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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 January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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