helped so much that long shots actually became a specialty of mine.
Never say Never.
It’s kind of funny when I remember how I reacted by berating myself over and over again for not making the long shots. Okay, it wasn’t funny at the time. For a while I thought I would never make those shots! I kept making the same mistake and I kept failing. I was so upset for not being good enough and all it took was a correction in the way I started.
I think, for many of us with ADHD, part of the reason we fail and repeat mistakes is that we impulsively skip beginning steps. Until we finally figure out that we need to learn, modify or correct those beginning steps we will continue to make the same mistakes.
Of course, the beginning isn’t always the source of why we repeat a mistake, but hey, it’s a good place to start.
*My free eBook “The Myths of ADHD Debunked” starts differently than any other book I have ever written. Check it out and read the first page. More people have commented about that single page than any other page in any book I have written. Go ahead, check it out. I know you’re curious. Let me know if you get it. I want to know.