Decades ago, Attention Deficit Disorder was a growing diagnosis among children, especially boys. Children with ADD were characterized as highly energetic, distractible, and easily bored. Today, this learning disability is better understood, and it turns out that like many biological challenges, it does not have to bar individuals from success. In fact, some living with the learning disability say that it is their superpower. High-achieving business entrepreneurs who have ADHD have learned to harness their restless mental energy into careers that require a ton of creativity or problem-solving.
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is the preferred term for ADD since 1994, because it captures two primary aspects of the condition — inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. Symptoms range from an inability to focus on details or activities that require mental focus, lack of organization, chronic forgetfulness or tendency to lose things, impatience, excessive talking, and an inability to sit still or concentrate on one task for prolonged periods.
Individuals like Peter Shankman, New York based angel investor and technology expert, have turned ADHD on its head. He embraces the help of executive assistants who keep him on a tight schedule. In his pre-assistant days, Shankman booked a flight to Shanghai instead of Singapore and reserved dinner at two restaurants on two continents. And if work gets dull, he takes a day off to skydive. As SmartMoney puts it, thrilling activities like skydiving may be just the thing to “quiet an overfiring brain.”