When you hear ADHD, what traits come to mind? Maybe a child that constantly fidgets? Or a coworker that can’t focus to hear the end of your long (but epic) story.
The short attention span of the disorder can be labeled as counterproductive. But, that is simply a misconception. People of the past and present have paired their ADHD with success. And seeing as 7% of all adults has this condition, hopeful people of the future will follow suit.
Here is a collection of 10, not only successful, but ground-breaking, revolutionary leaders of their expertise. Ranging from sports to philosophy to business. They demonstrate that ADHD applied with passion can create not only a person of fame, but a person of value. This list is not limited by their success, as they have become a source of inspiration to those in and out of their field.
10. Walt Disney, The Founder of Disneyland
Walt Disney, the man that made a mouse famous and timeless. His empire still grows to this day. The constant flipping of cartoon pages to create his Disney classics might resemble the tempo of life to one with ADHD. He delivered stories of princesses and heroes to children, first in the US, and now internationally. Although he has been gone for half a century, his legacy endures and prospers.
9. Michael Phelps, Olympic Gold Medalist
14 is the number of gold medals this incredible athlete has earned. That is most of any swimmer and Olympian in general. Phelps didn’t become a household name by accident. His ADHD can be vouched by his mom who described his symptoms as the typical: Not being able to sit still or focus. But the disorder combined with positive reinforcement lead this aquatic champion to the top.
8. Justin Timberlake, Singer, Actor, Producer, & Businessman
Justin Timberlake has been an enduring celebrity. He went from being lead singer band NSYNC, the performer of the song “Bring Sexy Back,” to a major icon in the show, SNL (just to name a few accomplishments). The bouncing to and fro artistic talents can be attributed to his ADHD. In an interview with Collider.com, the Grammy winner stated he had, “ADD mixed with OCD.” Apparently, it is the furthest thing from a problem for JT. He has also had success in his love life, as he is married to Jessica Biel.
7. Michael Jordan, Basketball Player, & Entrepreneur
MJ is questionably the greatest basketball player of all time. His NBA career is unmatched. Whether it be sensational slam-dunking or impenetrable defense, Michael Jordan raised the bar. He later went on to create Air Jordans, a sneaker that is almost as popular as him. He has game on and off the courts, ADHD and all.
6. Jim Carrey, Comedian, Actor & Producer
Jim Carrey’s wacky, sporadic acting may be the poster child for ADHD. He has been performing for twenty years. And that’s not including his childhood years of being a class clown. Even in his younger years he claimed, “It’s hard to come down from what I do.” So, he incorporates it into all the he does. Thus, creating some of the greatest comedies of all time… And lots of laughs.
5. David Neeleman, Aviation Entrepreneur
David Neeleman has created one of the most popular, profit-creating aviation brands in the world. That brand is JetBlue. Neeleman gives credit to ADHD for his success. He speaks out about the ability to think outside of the box and creativity that developed from the disorder. He opens eyes to the positive symptoms of ADHD.
4. Will Smith, Actor, Rapper, Producer
Will Smith has been a likable (verging on lovable), captivating actor since his leading role in the sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” ADHD made it difficulty for reading his scripts, so he became a master at improv. Also, he had a short but sweet rap career. His influence in the world of cinema continues to evolve from maturing acting to producing with the same authenticity.
3. John F. Kennedy, President
John F. Kennedy became one of the most adored presidents, and reasonably so. He placed an emphasis on a government that refrains from keeping secrets from its people and urged the people’s involvement. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” is JFK’s quote. His infidelity (Happy Birthday Mr. President…) and his supposed pot use also earned him a reputation. He had health issues, and the marijuana helped him focus and get rid of his back pain. He made history, regardless of ADHD.
2. Richard Branson, Business Mogul
Mogul defines Sir Richard Branson, or is it the other way around? ADHD enabled him to have absurd multitasking skills. He built his own space exploration company; he owns his own island. From beaches to star systems, it seems a person that has capitalized on his mindset has no bounds.
1. Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist
Einstein is the figurehead of genius. Whether used as the adjective for someone smart, the pictorial example of a mad scientist, or being recognized as one of the founders of modern physics, Einstein is a mental infiltrator. He also had trouble finding his keys and at times was oblivious. ADHD helped create a man of scientific grandeur and of humanitarian awareness. He changed our reality, while staying true to his own.
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