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The Differences Between a Loser and a Winner

A Loser…

  • Slacks off all day
  • Has no ambition
  • Is unreliable
  • Is self-centered
  • Is poor
  • Wastes time doing idle things
  • Doesn’t exercise
  • Schemes instead of creating value
  • Lives paycheck to paycheck
  • Spends impulsively
  • Has an ego and pride that is undefendable, unplaceable, and unwarrented (as much as he may think otherwise)
  • Values ideas and promises over delivery and execution
  • Is over-confident or has no confidence
  • Makes chronic, impulsive, emotional bad decisions
  • Is chronically late and/or has to stress constantly about being on time
  • Strong notion of entitlement that, if fully exposed, would be repulsive to others
  • Escapes when stressed
  • Wakes up as late as possible
  • Uses drugs and alcohol to escape
  • Ignores the law
  • Swears even in polite company and/or speaks in gutter slang
  • Breaks commitments easily
  • Waits till the last minute
  • Ignores/evades uncomfortable undercurrents in any given situation
  • Values comfort over change
  • Is undisciplined
  • Is dependent
  • Is ruled by his whims and emotions

A Winner…

  • Works diligently all day, even when he doesn’t like the job, out of respect for the notion of work, duty to his employer and paycheck, meeting to expectations, and enjoyment of his own efficacy
  • Has clear, goal-oriented ambitions that he sticks to regardless of others
  • Is selflessly dependable
  • Is empathetic and thoughtful, but not overbearingly so
  • Uses his time wisely and works smarter, so he seems to accomplish more with less time
  • Knows how/when to let go, relax, and totally unwind
  • Takes health and exercise seriously
  • Budgets and conserves, has savings on even a small salary
  • Has actively-maintained contingency plans that prevent him from totally losing
  • Splurges a little and naughtily, but only in moderation and never at the expense of something more important
  • Is independent
  • Ia responsible
  • Is humble/has humility in a realistic way (not the the point of insecurity).
  • Has realistic self-confidence
  • Has very little sense of entitlement
  • Regroups when stressed
  • Keeps moving
  • Makes the best decisions possible based on thoughtful, rational consideration (doesn’t let too much emotion into it)
  • Wakes up early enough not to rush and still get there a little early
  • May drink socially, but values the people and the fun more than the escape of the booze, still up somewhat early the next day
  • Obeys and respects the law of the land, simply because it is the law of the land
  • Is clear and well spoken, swearing only for occasional emphasis in appropriate settings
  • Sticks to commitments at all costs
  • Finishes tasks as soon as possible (vs. waiting), even if they’re not due for a while
  • Makes the most effective decision, even when it’s hard or will involve more work
  • Is quick to convert criticism into action and change. Doesn’t let criticism erode self confidence or effort.
  • Is sensitive and conscious of situational undercurrents. Acknowledges them and thrives on them. Sees what is, not what they want to see.
  • Is rarely attacked on character; ideas evaluated on their own merit since the source is legitimate


  • You can mix-and-match: Most people have qualities from both categories. What matters is which side you are weighted towards.

11 Responses to “The Differences Between a Loser and a Winner”

  1. lilah says:

    Agreed! 5 months off Adderall now and I’m still struggling a bit with slacking off at work… But this just reinforces that it is something I need to work on. I have noticed an improvement lately as I’ve gotten serious about eating healthy and being more active. I’ve actually done a lot of research into nutrition and its implications on ADD/amphetamine withdrawal after my psychiatrist (who wrote me my Adderall scrip in the first place) mentioned that there has been a lot of studies showing a good percentage of people who seem like they might be truly ADD positive are actually iron deficient. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are certain nutritional measures you can take to help kick the stuff… Would be happy yo do a write up if you think it could help other readers here.

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Lilah,

    I’d love to get an article from you on helpful post-Adderall nutrition. Send me an email (mike at quittingadderall.com) when you’ve got it and I’ll get you an author login.


