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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 August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

Reference

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