I have no problem admitting that I was an absolute pain in the ass when I was a kid. I must have been a nightmare for some (if not all) of my teachers. I talked too much, called out in class, made inappropriate jokes and couldn't sit still (not much has changed).
Based on this characterization, it probably comes as no surprise that I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when I was around 9 years old.
Accepting that I had this problem was the first step in managing my symptoms. As an adult, I still struggle with it in my own way, but it's not nearly as bad as it was when I was prepubescent.
Many people seem to assume that people with ADHD are incapable of focusing on anything. Some people think it's a myth. They claim it's a big lie manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in order to overmedicate children and line their pockets in the process.
In spite of what some people might believe, ADHD is real. It's true that misdiagnosis and overmedication are problems, and we certainly have a lot to learn about this disorder and what it really implies. Yet, just because we don't fully understand something, doesn't mean we can deny its existence.
There is a stigma attached to the word “disorder.” People assume that it means something is unbalanced or dysfunctional.
In a sense, that is what it means, but that should not be interpreted as an implication that something is unnatural. Our inherent imperfections are what make us both human and unique.
Not to mention, something is only “dysfunctional” when the system refuses to accommodate it. If people understood ADHD better, then it wouldn't be viewed as such a debilitating ailment or something to be cured.
While people with ADHD might share similar symptoms, that doesn't mean they are destined to live the same lives.
I am not ashamed to have ADHD. In fact, I think it's often served as a source of strength for me, and for others. There is evidence that people with ADHD are innately creative and entrepreneurial. Daydreaming can lead to some pretty monumental ideas.
Correspondingly, there are numerous examples of extremely successful individuals with ADHD.
ADHD is something that impacts both genders, but that doesn't mean it has to be an impediment to success.
Indeed, ADHD comes with all sorts of gifts. Simply put, it often provides people with distinct qualities that help lead to success.
Here are eight qualities that make people with ADHD successful:
1. They're outgoing because they're curious about the world.
People with ADHD might learn in different ways than others, but that doesn't mean they don't have a thirst for knowledge. They're naturally inquisitive, and impatient to know everything they can about something as quickly as possible.
This makes them great with people, because they are genuinely interested in what they have to say and share.
2. They're tireless, they don't stop when everyone else does.
It's no secret that people with ADHD have high energy levels. When other people are fading, they're getting a second wind. During crunch time, this quality is indispensable.
3. They're articulate because they've had to explain themselves their whole lives.
When you're not in control of your own behavior, it can get you into trouble. People with ADHD are quite familiar with this sentiment.
They've had to explain their disorder to other people, and apologize for their impetuous behavior countless times. This makes them well practiced in the art of communication.
4. They're good at multi-tasking because there are too many good things happening at once.
People with ADHD see the world as a menu full of amazing food; they want to order everything at once. Obviously, this is impossible, you have to learn to take things slow or you'll get overwhelmed.
Having ADHD teaches you this lesson, but the thirst for tasting everything simultaneously is never fully eradicated. This is precisely why they're good at balancing multiple activities at once.
5. They're sympathetic because they understand what it's like to be stigmatized.
When you tell people that you have a disorder, they often look at you funny. People with ADHD are conscious of the fact that having a mental disorder does not mean that there is something wrong with a person.
They understand that our brains are exceptionally powerful entities, and difficult to control at times.
Indeed, people with ADHD are understanding, kind and caring because they know what it's like to be ostracized for something that's as natural as breathing. This kind of emotional intelligence is invaluable, in all walks of life.
6. They're risk-takers, they don't overthink things and love trying new things.
Having ADHD can make a person impulsive. This can lead to trouble, but it also ensures that life isn't boring. Overthinking can be immobilizing. Sometimes it's much better to dive in headfirst.
The most successful people in the world had to risk something to get to where they are: money, time and reputation.
7. They're passionate because the things they love consume their attention.
People with ADHD are often characterized as "scatter-brained," but that's not the case 100 percent of the time. Hyper-focus is also a common symptom of ADHD. It's switched on when something truly captivating crosses their paths.
They shut off the rest of the world and become completely immersed in the task at hand. This tireless passion can lead to greatness.
8. They're great leaders because they're no strangers to adversity.
It's not easy growing up being the kid who always gets in trouble in class for behaviors you constantly struggle to contain.
All the while, you're compared to the well-behaved child sitting up front, or your agreeable and well-mannered sibling(s).
Overcoming both these behaviors and the obstacles they present is a lifelong endeavor. Yet, this perpetual challenge also breeds the type of character that makes a person a natural leader.
ADHD is not a curse, it's a gift.