The Gifts of ADHD

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

Sadly has deleted the article putting it in archives and unsearchable from archive. Here’s my post on it.

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?

20 thoughts on “The Gifts of ADHD”

  1. Peter Tongar

    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.


    Peter Tongar, Pseudonym

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

  2. Andrew Kinsella

    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.

  3. I think this is the key: “Its how you manage the ADHD that decide wether its a gift or a curse.”
    I am an ADHD teenager, and always refused to take a pill, even natural homeopathic ones. The idea that I needed to be fixed made me sick. I didn’t want to be fixed.
    Now I understand. Pills aren’t to “fix” the ADHD. The pills only help us to remove the “curse” part to only leave the “gifts” part. (Except for Ritalin and friends. That’s a different story).
    Thanks for helping me realise that. Its true we ADHDs can have wonderful gifts (artist speaking here) 🙂

  4. You’re welcome Emile, pills can be a useful part of managing adhd, they’re not the devil, but they’re not a complete solution, you need to develop self awareness, self management and skills. adhd meds will help put you in a better position to do that but you still need to find ways do learn those things. Many artists with adhd, I’d argue it’s a competitive edge, minus of course the paperwork and a few other things:)

  5. Jari Jansma

    Thankkkk youuuuuuuuuuuu. FINALLY THE WHOLE FUCKING TRUTH instead of the one-sided crap I’ve been hearing all my life. The underlying consensus in most adhd articles (and the schools, oh the schools…): Everyone that isn’t fit to be a structured organized “worker-bee” drone thing-y has to be doped up and/or suppressed. AARGHHH
    Phew. Just had to get that out of my system.

    Thank you for leading the way in trying to think in possibilities for once, refreshing to say the LEAST! Again, Thank you.


  6. Sure a lot of criminals have ADHD. But given the right support and treatment growing up, they might have been CEO’s. Sometimes ADHD and high intelligence in a world that doesn’t understand is a recipe for disaster.

  7. Yes that’s why I’d rather govt invest in diagnosing and treating us ADHD adults so we become legal entrepreneurs building jobs and the tax base vs criminal entrepreneurs depleting both.

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