If you are running low on inspiration as an individual with ADHD, let us open up Google for a second because there are so many GREATS out there that have found wild success. They made it happen despite what others said. They went against the norms. They revolutionized the way things were done.
I know having ADHD hardly feels like a "superpower". There are so many symptoms and constant struggles that drive against that notion. The weight you feel when you talk about your ADHD, the regrets, the what-ifs, all of them in some way, shape or form tied back to your symptoms. It is difficult, that is a fact.
Look at it like this though for a second. There are quite a lot of symptoms of ADHD, without them, what would you be?
They are as much a part of you as your arm or your leg, you won't grow out of them because they change with you and your lifestyle. The best and most important thing you can do for yourself, is to develop ways and build tools to manage your life and effort enough for the best of you to shine through. That work you put in will have a lasting positive impact on those around you as well.
If you can manage that feat, anything is possible. Each of us has our own definition for what greatness can be, so here are a few stories from ADHD-ers that helped themselves and changed the world.
Not just "in" sports, more like at the highest level of athleticism, the Olympics. Justin Gatlin, gold medalist in the 2004 Olympic 100meter and multiple 100m world champion, faced a year long ban early in his career for the stimulants he was taking to address his ADD. Persevering through that set back and another a few years later, Justin was able to set multiple world records in the 100m dash on the world stage pushing into his mid thirties, an extremely impressive accomplishment. His career is a testament to the benefits of hard work and constant improvement.
Cammi Granato, an Olympic gold and silver medalist in hockey and Hockey Hall of Famer, worked through hardships "off the ice" managing her busy life while her career "on ice" flourished. Eventually at the age of 32, she was diagnosed with ADHD and the pieces fell in place. Granato was quoted in ADDitude magazine as having "relief (realizing) that ADHD was behind her inability to deal with day-to-day responsibilities".
The list of Olympians goes on, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles as well, their stories are well known!
There are the only slightly revolutionary individuals like Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison that have been speculated to have had ADHD. It is well known that Einstein was constantly getting in trouble in grade school and college because of his inability to pay attention. He often spoke up to authority figures as well and if I might add, he was probably right in doing so.
Edison and his relation to ADHD can be found well documented and explained in the book by Thom Hartmann, "The Edison Gene: ADHD and The Gift of The Hunter Child". Interesting spin on the name ADHD, I quite like the "Edison gene". According to records, Edison was expelled from school at an early age for "behaviors that would label him as having ADHD" (ADDitudemag).
Ted Nelson was an early pioneer of information technology, a philosopher and sociologist with ADHD. His intelligence, creativity and ability to think outside the box led him to coin various terms, like "hypertext" and "microtransactions", we still use today. His book "Computer Lib", is credited in some circles to have been the light guiding much of the computer revolution and evolution during the late 20th and early 21st century.
Bill Gates as some of you may know has said he struggles with ADHD as well. His net worth is well-known, as a kid I remember visiting a website that was dedicated to tracking how much money he made every second. It is a lot. Most recently with the Gates Foundation, he and his ex-wife have been able to promote and fund philanthropic activity all around the world.
In the Arts...
Leonardo Da Vinci might actually be able to fit into all the categories above as a master sculptor, painter, engineer, scientist, mathematician, and architect. He is however most well-known in the arts. The book "Grey Matter Leonardo da Vinci: a genius driven to distraction", written by Marco Catani, explains his method of working. He would often start and work on multiple projects at once and struggled intensely with finishing them. The book also explains his constant disorganization.
Wherever you look, it is hard to not see a fair share of individuals with ADHD that revolutionized their fields. I would go as far as to say that without ADHD many of these people would not have seen the level of success and fame that they will be remembered for, for years to come.
ADHD can make you spontaneous, energetic, creative and inventive, and most consistent of all, hyperfocused. Finding the tools to move forward, the techniques to manage your symptoms and turn the negatives into positives is extremely difficult but if you succeed in that, there is not doubt that you will be able to lead the life you want.