Yes. In addition to Jet Blue CEO David Neeleman and Virgin’s Richard Branson see his book Like a Virgin, 1st page of the forward, “I suffered from an acute combination of dyslexia and from what I’d suppose would nowadays be diagnosed as attention deficit disorder” here’s a 3rd example of a billionaire with ADHD who has the guts to go public with it.
Paul Orfalea was a D-student, flunked two grades, was expelled from four out of eight schools, and graduated eighth from the bottom of his high school class. As a hyperactive dyslexic, he was barely able to read, struggled on school tests, had no mechanical ability, and after being fired from numerous jobs, was virtually unemployable as a young adult. Eventually, he found a way to turn learning disabilities into learning opportunities.
He later founded Kinko‘s copy center in 1970, and built it up to over 1,000 stores in 4 continents. He later sold it to Fedex and it became Fedex Kinkos
Orfalea said he still has no idea how a copy machine works, has never used e-mail and reads, at best, at a fifth-grade level… “My job was going from store to store to store to find out what people were doing right,” he said. “In every store, there was something people were doing that was novel or creative.
He talks about how he interviewed prospective employees. He took them out for beers and saw how they behaved, asked if they enjoyed visiting their parents and asked them a question he knew they couldn’t answer to see if they could say the words “I don’t know” in an interview. Obviously using some of his ADD strengths, i.e., creativity and intuition.
How many of you work for bosses that actively look for what you’re doing right? If we had more of these it would change the world.
“If you’re going to enjoy the picnic that life really is, you’d better learn to like yourself, not despite your flaws and so-called deficits, but because of them,” he writes.
Paul Orfalea has a new book out called Copy This! Lessons From a Hyperactive Dyslexic Who Turned a Bright Idea into One of America’s Best Companies.
Orfalea’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder taught him not to be deterred by obstacles, how to cut through the red tape — or just ignore it — to grow a business without losing perspective, to surround himself with the right people and still have plenty of time to enjoy life.
An amazing inspiring example of what a determined ADDer can do. Didn’t seem like ADD held him back, it was one thing that propelled him forward.
Having ADD can be a strong competitive edge for an entrepreneur if you learn to manage or delegate some of the negative aspects of it. Some ADHD strengths that can be useful for an entrepreneur include:
- High energy
- Rapid fire mind
- Highly creative
- Ability to hyperfocus
- Good at brainstorming
- Great in a crisis, since it is often a very familiar environment:)
- Good at multitasking
- Able to see and quickly take advantage of business opportunities (impulsivity
- be useful in the right context)