I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to find a catchy introduction to this piece, but I don’t think I can find one, so let’s get to the point.
Six months ago, I was diagnosed with Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Adult ADHD).
And honestly? I couldn’t be happier.
I always knew there was something special about me, but this diagnosis just confirms it.
Because the “consequences” of ADHD can actually be turned into pragmatic, innovative and genuine characteristics that make me a productive machine.
Yes, ADHD has given me creative super powers, and I’m going to tell you exactly how.
Let’s start with the early days.
As a child, I couldn’t sustain my focus in, well, anything.
You couldn’t force me to sit down and read a book for an hour even if you paid me to.
You couldn’t ask me to control my emotions even if you threatened me with a "no dessert after dinner!".
I was hopeless. My parents always thought it was because I was inattentive, energetic, or “just being a child.”
But the symptoms never stopped.
As I grew older, I realized something was in fact "wrong" with me.
I didn’t see myself as stupid. On the contrary, I knew I was intelligent. I also knew that to get the job done, all I had to do was to sit down and focus.
But alas, focus and I were (and to this day, sometimes are) complete strangers. All I ever did was wing everything and anything.
My childhood was tough, but going through ADHD as an adult? It's truly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Just like any other adult, responsibilities keep mounting.
A full-time job, bills to pay, people I have to see instead of want to see, being ruled by emotions, decisions and choices getting the better of me...
It genuinely feels like life is suffocating all the time. I barely get things done, and when I do, I ignore everything and everyone else around me.
It wasn’t until I had a YouTube video suggested to me by the platform’s own algorithm.
Here it is, if you're interested.
I didn’t think much of it back then and decided to give it a watch (because, you know, I was procrastinating like all ADHD adults do).
I suppose you already know what happens next, right?
My (Embarrasing) conversation with my laptop
Video: “You may have ADHD if you feel like you’re struggling with day-to-day responsibilities.”
Me: Yeah, but don’t we all?
Video: “Another thing to point out is that you’re emotionally responsive, and sometimes feel emotions get the better of you in a way that you can’t control.”
Me: “Um..okay, yes, but still that could be a lot of pe-”
Video: “Do you also feel that you have something to do, you get 95% of the work done, but can’t be bothered for the last 5%?”
Me: “YES! OH MY GOD DO I HAVE ADHD?”
This went on-and-on; video after video, one blog post after the other, I got deeper and deeper into the ADHD knowledge base.
After days of research, I was pretty much convinced I had ADHD. I just needed confirmation from a medical professional.
And I got that confirmation a week later. In fact, I was told that I had a “severe case of ADHD and should be on medication.”
I won’t get into the debate of ADHD medication. Personally, I’m all for it - not many people (especially parents) are, and that’s fine. No judgement from me.
But when I started the meds, I can not begin to describe how my entire life just elevated to all-new high - pun-intended.
It was as if I was in a car on first-gear my entire life, and it wasn’t until I took that first pill that I realized I had a second, third, fourth and fifth gear to use to my advantage.
Did I feel like the guy from Limitless? Hell yes I did.
But over time, I realized it wasn’t the pills that changed me. I changed me.
You see, the pills go as far as controlling your symptoms, giving you a chance to get your priorities in order and help you get the best possible chance of succeeding with whatever it is you want to do.
But it’s important to note that the ADHD symptoms don’t just go away. They’re still there, just less explicit.
Somehow, I managed to turn these symptoms into mechanisms of productivity, and after a little research, I found that having full control of how these symptoms influence me and my behaviours is the key to unlocking my hidden potential.
Yes, ADHD has given me creative super powers. Sign me up for the Justice League, because I’m full of ‘em!
I’m a creative type. I mean, I kind of have to be if I’m going to be in the presentation design business, don’t I?
But no lie, I think my creativity stems from my ADHD. And I love it.
I feel like my mind can “see things differently.” I always look for out-of-the-box solutions, and make connections with different things that have absolutely no relationship to each other.
Don’t believe me?
Then maybe you’ll believe what Psychology Today has to say about it.
Yes, a study in 2006 indicates that people with ADHD were found to score higher than those without ADHD in a measure of "divergent thinking."
On a personal level, it makes sense. Just look at my track record:
I’m telling you, not many people can come up with this stuff! It’s no wonder that Walt Disney himself had ADHD.
If you’ve watched my PowerPoint tutorials, you can pretty much tell I’m all about positive energy and enthusiasm. My wife says it’s contagious.
And no, I’m not making this up either. In fact, a recent study highlights that those diagnosed with ADHD are extremely enthusiastic in what they do.
Okay, yes, I agree that too much optimism can be a bad thing. But hey, if I have the ability to make people laugh and smile just by talking and being in a good mood, then damn it - I’m leaving a legacy!
If you’re in the creative industry, you need enthusiasm to progress. I’m willing to bet every penny in my bank account to ascertain this.
How on earth are you going to feel motivated, inspired, or even bothered to act on anything if you don’t love what you do? Especially when your whole thing is about coming up with new stuff that’s relevant and interesting?
It’s all about the good vibes!
I never paid attention to this one up until I discussed it with a therapist. But this superpower does indeed hold merit.
I always find myself being the rationale one whenever s!@# hits the fan. For some reason, I look for a way to keep calm and draw up possible solutions, weighing the outcomes of each one, until I pursue a path of action.
Here’s a story to illustrate just that: There was this one time where I did a product launch with the Slide Cow Toolkit, but nobody was even receiving their product after they bought it. Imagine paying $50 for something and not being able to get what you rightly paid for, without a word from the person you bought it from.
Understandably, people were really upset.
I sat down and prioritized everything I needed to; I realized that wasting my time trying to fix something that I had no idea about wasn’t an option for me, so I needed some outside help. I also realized that this was my mistake and I should take full accountability for it, even if it cost me.
So I got to work.
First, I found a freelance WordPress developer, agreed to an hourly rate, gave him administrator access to this website and told him to both find and fix the problem for me.
He fixed it in three hours.
I then reached out to every customer that didn’t get their product and made sure they got it by manually typing out an apology for each and every one, with a download link for the product they purchased.
I also offered each customer a 50% discount coupon for any Slide Cow product they wanted to buy in the future, and if they needed a refund, I would issue immediately.
I ended it all by thoroughly tested the sales process with my own credit card to make sure things were seamless.
Everything was dandy again, and I learned a lesson. Test your stuff when you build it!
Okay, up until this point I’ve been glorifying ADHD, but I need to lay-down the cold-hard truth.
ADHD is a real thing, and it’s really difficult to cope with.
It can impact everything from your work life, to the relationships you have with your family and friends, especially if you don’t know what to look out for.
Using ADHD to your advantage isn’t easy either. I didn’t even know I had it for 28 years of my life. And beyond that, it took months for me to find a way turn my symptoms into productivity mechanisms. And yes, it was, and still is, a struggle.
But if you, or someone you know, have/has ADHD, know that it’s okay.
ADHD isn’t a disease. It’s just another way to make someone a little more unique. People with ADHD are not beneath anyone on this planet, and they can do whatever their heart desires if they put in the work.
Will Smith, the world-famous actor? Yeah, he has ADHD.
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin? He has it too.
Michael Jordan? The greatest basketball player of all time? ADHD confirmed!
ADHD isn’t the end of you, it’s just the beginning.
When you find your way to translate it into creative super powers? The world won’t even try to stop you, because you'd be too good.
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