Should You Second-Guess Yourself?

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All you have to do is Google “Second Guessing” and you’ll find a host of articles about how to stop questioning yourself. For example, experts say that it’s better to go with your gut when taking a test. But can second guessing yourself in certain situations be a good thing?

adhd-18223For someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) (or A.D.H.D., same thing, practically) second-guessing yourself might be a good idea. Young ones with A.D.D. end up as adults with A.D.D. The one thing about attention deficit disorder is that it doesn’t really go away. It’s sort of with you for life. Sufferers debilitated by this short-attention-span issue know that one of the guilty drawbacks is a problematic, spontaneous outburst. It’s not necessarily outbursts that are more common as the spontaneous part. Those who are spontaneous tend to sometimes behave however they want and then they later realize “oops.” It’s not that they don’t want to follow the herd; they’re brains are just going a little bit faster than they can keep up with, and so decision-making is mostly impromptu.

adhdartstockBut, an ad-libbed lifestyle can often be filled with too many regretful decisions and spur-of-the-moment whims that should have been better planned. This is just an example from someone who was diagnosed as an adult with A.D.D. in 2010. Had I received help during my childhood years, I might have had better grades, received better scores during tests and probably might have gone straight to college after high school rather than farting around for a few years before deciding to take my education seriously.

Well, I wasn’t necessarily sitting around on my derrière doing nothing. I was working full-time as I had to pay for college by myself. I mean completely by myself. I was fortunate enough to receive a partial scholarship for my master’s degree. So, yeah, I am not through paying off student loans, but that’s an entirely different topic. (Fighting my A.D.D. once again.)


When we get down to the root of making any decision, people usually say that one can never go wrong by following his or her instincts, that going with your “gut” leads to wiser decisions and outcomes. Think about it: How many relationships have you been in when your gut was telling you that you were in love and that your significant other was “the one?” He or she was the Ken or Barbie of all human kind, the most awesome, perfect person with the best personality, hair, style, career and the coolest friends, the kind of person from a white-picket-fence family that everyone adores and envies. He or she made your friend’s sooo jealous because this individual was so utterly perfect in every way. Your gut was telling you that this was it. You picked out names for your babies even before your two-week anniversary. Heck, by six months you were planning your proposal or picking out a wedding dress.Fighting-Couple

Oops, but then the dung hit the fan. You learned your perfect human specimen actually had, uh…flaws! Actually, they had lots and lots and lots of them. My God, what on earth were you thinking?! Once the puppy love stage wore off, you found that you could barely be in the same room with him or her. It might have become as extreme as hating everything they did – the way they chewed with their mouth open, they way they snorted when they laughed, the way they made everything your fault in an argument, the way they do, well, everything.

iStock_000014615005SmallOr it can be that, in your head at the time love was blossoming, you realized that you were assigning commonalities between the two of you that were exaggerated, taken out of context, or constructed to fit your desire. You might realize that the biggest problem is not necessarily what the other person did or how they did it. It might not even be about their looks or their personality. It can come down to differences in beliefs, especially in how the future will look for the two of you. This means where you will live and what career paths will look like and the decision to have children or not have them. It can also be belief in spirituality, for example if that’s important to you while it’s not important to your partner.

At the end of the day we face one imperative fact in all this. You can’t always trust your gut. Because at least one point in your life you will have gone by instincts, and they’ve lead you astray. Ultimately humans are not computers that are built to work flawlessly. Even so, computers need upgrading. There is always room for improvement and humans especially are known to make lousy decisions from time to time. Asking someone who you find to be a valuable mentor, great at remaining objective while also providing fair and sound advice, is not a bad way to rethink your decision. Large or small, every action has a reaction; what you think and do leads to cause and effect. The end result might be great, while maybe had you second guessed your decision, you wouldn’t have had to clean up some of the messes in your life as a result of impulsivity or going with your feelings and “gut.”

The Bottom Line:sunflower_png_by_adagem-d6n0t3zsunflower_png_by_adagem-d6n0t3z

There is nothing wrong with second guessing yourself. Obsessively self doubting is one thing and definitely not a healthy course of action. But, thinking twice about an impulsive action might prevent a disaster down the road. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with shaping your decision with input from your gut and your brain.

Don Mattingly



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