As an ADHD expert, and a proponent of a strength based model of ADHD, I do look for the strengths and the positive side of ADD/ADHD (as I wrote in my book: Attention Difference Disorder). I don’t know if I would say that people with ADD/ADHD have super powers.
That said, there was a great article online that just came out, which talks about how some entrepreneurs consider their ADHD to be a superpower. It was in Smart Money, was called: “Why Some Entrepreneurs Call ADHD a “Superpower”" and it talks about some successful business people with ADHD.
How can these entrepreneurs consider their ADHD a superpower?
This article shares the positive, as well as some of the possible negatives associated with the condition, as seen in this quote:
On the plus side, people with ADHD often have an immense amount of energy, and they think outside the box — because their ideas could never fit inside one box. On the minus side, they have an inability to focus on what bores them, can make sloppy errors when rushing (which is almost always) and have a stronger-than-average tendency to put a foot in their mouth.
Some of the entrepreneurs mentioned include high profile business people with ADHD, including:
- Paul Orfalea: founder of Kinkos
- David Neeleman: Founder of JetBlue airlines
- Peter Shankman: angel investor and technology expert and principal of The Geek Factory
This article also discusses some smaller business owners – like Steve Ferree – who bought a franchise of Roto rooter, and found that his ADHD impacted some of his ability to manage his business.
It is important to do one task at a time – and not to multitask – especially if you have ADHD. My favorite example of this from the article is from Peter Shankman:
Shankman takes that concept to an extreme. Asked to write a book in two weeks, he reserved a business class flight to Tokyo. When he got there, he drank a few espressos in the lounge, turned around and came back. He finished the book in 30 hours. The trip cost $4,000 and was “worth every penny,” he says.
All in all, this article highlights how the ADHD brain can help people in business, and at the same time, it provides some balance… i.e. that ADHD can cause problems if the right strategies or treatments aren’t in place. I like this approach, because this is similar to the stance that I take in my book – that ADHD can have its strengths, but you do have to get the negative symptoms out of the way.
Please share your thoughts and comments below.