Inspirational Quote for ADHD–Proverbs 14:23

Construction Workers on Building Site

I came across this scripture, Proverbs 14:23, when I was in high school, feeling horrible about my work ethic. Something about it made sense and clicked in my brain. It gave me comfort, and it gave me sound direction. I still view it as one of my life’s mottoes. It’s very simple:

In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

When I first encountered it, I was struggling. My dad and I had had a hard time–he sometimes found it difficult to be understanding of my situation, probably in part because–ironically–he experiences many of the same symptoms himself, and knew what hard work it was mitigate them and make something of oneself.

When I saw this, it hit a very real place for me. I wrote it down on a 3X5 card and taped to to my door so that I could see it every day. It gave me comfort and counsel all at once. On the one hand, it made me feel okay, because in ALL labor there is profit–so even when it is hard for me, and I struggle for hours and hours to eke something out of my brain, there is profit in that labor. It is still worth something.

On the other, it warns that the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. This is something, because my intentions were always good, I had (and still have) a problem with at times. I talk a really good game when it comes to getting things done, yet when it comes down to it talking about it has taken the energy out of actually doing it– a lot of times it’s all talk.

Talk tendeth to penury–to the poor house–to making me amount to nothing financial. This makes so much sense to me! What good is it to say something will get accomplished? None whatsoever. It simply robs energy and make one feel accomplished when nothing has actually happened. So much better it is to take that energy and actually do that thing.

I still view this quote as a guiding principle in my life–it works for me and my ADHD-I. It helps me. I’m glad I found it.


  1. I'm glad you found it, too, Josh. And so glad you're offering so much to so many! As I read this, my own daughter is downstairs eking out an application that she has put off for many days, and even today though she talked about getting it done couldn't quite bring herself to it…until about an hour ago…and it's due by midnight…so know you're not alone. She's a wonderful, vibrant, life-giving person who "can't really understand people who can actually plan out ahead and do things that are hard to do but have to get done." Yeah. Not sure if she fits your criteria…but the procrastination piece, she says she's got it down!

  2. I definitely understand the job application thing! I'm feeling that one pretty acutely at the moment, as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm excited to graduate!

  3. My brother, who has adult ADD, talks about avoiding tasks and says he doesn't even know why he does it. He just can't get stuff done, even simple things like buying tickets to something… it's like he can't commit. I've been reading what Brain Balance – – has to say about changing the brain through targeted exercises and practice. Their site is worth a read. They talk about it in terms of children, though, so not sure how it translates to adults.

  4. So, i'm 26 and I found out today that i have ADHD. I didn't even really consider this to be the case until a week ago when my counselor suggested it. He calmly suggested that, besides my emotional avoidance, he sensed that I had traits of ADD and that medication could help me focus.

    After the testing I did to get an idea if this was true or not, I felt a huge sense of comfort. When I was told that I did have a combination ADHD, I don't feel so hard on myself. I have always been a big procrastinator and have always had a hard time getting things done. I couldn't understand why I just couldn't do it. Even now I have a million things I want to do, need to do, have to do and It's so hard to do all of it.

    I'm excited to know that I'm not alone, and that I can get the help I need to do better. Its possible!

    Thank you for this blog. I came here through your post about being gay and married and then I found more! Thank you for being awesome!

  5. I have never been fully screened for ADHD but I feel many of my difficulties can relate. This scripture hit home for me. Thank you.

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