Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

What is ADHD?

When one starts writing an online blog, there should be a box to click that asks us to agree to the fact that once you start a blog there comes with it great responsibility, especially when you are writing about an issue that is quickly becoming one of the most important issues of our time: ADHD! The reality is that most people in society as a whole do not know what ADHD is or how it truly affects people with it. Bloggers are helping clarify our personal realities with ADHD by sharing experiences.

The news media often describes ADHD as wild, hyperactive and troublesome and to a limited degree that’s a correct assessment, but usually this describes untreated ADHD and then only for a percentage of those with it, even then that’s only part of the equation. The truth of the matter is that ‘wild, hyperactive and troublesome’ are the behaviors that affect people ‘around’ those who display these types of behaviors and therefore these types of behaviors are far more likely to get notice and news. However, there are those with ADHD who are not hyperactive, are not wild and are not always troublesome to others (except maybe to themselves) – I fell into this category undiagnosed, and this is part of the reason I remained undiagnosed for so long.

The news media also presents ADHD as an issue that keeps people out of work and out of relationships, but doesn’t seem to mention that ADHD also contributes to people being workaholics, susceptible to being used and that many with ADHD are very caring and sensitive. There are those with ADHD who are highly successful and are some of the most accomplished people of our time. What’s more is that ADHD is far and away more prevalent than is realized by the general public.

Michael Phelps recently won a record number of gold medals and has ADHD. Seth Godin, the top marketing guru of our generation, has ADHD (he revealed it here on my blog). Ari Emanuel, hollywood powerhouse and co-founder of William Morris/Endeavor Entertainment, has ADHD (there’s an articleabout him in the latest issue of ADDitude Magazine). Robin Williams has ADHD (I wrote about him here). And the list of prominent people with ADHD goes on and on. Sir Richard Branson, David Neeleman, Alan M. Meckler, Charles Schwab… Woopie Goldberg has ADHD, author and Harvard Grad Nancy Ratey has ADHD, Lara Honos-Webb (author of the book we are giving away this month) has ADHD, and author of Wishcraft Barbara Sher has ADD too.

Most people never realize that there are people with ADHD around them each and every day and the main reason for that is because there are too many misperceptions about what ADHD is.

Some tend to think that low intelligence is a factor in ADHD. It’s not. You may have a very high IQ and have ADHD or a lower than average IQ and have ADHD. If someone is acting silly and is hyperactive in nature, then they must have ADHD… right? – actually, no, that may just mean they are acting silly and a bit hyperactive in nature, but not necessarily ADHD, as that is just another misperception. IQ doesn’t always spell out how well someone will or won’t do, but the misperception is that IQ is everything. A recent Yale study explains why it is not and there are many other studies in agreement (search Google).

Living with undiagnosed ADHD (ADD in my case) for so long was detrimental. And that’s one of the main issues to difficulties and challenges with ADHD, when it is ‘undiagnosed’. Diagnosed ADHD can be challenging enough, but undiagnosed, well, let’s just say everything involved is compounded, not to mention untreated.

Even so, ADHD in of itself is not always detrimental, especially once it has been properly diagnosed. There are many treatments available which can help people live normal lives and become successful. Actually, a negative mindset with depression can be far more damaging than ADHD is and when they are co-morbid, that’s when things really become troublesome.

Now what’s the point of this post? Have I clarified what ADHD is? No. The point is simply that what the majority of people tend to think ADHD is, in fact isn’t necessarily correct. And no, not everyone is going to become rich or famous, but that doesn’t mean we are doomed to failure or we can’t become successful in our own right.

Bloggers have a great responsibility to help get the word out and help explain our realities with ADHD, as we can’t depend on any one news report about any one person with ADHD. ADHD comes in so many shapes and sizes and there is no basic description that fits all of us, detrimental, beneficial or otherwise. Heck, even writing this blog I have been told that, especially when I use ‘we and us’, which is just an excuse for me to simplify, but there is nothing simple about what ADHD is or isn’t.

Do you know what ADHD is?

With the above question I wanted to end this post; however, I am compelled to take this one step further. It’s easy to think that once someone is diagnosed with ADHD they are doomed to failure and leading a life of mediocrity. That’s not true. With proper treatment and a positive mindset, which in most cases must be cultivated, one can become successful in their own right (read my free eBook about Super Focusing for more details). For anyone that believes otherwise I would hazard to guess that ADHD is not their only issue, negative thinking and depression are quite common in those of us with ADHD and must be treated equally!

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions with regard to the names of successful people I listed above with ADHD (which is just a fraction of the list) – How did they become successful? Did they spend their days listing all the negatives of ADHD and tell themselves and others how detrimental and hopeless their situations are? Or did they cultivate a positive attitude and find ways to ‘make it’? Did they overcome depression and anxieties or give in to them? Did they follow their passions or did they believe they had nothing to offer? Did they find a way when there was no obvious way present? Or, were they tapped on the shoulder with a magic wand and ‘POOF!’ they became successful? Or did they find ways to use their innate talent and nature to forge a way?

It is important to know what ADHD is, understanding it is the key to overcoming, finding proper treatment and finding ‘your way’; however, if we dissect every aspect of ADHD to prove to ourselves why we can’t do it and why we never will do it, well, can we find success like that? Is that going to make us feel better? – did those people I mention find success that way? I have been very fortunate to discuss this issue with some who have made it and let me assure you, negative thinking disguised as realistic thinking is not the answer to a fulfilling life and is certainly not how people with ADHD make it to the top, or anyone for that matter. They have challenges, in some cases very serious challenges which have led some far astray with disastrous consequences, so it’s not all sunshine and roses; however, it’s not the failures and setbacks which they allow to define them. In some cases certain setbacks have actually helped some people get to the next level in their life. Let’s not forget that setbacks are meant to give us a challenge, to seek to become better, to stretch ourselves to greater heights! I can tell you with certainty that if certain setbacks had not happened in my life, my books, this blog, the ADDer World ADHD Social Network and many other personal accomplishments would have never come about! 

Taking an honest moment to admit to ourselves what ‘defines’ us and how we perceive ADHD, I believe goes a long way in determining our true direction. What you believe is what you can achieve. Right? I think so, but one way is the hard way, takes a lot of time and a great amount of effort and positive influence; however, the other way, the supposed ‘realistic’ way, is the easy way out. I can tell you, no one who has accomplished great things in their life ever came about it by thinking they couldn’t, they wouldn’t and never allowed ‘realism’ to get in their way. But, ADHD is this and this and this…. true, it’s important to know and understand the facts; however, is this information used to enable you to find answers and solutions or give you a reason to remain where you are or to accept defeat because that’s part of ‘the facts’? What we tend to overlook is that doctors, scientists and the many other professionals spelling out ADHD are doing this to give proper direction with what to treat and how to treat it. Besides, it is also important to remember that not all people with ADHD or any other issue share all of the same symptoms.  

Maybe, just maybe, those who have achieved success found a way to see the positives in their lives, find passions and worked on them harder than anything else, gave it their all and maybe they didn’t dream of success like some do, but rather worked hard for it in what they wanted and how they wanted it. It’s easy to fall victim to ADHD and the many factors which are co-morbid, but it is damn hard work and tenacity and perhaps a lot of super focus added into the mix which allows some to step above the news reports and supposed realistic ideologies (the easy trap). Living the symptoms is easy, finding and working the solutions is hard work, but ultimately worth the effort.

Are you in the trap? I was. You can get out of it. I did.