  3. Tobi says:

    Hi, I am very interested in knowing this nutritional information as well. I am 31. I took Ritalin for 16 years and Adderal for the last 8 years. I have been off of Adderal for about a week or two and plan to stay off of it to see how things go. Problem is, I have gained about 10 pounds and I have not increased my food intake. My appetite has equalled out and I am not starving constantly – but I am experiencing this weight gain. I also am a mess – I have never learned how to eat a balanced diet – much less do anything without being medicated for that matter. I have been on a stimulant since I was 8 and although this is scary, I am excited about seeing who I really am. I recently went to see a therapist b/c I am sick of being depressed and not being able to do anything like regular people – and she told me flat out – the adderal is obviously not working. I have been taking 30 mgs twice a day – and I don’t pay traffic tickets, I don’t pay my bills, and I only do my work at the very last minute it is due. I would be online staring at jeans, emails, facebook, whatever – obessesing about anything but my work. And this was even with being medicated. I have been a mess since I was 18 – I stopped picking up my room, I stopped any sort of routine I was taught as a child. I am a 31 year old degreed Accountant and I have clothes piled up a foot high in my room that I grab in a stupor every morning to wear to work. I am a mess. Plain and simple. So, time to find out who I really am. I really like this website – I am so glad I found it. Thanks, Tobi.

  4. Mike says:

    Hi Toby,

    Thanks for your comment. Hopefully Lilah will come up with some good info on post-Adderall nutrition. If not I’ll see what I can do.

    Sounds like you’ve got depression at your core that is erroding everything else, medicated or not.

    That’s either purely chemical or there’s some gigantic truth that you’re not facing, or some giant buried desire that’s not being fed (so it’s started to feed on you). Your mission now is to figure that out.

    Accounting is probably going to be a tough day job to maintain without the meds. Good luck. It can be done; just be creative.


  5. Lilah says:

    Hi Tobi!

    I can relate so much to your comment. Towards the end of my 3 or so years with Adderall, I was exactly the way you’re describing: a mess even with meds! Truth is, if you didn’t have ADD/ADHD before you started taking stimulant medication, after taking high doses of it for a few years, you will, because Adderall and medications like it abuse your brain’s dopamine stores. It causes your body to release dopamine (neurotransmitter responsible to feelings of happiness and motivation) faster than it can actually be produced. To worsen the situation, your body can only synthesize replacement dopamine if it has the right nutrition… AND it can only synthesize it while you’re asleep. Most people on Adderall don’t eat right or sleep well enough, worsening the problem, and eventually leading to amphetamine psychosis in some situations. The good news is that if you quit taking the Adderall, rest up and eat right, eventually the dopamine deficiency will reverse itself.

    I’m actually planning on writing on the nutrition article this evening. I was going to put it off until tomorrow (I obviously still haven’t completely recovered yet myself haha) but knowing there are people reading this site who need this information has motivated me to work on it now. I plan to address both the immediate needs your body has post Adderall to help get those happy juices flowing again, as well as some general nutritional guidelines for people who believe they may have ADD/ADHD (or just want to be on their A game and healthy!) There is hope. I promise… diet and exercise made all the difference for me. There is hope 🙂 Best of luck!


    PS. One more thing… I noticed an initial weight gain when I quit Adderall too. I suspect it might have been I was starving my body for so long that when I started eating relatively normally again, it wanted to store everything it could, expecting another starvation period would come? I know that happens with anorexia patients sometimes. The good news is as soon as I started getting good about exercise and cut my intake of processed carbs those pounds melted off like candlewax.

  6. af says:


    I am now taking adderrol for about the fifth year.

    The basic upside is that I can focus my analytical mind to complement my creative mind. I have received many promotions and learned programming languages from scratch. etc.. etc…

    The downside. If I stop taking the medication I am worse off than before I ever tried it. I had the right intentions, the reasons were simply that when I looked at a spreadsheet and tried to “barrel down” to some specific result I practically experienced vertigo and immediate sleepiness. Or if approached by a boss to be told something I found myself getting out of my chair as they walked away where anyone else would have just stayed put in their chair as there had been no invitation to get up.

