Usually when you hear about ADHD all you hear about is the negative aspects of life for those of us who have the condition. So it’s refreshing to read a short, but good article titled The Upside of ADHD over at MSN’s Health & Fitness site that gives an overview of the positives that are rarely mentioned.
JetBlue Airways CEO and founder David Neeleman is famously frank about his ADHD. He was diagnosed in 2001, seven years after he realized he had it. By then, he’d already founded and then sold Morris Air. He had done so well in his own eccentric way that he felt he was doing fine without medication. Still, Neeleman says he’s not anti-meds: “I have talked to a lot of people who swear by the medication.”
Neeleman credits ADHD with his creativity and “out-of-the-box thinking”—it led him to invent e-tickets while at Morris, for example. “One of the weird things about the type of [ADHD] I have is, if you have something you are really, really passionate about, then you are really, really good about focusing on that thing. It’s kind of bizarre that you can’t pay the bills and do mundane tasks, but you can do your hyper-focus area.” He spends “all my waking hours” obsessing about JetBlue. The rest of his life, Neeleman says, would be a “disaster” if not for his wife, who manages their home and children; his accountant, who pays the bills and tracks his finances; and his personal assistant, who sends him his schedule every day and steers him from appointment to appointment, keeping him on track.
As frustrating as being ADHD can be there’s no way I’d get rid of it if it were possible. I’ve grown to rely on the positive aspects it provides. I have no doubts that I wouldn’t be the professional geek that I am if not for my ADHD and I do seem to have an unusual ability to be able to work with just about anyone. Plus it helps to make me awesome at video games much to the annoyance of the thirteen olds whose asses I kick regularly in Call of Duty. Being ADHD easily has as many positives to it as it does negatives and it’s nice to see some of those good aspects being highlighted.