I have ADHD and I love it!

Published: May 7, 2014

Every time I tried to focus on something, I just couldn't do it, even when I tried my best to.

Sitting in the backseat of my class, I somehow couldn’t bring myself to focus on the teacher’s lecture. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to focus; I was actually trying my best to do so. I kicked myself every day for not being able to focus properly. But the stories popping up in my head were far more amusing and interesting than the boring lectures on dog training sessions.

When there were no stories popping up in my head, I would look outside the window and my mind would make private jokes about people roaming around outside in the school ground.

I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and I simply loved it. It made my life wonderful and exciting. I flunked or barely passed courses in school, college and university. My happiness level was 10 out of 10.

My cupboard is filled with dozens of creative writing certificates. I participated in a global writing competition and won. When teachers would put me onstage, the crowd usually rocked with laughter at my stories. When I was 22-years-old, I had completely given up on education, considering it to be ‘lethal for my creativity’. Two years later, I ended up founding two successful entrepreneurial firms.

I can go on about the benefits of my day dreaming and how it helped my career, but that is not why I am writing this article.

If you are 16-years-old and you have similar symptoms, do not punch yourself in the face.

Here is why!

Jonah Lehrer’s article in The Wall Street Journal ‘Bother Me, I’m Thinking’ highlighted why distractions are imperative for creative people. He discussed a study which proves that ADHD is associated with creative achievement. He also pointed out a study by Shelley Carson from Harvard which explains that eminent creative achievers were seven times more likely to have reduced latent inhibition – your ability to consider irrelevant things as relevant. People with reduced latent inhibition tend to treat old things as novel, even if they have seen them countless times.

Barry Kauffman, a cognitive psychologist at New York University (NYU) says,

“Reduced latent inhibition gives you more confidence in intuition – because those with reduced latent inhibition actually have more accurate intuitions. Latent inhibition is a form of mental flexibility. People with reduced latent inhibition consider everything as potentially relevant. And this is conducive to creativity because sometimes the seemingly irrelevant is relevant”.

An article on Fast Company by Drake Baer points out that Albert Einstein and Charles Dickens both had relatively low latent inhibition levels.

So, if you are sitting in a room full of people feeling like the odd man out, here is what I want you to do:

1)  Relax! God just wanted you to be different!

2)  Medical help for ADHD might increase your focus a bit but it’ll be sporadic, while day dreaming sprees are inevitable.

3)  Consider ADHD as a gift and use it to your advantage. Choose subjects which require creativity.

While people might consider us ‘different’, we need to remember that they do not understand that which they do not know.

Shan Nasir

Shan Nasir

Is an IBA graduate having interned at Sanofi Aventis, Engro Foods and The Citizens Foundation. He strongly believes that individuality and free thinking should not be penalised in the land of the pure. He tweets @shannasir

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