ADHD Success: It’s Not all About Grades

Many high school and college students have a lot of worry, anxiety and even depression because they aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives, and it’s no wonder.  Finding your place in the world is an important part of been a teen and young adult. Add ADHD into the mix and you’ve probably experienced feeling like something’s wrong with you at least at one time or another (frequently even). After all, having a disability like ADHD can make you feel like you don’t fit in.

Do you ever look around you and feel jealous of other students who seem to be more successful than you? You know the ones: they have better grades, they have more friends, they always know the answer when called on in class, or they have an amazing body. It’s easy to feel low when you compare yourself to others. If you don’t believe us, check out the findings of this study on self esteem and college freshmen from University of Michigan’s Jennifer Crocker:

College students who base their self worth on external sources – including parental approval, academic performance, and personal appearance — reported more problems such as stress, relationship problems, drug and alcohol abuse and even eating disorders.

Yet most students (65% or higher) based their self worth on academic competence, their family’s support and approval, or doing “better” than others.

College students who focused on academic performance for their self worth did not receive higher grades even though they reported being motivated and studying more than other students. However, students who based their self-esteem on internal sources – for example personal goals and moral standards – received higher grades and were less likely to have other problems such as drug and alcohol abuse.

My research shows that when you make your self-esteem contingent on something other than your basic value as a human being, it’s not a good thing, even if the source of your self-esteem is something as praise-worthy as getting good grades,” Crockett advises.

We suggest shifting your focus away from yourself and what others think, and instead pointing your intention to making your values part of your daily activities.  Ask yourself: what are my goals for my life? What do I want to contribute to the world? What can I create today that will give me joy?

Not sure what the answers are to these questions? An Edge Coach can help you figure it out and help keep you on track to accomplishing your goals.

What keeps you going each day? What do you value in yourself?

Learn About Edge Executive Function Coaching


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2 Responses

  1. Adam

    What do I do, when in my late thirties, I find out I have add. I have tried all the Meds and they help a little, I just don’t like the side affects. I have seen a few phycs and are useless. They don’t tell you much, just hand you some pills and piss you off out the door. Then when you leave, your under the impression your life is going to change. But can somewhat become worse. In life I have become a bum a total failure. It is a sad thing to say but I can’t wait until my time is up.

    • Peggy

      Have you seen the book You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?

      Pills don’t change behavior — they just help alleviate symptoms on a temporary basis. We recommend an Edge coach to help you learn to enhance your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. There is no age limit on getting a coach. We have a number of coaches who work with adults. If interested here’s where to begin