    The bottom line now is that five years later I find that the stuff makes me stink…that is the final straw…I cannot stink..and stay focused no matter how the medication helps me. It’s just impossible to feel good when my body odor is not normal.

    This has developed over years and I need to find another way.

    In a sense I am desperate because I only have high school education and yet I have a position which is worth so much more at a company I really want to stay with.

    With my workload I am unable to thus far simply stop without immediately being overwhelmed..

    What can I do to both fulfill my obligations, keep activating my analytical to be as effective as my creative, maintain impulse control and the abiliity to concentrate on the menial; while downstepping from this medicine that is slowly becoming all ‘side effects’

  7. Allie says:

    Hey guys,

    Can people with ADD be winners like this? I think it’s in someone’s nature to be a winner like this. My sister has ADHD and she is the coolest person ever, seriously. Taking adderall never even crossed her mind. She hasn’t even been diagnosed with ADHD because she has no problems and seeing a dr isn’t on her list of things to do. She didn’t even graduate from college, but she has a great job and is marrying an amazing guy. She just has what it takes somehow, as impulsive as she is!

    Me.. on the other hand… man, by definition, I’m a loser. This is a helpful article to me. Can this be done daily? Or will someone with ADHD forget? I’d get lost in emotions and situations, I think. But I’d like to try. By the way, thank you so much for this website!

  8. Allie says:

    correction— she does have problems… But I meant, she doesn’t see them and is happy. So, she hasn’t been to a therapist or psychologist who would have diagnosed her.

  9. Mike says:

    Hi Allie!

    Of course it’s possible for people with ADD to be winners! The items under “winner” in this article are all the ideal. I doubt anybody has all of these, but I’ve met some people who are close. I think, like you said, many of them are traits that are easier to embody when you are born with them. For example, being late/on time can often be a function of personality type. Same goes for being able to work diligently at a job you don’t particularly care for; that’s also heavily influenced by personality type.

    But just the same, somebody with none of the winning qualities can still strive for those qualities, one by one. And the striving itself will improve you as a person. Most of us exist in flux between the two extremes, I think. And everybody naturally is better in some areas and worse on others.

    I wanted to write this mainly to define explicitly both ends of the spectrum, so you can get a more specific and actionable idea of where you fall at any given moment, instead of resorting to a vague sense of “I’m a loser” or “I’m a winner”. When you do that, you’ll tell yourself “OK, I need to not be a loser anymore.” But it’s not always immediately apparent what that means. So hopefully this list will help, because I wrote it while I was in one of those moods. :-p

    Also, it’s fun to look at the list after you’ve been working on yourself for a while…you can see how much you’ve improved by noticing that some points don’t make you feel as convicted as you used to. You’ll look at one point and think “Hey, I’m actually doing a bit better about that one nowadays”.

    But of course, these qualities are only the guideposts that I came up with. You could probably remove a few and/or add a few of your own (and feel free to suggest stuff)!

    What do you think your sister does differently than you? I have a brother that’s kind of like that. He’s much happier and more assertive than me. People say that he got the personality, and I got the brains. We’re very much alike, but the small differences in our personalities are enough to give him a more contentment/assertiveness, and give me more introverted worry.

    Getting lost in emotions and situations isn’t a character flaw. A lot of that can just be your personality type (and the ADD). On the positive end, your tendency to get lost in your emotions/situations probably gives you artistic advantages over those who are unable to get lost in emotions and situations. When it comes to the parts you’re born with…your core personality…there’s usually a balance of strengths and weaknesses. Beyond that, it’s up to you how much you mold yourself. The bad parts of ADD/your personality…the parts that hold you back that you don’t like…you can almost always figure out a way to minimize them with enough concentrated effort.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is a very critical list.

  11. Irish says:

    This list is absurd. Moral judgments abound in it. Anyone, particularly when confronted with a list of traits, can resort to fear and identify with the negative ones. To those who believed these lists, please take them to a licensed professional immediately.

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