Support & Stories

“I Don’t Waste Time Trying to Wrestle With My ADHD”

Peter Carlisle, managing director of Octagon’s Olympic and Sports Action division, shares how he came to accept — and even cherish — his ADHD.

Peter Carlisle, a successful entrepreneur with ADHD
Close-up shot of Peter Carlisle, man with ADHD

I had my struggles in school. I was interested in learning, but I couldn’t force my mind to follow any sort of structured teaching. I had many interests and my attention gravitated to them. Over the years, those passions have included photography, drumming, playing guitar, woodworking, golf, tennis, and gardening. They have served me well in my life. They have also proved helpful in my business; I find it easy to relate to people with many different areas of interest.

I started taking medication 10 years ago, and after a year or so of experimenting with different types and dosages, found something that seemed to work well for me. I see medication as a subtle intervention mechanism to make it easier to direct my focus to things that might not otherwise captivate my attention.

There are many benefits to ADHD, too many to list. In terms of performance and productivity, I feel attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) has been a tremendous advantage. It becomes a disadvantage when you’re expected to conform to a structure that doesn’t make sense to you. It’s important for those with ADHD to find a job or career that is genuinely aligned with their interests.

The key is to understand yourself, stop fighting the tide, maximize the extent to which ADHD is an advantage, and minimize the extent to which it holds you back. I accept my ADHD, and I don’t waste time trying to wrestle it into conformity with the outside world.

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