I’ve already mentioned that ADHD is an equal opportunities condition. But one of the strange quirks, according to my anecdotal evidence (many years of meeting ADHDers), is that ADHDers tend to be intelligent.
When I say ‘intelligent’ I mean having agile minds – fast moving and able to solve problems that you wouldn’t expect.
E.g. I ended up doing an A level I wasn’t cut out for – mathematics – with the Oxbridge candidates. Hardcore maths geeks. I was completely out of my depth and rapidly fell behind.
But every now and then I’d look at a problem and the answer would just leap into focus. I couldn’t explain the working out (and it was too complicated to guess) – and it didn’t save my failing ass. People who want answers to complex problems want to know your logic, so it’s no use – especially when it happens at random and infrequently.
I knew I’d solved the problems properly – it was like watching a film of the problem being solved in fast forward, but too fast to see anything in detail.
Which sounds about right – ADHD brains seem to have frequent roadblocks. Being forced into using tangential thinking is fairly normal for us – and tangential thinking is quite often seen as intelligence. Put just the right problem in front of me and I’ll smash it. Make it dull, or a bit too hard, and I’ll bog down. A proper Goldilocks zone. Life is rarely that convenient.
But if you’re in the creative arts then chasing red herrings down blind alleys isn’t so much of an issue, but pointing out what doesn’t occur to other people might be what you want.
There’s a profile for ADHDers – we tend to find employment in some sectors and not others (there are always exceptions). Performing arts/media is a big one. I once had a conversation with a former military air traffic controller, which was a surprise until he explained why it worked for him. They work you hard for short periods and then rest you properly – it makes sense when you think about it.
Simone Biles – gymnast. How many medals? All of them. Nearly. Performing at Olympic level needs dedication and hard work – yes, ADHDers can do that. But it’s tough for us. As if winning medals isn’t hard enough already!
Emma Watson – actor. It’s one of those open secrets, but she doesn’t talk about her ADHD. It’s not compulsory!
Steve Jobs – the Apple guy. Dared to think outside the box – nearly invented a new kind of box…one much more user friendly, but three times the price. Wins out over Bill Gates for ‘most exciting ADHDer in charge of half the world’s money’.
Will.I.Am. – songwriter. Just can’t stop songwriting. Or tweeting. Or social media-ing. Can’t. Stop.
That’s a very short list – people in the ‘performance’ business. Media/sports/arts/entrepreneurship are havens for ADHDers – the fast pace and creativity play to our strengths (I can’t draw for toffee, not even slowly. Ho-hum).
The above are all known to be diagnosed – here’s one we’re claiming.
Obviously he died before ADHD was discovered…
But the more you read about Einstein the more you’re sure he was an ADHDer – his descriptions of how he worked stuff out is just bang on. He refused to memorise many facts…because they got in the way and you could always look them up when you needed them, is typical. The messy desk/board…and personal relationships. Very messy on the affairs front.
But overall he’s a corker and a benchmark for genius.