While businesses invest in bringing in speakers and trainings to encourage creative thinking in the workplace, more schools narrowly focus on teaching to the test than ever before. Creativity is one of the gifts of ADHD and a child can go through their entire education without having their capacity for innovation, breakthrough ideas or specific artistic skill recognized. Many of the very behaviors that get ADHD kids in trouble – self-direction, wanting to explore rather than memorize, and “defiance” will be highly valued in business settings
An individual who succeeds in today’s economy will have a greater chance of success if she is intensely curious. The ability to synthesize information is becoming increasingly important at many different job levels. The greater your capacity for exploring different domains and broaching arenas of knowledge outside of your specialization, the greater your chances of success. Many businesses and corporations now require employees to interact with cultures all over the world. The more interested you are in learning about the cultures you interact with, the greater your chances of success.
As a child, this very same curiosity may have gotten you into trouble. Teachers may have viewed your questions as “defiant,” or blamed you for derailing the class in your pursuit of the unknown. Thankfully, not all teachers are this way. The ability to consider questions that we don’t have answers to is a true gift, and it can lead to amazing unexpected discoveries.
ADD students often get into trouble for taking the stance, “Who says?” And yet, this ability will be increasingly important in the information age. On the one hand, there is a tremendous amount of good information easily accessible on the Internet. (A huge boon to people who have difficulty memorizing information or holding onto minute details!) On the other hand, there is a lot of bad information on the Internet. As we come to rely more and more on the Internet, it’s going to become exceptionally important to question the sources of online information. In this digital information era, it’s important to not just take the information we find with a grain of salt, but to actively question its source. Curiosity, the insistent demand to push the boundaries of what is known, and asking, “Who says?” are exactly what the world needs right now.
Leadership and Innovation
A person with ADD may be more interested in shaping his environment than being shaped by it. This is a fundamental characteristic of ADD; it’s often labeled “defiance” or sometimes “inability to follow directions.” It means you want to impact or change the world you live in. Outside of the classroom this is called leadership. If you can effectively tap into your desire to change the way the world operates, you will go far in your professional career. In the workplace, this is called innovation. In the current culture – and most industries – innovation is the only way to survive and thrive. Being at the head of a technological curve and doing things better and more quickly can help businesses get ahead. This is true even if you aren’t in the technology industry itself – the adoption of cutting-edge technologies drives most industries.
When you begin to recognize your own gifts, you set the stage for real world success. My book The Gift of Adult ADD profiles many successful ADD adults who find happiness and great success by embracing their differences as unusual and distinct abilities.
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