Don’t mistake your ADHD strengths for symptoms! They are unique traits and abilities that make you more creative, spontaneous, caring, and energetic than anyone you know. Here are a few of our favorites benefits of ADD.
Be proud of your attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) and all the out-of-the-box thinking, humor, drive, and passion it brings! Read on for some of the best traits of people with ADHD we know and love.
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The Drive of ADD Hyperfocus
ADHD's trademark hyperfocus is a serious advantage — if you can effectively channel all that attention and energy into work that makes a difference. “Many scientists, writers, and artists with ADHD have had very successful careers, in large part because of their ability to focus on what they’re doing for hours on end,” says Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D.
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Real ADHD Resilience
ADHD isn’t always a walk in the park, and we've all faced our share of disappointments and embarrassments over the years. But people with ADHD excel at pushing past setbacks, adapting new strategies, and moving forward better than ever. As Linda Roggli said, “We see the light at the end of the darkest tunnel. We pick ourselves up off the sidewalk when we fall. We smile through our tears.”
Individuals with ADHD are bright, creative, and funny — often using self-deprecating humor to remind the world that perfection is wholly uninteresting. They’ve faced challenges, learned novel ways to manage their symptoms, and developed a sense of humility and self-respect along the way. All these traits add up to a person who is a pleasure to be around, and brightens others’ days with her warmth.
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Barbara, an ADDitude reader from Virginia, writes that the thing she loves most about her son is “his generosity and his desire to please those he cares about. He is so protective of his younger sister.” Individuals with ADHD love to make people happy, whether it’s by sharing a cookie or inviting a friend to cry on their shoulder.
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We're able to harness that ADHD creativity in strange and wonderful ways. ADDitude contributor Linda Roggli struggled with filing her papers alphabetically. So she came up with her own system. “The associations in my head are one-of-a-kind,” she says. “If my brain thinks of life insurance policies and bicycle warranties the same way, that’s how I file them. When I return to that folder, I’ll find them both.” Whatever works for us, right?
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A Strong Sense of Fairness
After living with accommodations — or perhaps struggling without them — people with ADHD know that “fair” doesn’t always mean “equal.” They understand that different people need different things to succeed, and they’re committed to helping whomever they can.
Thomas Edison — who may have had ADHD — put all his efforts toward inventing the light bulb, even when it seemed impossible. In the end, it took him more than 3,000 tries before he made a functioning light bulb, but the victory was immeasurably sweet because he had to risk a lot — and fail even more — to make it work.
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As ADDitude blogger Allison Larkin points out, “Acting on impulse sometimes results in wonderful things.” A totally unplanned drive to New England in the middle of a snowstorm brought her to the town she would fall in love with, and later move to. Find out what your spontaneity can do for you!
Finding money (or clothing, or a tasty snack) that you forgot about earlier makes life a string of pleasant surprises. Who knows what you’ll uncover next?!
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Last of the Romantics
“Spontaneity, outside-the-box creativity, and heightened energy” — all traits of people with ADHD — “add pizzazz to romantic interludes.” Adults with ADHD are known for showering their partners with affection — and forever believing in the power of love, even when their relationships hit a bump in the road.
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Engaging Conversational Skills
One thing is certain — with ADHD, there’s never a quiet moment! Your constantly racing brain is always leading you toward new topics of discussion and questions of great import; awkward lulls in the conversation are virtually nonexistent.
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Though we often struggle in school or in social situations without adequate help, people with ADHD are known for their compassion toward others and willingness to lend a hand. As proud momma Dee Boling said after her son was awarded Student of the Month, “I’d rather have a kind, cooperative kid than a smart aleck who gets straight As without trying.”
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Lisa Aro's daughter has ADHD, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder — and she can only see out of one eye. Does she let any of this stop her? Nope! As her mother writes to her, “You write, draw, paint, film, act, invent, create, and dream. You set your sights on something and do it. No disability has stopped you from pursuing what you want.” Thousands of other persistent people with ADHD do the same every single day.
Famous people with ADHD include singer Justin Timberlake, chef Alexis Hernandez, and comedian Howie Mandel — not to mention dozens of others! People with ADHD are often highly intelligent and creative, and these famous faces prove that your diagnosis will only hold you back if you let it.
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A Different Perspective
These days, it seems like everyone is an “ADHD expert,” and the media often portrays the disorder unfairly. Living with the disorder — or parenting a child who does — allows you to always be there to correct negative perceptions and spread awareness. Your personal experience and unique perspective on the situation may change a mind!
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High energy is contagious. When those around you see your drive, passion, and knack for out-of-the-box thinking, they’ll be inspired to push for their goals as well.