In Their Words

Michael Laskoff, entrepreneur, author, blogger, sounds off on family, career, life.

Unlike many people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), I did well in school, graduating with honors from the University of Chicago and Harvard Business School. But ADD/ADHD was devastating to the early part of my career. Until I was well over 30, I could not hold a job for more than a year.

People with ADD/ADHD spend a lot of time on the defensive, as a result of not living up to other peoples’ expectations. Faced with that, some “drop out” of a system that doesn’t reward them. Others find a way to persist in shifting the blame to others. I took the latter route.

I don’t like the word “gift” applied to ADD/ADHD; it implies that we are special. People with ADD/ADHD are not special: We are simply neurologically different.

I admit it: Medication isn’t right for everyone, but under-medication is a much bigger problem than overmedication. Many people who go without meds suffer needlessly and profoundly.

Ninety-five percent of the world does not have ADD/ADHD. So while we can ask people for more understanding of our situation, we have to succeed in a non-ADHD world. The responsibility lies with us.