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How can recklessness affect adults with ADD?

Recklessness can get attention deficit disorder (ADD) adults into trouble. When you embark on a wild scheme without pausing for reflection, you may cross a line or two you shouldn't. An example of such recklessness may be the ADD adult jumping off a cruise ship while it's in port just for the fun of it. While the downsides of recklessness are obvious, its negative consequences are probably exaggerated by the overly cautious.

Most therapists think of their role as helping clients make prudent, rational choices. I've been stupefied by the amazing results clients have achieved by making daredevil moves in their professional and personal choices. I've observed that when people want to achieve extraordinary things, they usually have to make extraordinary, reckless choices -- choices that are frankly inadvisable.

The problem with psychotherapy is that it aims at making people normal. The bedrock assumption of many forms of both healing and education is that differences are disorders and that people should act in ways that will maintain stability. The problem with this is that if a person has original and dazzling contributions to make, she will act and think in ways that others would deem abnormal and reckless.

In my observation, successful ADD adults have typically been rewarded for their recklessness more often than they have been punished for it; as a result, they have learned to trust their instincts and plunge into action without any assurance of safety. If you always follow rules, you probably won't be a visionary leader. Leaders need both this sort of high energy and an inner capacity to create rules rather than just follow them.

The ADD adult's recklessness is often driven by the need to be doing, rather than planning or figuring something out. It's "Fire, ready, aim!" instead of "Ready, aim, fire!" This reversal of the normal order, this acting before planning, can be a highly effective way to gather information others will never have. If a course of action bears visible risks that others will not take but you will, you will learn things those others won't. You may fail more often, but in doing so gain valuable skills, contacts, and experiences.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.