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The Gifts of ADHD

by Pete Quily on May 11, 2005 · 14 comments

More and more experts say ADHD can be a gift rather than a malady”

Love that title. This article talks about the gifts of ADHD and give some examples on how to manage ADHD, including ADHD coaching.

Take David Neeleman, the billionaire CEO of JetBlue Airways, who calls ADHD one of his biggest assets. He credits the disorder with giving him the creativity that helped him develop an electronic ticketing system and pioneer several discount airlines

Dr. Ed Hallowell… and John Ratey make the case in their book that people with ADHD tend to be creative, intuitive, tenacious and high-energy. Sure, a number of criminals have ADHD, but so do a lot of successful artists and CEOs.

People with ADHD can think outside of the box and are willing to take risks, which can make them successful entrepreneurs.

It’s how you manage the ADHD that determines whether it’s a gift or a curse,” Hallowell said.

I definitely agree. Some people just view ADHD as 100% pathology.

I’m not denying there are many serious problems with ADHD but there are many benefits of the condition as well. Unfortunately, most of the people doing research on ADHD i.e., psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors are by in large trained on the pathology model.

If you’re looking solely for dysfunction and very little else, because that’s how you were trained and that’s what people generally who come to you for want to “fix”, that’s generally what you’ll find. There are exceptions of course, and this article talks about one of them i.e., Dr. Ed Hallowell and John Ratey.

I’ve seen hundreds of studies that just focus on how to deal with the negative traits of ADD.

Can anyone name me even 10 studies done by anyone in the medical field relating to ADD that actually look for positive traits of ADDers? Why are there few people looking in this direction when there are many people who deal with ADDers who talk about the positive aspects of ADHD?

For more examples on the gifts of ADHD see

the 151 advantages of ADD

My ADD / ADHD Strengths category posts on this blog

Some positive quotes about people with ADD

Thom Hartmann who has written several books on ADHD also talks about the gifts of ADHD. I highly recommend checking out his books.

They also mention a new book called “The Gift of ADHD” by Lara Honos-Webb. Has anyone read it? Any thoughts about it?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Tongar March 30, 2009 at

I think it is key that ADHD is indeed seen as a trait that can be seen positively as well as negatively. This is why I think it would be extremely useful to use a positive term such as “multi-modal” or similar instead of “ADHD”, which terms it a disorder.
See my website mentioned above for details.

Bye,

Peter Tongar, Pseudonym

(I have “top” scores along all three ADHD dimensions and can resist successfully the urge to come out about it) 8-)

Naren September 7, 2009 at

ADHD is also a strength "CEO of JetBlue Airways, who calls ADHD one of his biggest assets. " http://tinyurl.com/6kxrom

Pete Quily November 19, 2009 at

"You don't have #ADHD, you're successful in your job" 2 Billionaires with ADHD http://bit.ly/1kA9Z0 & http://bit.ly/3e9WQ2 #youdonthaveadhd

Pete Quily November 19, 2009 at

Billionaire CEO of Jet Blue Airlines David Neeleman credits the #ADHD with giving him the creativity http://bit.ly/3e9WQ2 #youdonthaveadhd

Pete Quily November 19, 2009 at

cont'd that helped him develop an electronic ticketing system & pioneer several discount airlines http://bit.ly/3e9WQ2 #youdonthaveadhd

Dr. John Grohol November 19, 2009 at

RT @petequily: Billionaire CEO of Jet Blue Airlines David Neeleman credits the #ADHD with giving him the creativity http://bit.ly/3e9WQ2

Andrew Kinsella January 17, 2010 at

I think we need to distinguish between Attention Difference and ADHD. Diagnosed with ADHD at 46 I finally grasped why so many social situations caused me so much trouble.
Most people in the world seem like horses with blinkers on to me.
I personally am happy to come out- it puts me in touch with more attention difference people- my kind of people, ones who I find interesting.
As for ADHD- that was yesterday- when I was suffering from trying to fit myself into a mold that did not fit me. Now I have the sense to jettison as much as possible of that which I find unsatisfactory, and just get on with the business of being me.
The funny thing is almost everyone finds me easier to get on with.

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