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10 Things that Make People with ADHD Highly Successful

10 Things that Make People with ADHD Highly Successful

What have Richard Branson, Ty Pennington, Katherine Ellison, Paris Hilton, and Solange Knowles all got in common? They all have ADHD and they have been very successful. It has not always been easy for them as they have had to cope with hyperactivity, short attention span and the side effects of medication. But ADHD does have quite a few benefits which are rarely talked about. With the right guidance, these weaknesses can be transformed into strengths. People with ADHD have a lot going for them. Let us look at 10 things which actually help them to be successful.

1. They have enormous energy.

One of the typical symptoms of a person with ADHD is that they are always on-the-go, have boundless energy and are hyperactive. Michael Phelps, the great Olympic swimmer who holds 13 world records, has ADHD and is an inspiring example. Once he discovered swimming as an outlet for his astonishing energy, he was able to use that to to develop his athletic talents and become a world champion. Adam Kreek who won a gold medal at the Beijing Games talks of a similar experience. He says that once a child with ADHD is encouraged to follow a sport of his choice, then anybody with ADHD can use their incredible energy to help them overcome some of the difficulties associated with this disorder.

2. They can hyperfocus with great results.

One of the characteristics of ADHD is that you can remain hyperfocused on a task which you find stimulating and rewarding. Lots of kids with ADHD are brilliant at computer games, for example. Michael Phelps was able to use that with great effect when training. Other people too have had great success when taking advantage of this great benefit because they were able to exploit it. The secret is to harness this ability and channel it in the right direction.

3. They know how to exploit their creativity.

Many people with ADHD display remarkable creativity which shows itself in amazing talent in drawing, music, dance, and many more creative activities. Problems arise when this creativity is not recognized because there is far too much emphasis on being organized. What a pity!  When this talent is developed, many ADHDers go on to pursue careers in writing, marketing, performing arts and architecture. Examples such as Frank Lloyd Wright spring to mind. Another inspiring example is Albert Einstein who also had ADHD and used his creative mind to revolutionize Physics.

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“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.” – Albert Eisntein

4. They want to solve problems.

A person with ADHD often thrives on problem solving and can find a solution intuitively which will leave the rest of us scratching our heads. This makes them ideal leaders in politics and in business. The founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, is an excellent example. He claims that it is his ADHD which has helped him a lot. He summed it up perfectly:

“I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.” – David Neeleman

5. They are prepared to take risks.

One of the symptoms of ADHD is impulsivity and taking risks without thinking of the consequences. If this takes over, it can create problems in relationships and when driving. But it can, when used well, lead to innovation in business, the arts and science. We only need to think of Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA who was prepared to risk creating flat-pack products which would be assembled by the customers themselves. It was risky but it worked. This is often typical of the person with ADHD who will take action on an opportunity while the rest if us stand around analysing to death the risks.

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6. They love to multi-task.

ADHD people love to multi-task because they actually enjoy flitting from one task to another. Their attention span is so short that this is perfectly natural for them. Doing a secondary activity such as doodling, fidgeting or doing some mindless task actually forces the brain to stay on track for the main task.

“To do ANYTHING, I have to multitask. In fact, as I’m typing this, I’m drinking coffee and talking on the phone! It’s like if my brain doesn’t have enough stimulation, then I’m comatose.” – Quote from an adult with ADHD

Many entrepreneurs who suffer from ADHD have been successful in start-ups where juggling so many things is actually the best way of doing such a complex job. There is no one else to do the work at the beginning so it is perfect for ADHD multi-taskers.

7. They will not give up very easily.

Society demands that deadlines are met and people are focused. People with ADHD have difficulty meeting these demands but they have one quality which can often put the orderly ones in the shade. They really excel at sticking it out although some people might say they are stubborn. But persistence is a quality that ADHDers have in abundance and it can really help them to succeed. A great example is Dustin Hoffman who had ADHD:

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“In my room as a kid…. I’d play a fighter and get knocked top the floor and come back to win.”- Dustin Hoffman

8. They thrive on support and encouragement.

With the right support, people with ADHD can thrive. A good example is Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s. He remarked that ADHD lets him think of great projects and he gets people to handle the day to day practical details.

All too often, ADHDers are put in the back seat and rarely learn as they are being disciplined all the time. What a pity teachers cannot channel the talents of ADHD kids because they can often bring joy and enthusiasm to learning. Too often, kids with ADHD are made to feel as if they are different. Ty Pennington has said that when he went out on his own he started to build up his confidence. Finally, the ADHD label was forgotten and he was able to display his talents.

9. They are sensitive and caring.

It may come as a surprise but 75% of people’s success will depend on their emotional intelligence and how empathic they are. The other 25% is made up of actual skills and qualifications. ADHD people tend to be hypersensitive in both the emotional and physical sense. This can mean over reaction at times. The good news is that such sensitivity makes you a better person to work and live with so, if you have ADHD, you should always keep that in mind. The secret is to stay connected. A wonderful example is Dr. E. Hallowell who has ADHD and is now regarded as a worldwide expert on this disorder:

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“Never before has it been so easy to stay in touch with so many people electronically, but rarely has it seemed so difficult to maintain genuine human closeness.”.- Dr. Edward Hallowell

10. They are enjoyable and funny.

Laughter helps to reduce tension and stress in the home or office. This is where many kids and adults with ADHD come into their own. They have a playful sense of humor and this is an asset they should be proud of. They are the ones that can lighten the general mood and remind everyone around them that life is a lot more than doom and gloom. The famous actor Will Smith has ADHD and once described himself as “the fun one who had trouble paying attention.”

So, lots of upbeat news and views about the benefits of having ADHD, in spite of the negative press.

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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