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10 Things that Make People with ADHD Highly Successful

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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