Forgive Your self the Small Errors: Specializing in the Good
It is probably human nature to focus more on our mistakes than on our successes. This never turns out to be good, but it’s a psychological habit that’s hard to break. Last week, at my neighborhood book club meeting of all places, I realized how far I had come.
I’ve met these ladies for over 5 years and have been to Jody’s house at least as often since our group was formed. I was sure that I would recognize her house when I saw it.
When I showed up to the book club at 7pm last month, the hostess was surprised to see me and said, “The meeting starts at 7.30pm.” So this month I remembered the later start time and drove to the meeting as if Jody was calling and asked: “Are you coming?”
I wondered why she sounded frantic on my answering machine, but decided I should lead the discussion and she wanted me there early. I didn’t call her back; I was too busy remembering which house was hers. I drove around the block twice and finally decided my first instinct about the house was correct. I parked several car lengths away, got out quickly, and hurried to her door. That’s when I found out that we always meet at 7 p.m. (and had been for 5 years), but the previous month was later because the discussion leader would be late. Ah!
I had a great discussion and did it in a new, creative way that got everyone to think about the book. (You can contact me if you want to know what I did.) I got a lot of compliments and we all stayed longer than usual. When I went home at 10pm, I couldn’t find my car key in my purse. I looked and looked and then decided to calmly check the car instead of alerting the other ladies.
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I went outside and saw a car parked halfway up the hill with the lights on. As I got closer, I saw that it was my car! The headlights were on, the car unlocked, and the keys in the ignition. At least the engine wasn’t on this time, but that’s a different story for another time.
But here’s the really amazing thing about my embarrassing discovery: I left it. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t beat myself up. In fact, I didn’t even think about it.
Did you see Elon Musk host Saturday Night Live? If not, google his monologue announcing he is on the autism spectrum. He could talk to you without looking you in the eye, without speaking a lot of intonation and talking about strange things, he says. But then he adds, “I invented electric cars and sent people to the moon. Did you think I was going to be a normal guy? ”I love that.
I never invented electric cars or dreamed of going to the moon, but I think I’ve done some pretty great things so I forgive myself for leaving the lights on in my car and the keys in the ignition.
Forgive yourself: the next steps
Cynthia is the Founder and Executive Director of the Inattentive ADHD Coalition with a website at iadhd.org. Check it out to find out more about their special ADHD Monthly Awareness Month project.
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