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8 Things That People With ADD Want You To Know

8 Things That People With ADD Want You To Know

I had ADD before it ever became a thing. As I stared out the class window back in my school days, little did I know that as many as 11% of children in the US would one day be diagnosed with this attention deficit disorder. This was also before I really understood how my mind actually works.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t follow most conversations that I was having. It was beyond me as to why I was constantly late or unorganized despite my best intentions.

People got mad at me and I got mad at myself. People thought I was either careless or dumb, which made me believe that I was careless and dumb.

I guess you could say that school, with its structured learning and standardized tests and constant routine, wasn’t my thing. If this article was a letter to my 17-year old self I would be compelled to share some amazing life lessons that I have since experienced with ADD that has totally changed my perspective about seeing it as a limitation.

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I learned that the best way to handle a bad situation in life is to turn a negative into a positive. This is what has worked for me and now I want to share the same with you to help you understand that you are not alone. The way to handle this “disorder” is not to try to make yourself fit in, but to do the very opposite – stand out!

Yes, I have ADD. There’s no shame in admitting this. We need to embrace it. Here are some amazing benefits about this fascinating “disorder” we share together.

1. We will be one of the most compassionate people that you will ever meet.

ADD tends to make us over-do certain things – and being compassionate is no exception. If compassion means caring for the well-being of others than we have it in spades. We have this innate ability to empathize and truly feel when a friend is in need.

Although we can be socially awkward at first, when we finally make a connection you can bet that it will be a bond like no other. We know what rejection means, and we know what intolerance feels like. Our ADD helps us to embody this. In turn, your problem becomes our problem.

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2. We can be a little scatterbrained but we are highly creative.

Growing research suggests that there is a link between creativity and ADD. The idea is that while “normal” minds filter out distractions, the ADD mind is able to somehow connect random thoughts that may have otherwise not been connected, thus forming new creative ideas. People often see us as scatterbrained because we have trouble focusing on a particular topic.

We are busy looking out the window while everyone else is learning multiplication tables. One famous daydreamer was Albert Einstein who said,“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

3. We don’t always finish what we start, but when we do its because we are highly driven to succeed.

Whether its chores as a kid or work assignments as adults, we’re not good at completing tasks that are boring to us. On the flip-side, we hyper-focus on the tasks that are meaningful to us and put forth tremendous energy in tackling them head on. If there is a cause that we are passionate about you can bet that we will do whatever it takes to get the word out.

4. We have a quirky sense of humor that will never leave you in want for a smile.

I didn’t always follow the rules in school and sometimes that ended-up making me the unofficial class clown. The thing about humor is that it takes a good understanding of people and unconventional connections to come up with the funniest combinations. Although I no longer qualify as a class clown, when all else fails it’s my sense of humor that keeps me going.

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5. We see everyday as a new challenge, so problem solving comes naturally to us.

We love trying to figure out how to fit square pegs into round holes. In other words, perhaps it’s a bit of stubbornness but we have a hard time seeing many things as impossible. In fact, the bigger the challenge, the more motivated we are to come up with a solution.

6. We get resilient when the going gets tough.

We may have our special challenges with ADD, but that doesn’t mean we give up easily. Actually, we are known for being stubborn sometimes, to the point to where we keep going and persevering despite social stigmas or lack of popularity. Resilience is not about trying to same thing over and over with no outcome. Rather, it’s about coming up with new ways of thinking to approach challenges with a fresh perspective.

7. We are idea machines that constantly look for new ways of doing things.

Sometimes we can be like an idea machine. What I mean is, we consistently come up with unconventional ideas. There is no magic formula to this. Ideas are just finding patterns that emerge and connecting the dots. For example, Sir Richard Branson who is known to have symptoms of ADD, randomly came up with the idea of Virgin Airlines during a trip to Puerto Rico. He was stranded because the flight was overbooked, but he desperately needed to get to the British Virgin Islands. He was desperate for a solution. Luckily, with ADD, he had an idea machine in his brain.

The story is quite creative. He had an idea that no one else had at the time. As Richard explains: “I had a beautiful lady waiting for me in BVI and I hired a plane and borrowed a blackboard and as a joke I wrote Virgin Airlines on the top of the blackboard, $39 one way to BVI. I went out round all the passengers who had been bumped and I filled up my first plane.”

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8. We have a unique perspective that goes against the grain, yet makes us stand out in the crowd.

We tend to see things from a unique perspective, taking in lessons learned from our many frustrations, challenges, shortcomings, and inspirations. Mixed together, this forms a primordial stew of seeing things from a different angle and an original point of view. What made us get singled-out in grade school is the same thing that has shaped us into some very unique adults.

Conclusion

ADD is not a curable disorder, but it is a treatable one. When you use it to focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses you will find yourself in quite a different world – a world of creativity, innovation, and warmth like you have never known before. Come fly with us.

Featured photo credit: Image by Alexander Shustov via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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