Archive for May 2012

If you have ADHD, you may feel that you’ll never reach your potential or be as successful as your friends who don’t have ADHD. You probably have been frustrated as you see your classmates accomplish tasks and goals more quickly than you do, and wonder if you are destined for a life of failure and disappointment.
However, many people with ADHD have gone on to lead successful, productive lives full of personal and professional accomplishments. Chances are, you’ve even heard of some of them!

Justin Timberlake, who has OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) as well as ADHD, first gained fame in the late 1990’s as a member of boy band N’Sync. After N’Sync broke up in the early 2000’s, several of the members worked on solo projects but quickly faded into obscurity. Justin Timberlake, however, went on to become one of the biggest celebrities of the 21st century. In addition to writing, producing, and releasing two solo CD’s of his own; he has also starred in a number of highly successful movies including The Social Network and Friends with Benefits, written and produced songs for other artists, and won multiple awards, including three Emmys and six Grammys.
What is the secret behind Timberlake’s success? Why is he the only member of N’Sync, not to mention the only member of any of the boy bands of the late 1990’s, to still be famous in 2012? If you watch the video of N’Sync’s 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye,” nothing about Timberlake really makes him stand out- aside from his curly hair.

While I can’t say for sure, perhaps Timberlake is more driven than some of the other stars. Despite having difficulty concentrating at times, people with ADHD can often hyperfocus on a task that particularly interests them, often to the exclusion of all other activities and tasks. They especially hyperfocus when the completion of a certain task or achievement of a certain goal is decidely important to them. Many times, I have been so centered on my writing that I forgot to take my laundry out of the dryer, do errands, or make dinner. I will fixate on each sentence, refusing to quit until it is exactly the way I want it. I would not be surprised if Timberlake applies the same tenacity and determination when composing a song or learning new dance moves.

Jim Carrey is another ADHD success story. As a child, he often got into trouble in school, and would rather do stand-up comedy routines for his classmates than complete his school work. Today, while he still struggles with certain aspects of the disorder, he is one of America’s most beloved comedians and actors, having starred in many box-office hits such as Ace Ventura, Liar Liar, and Bruce Almighty. He has become rich and famous by doing the same behaviors that got him into trouble as a boy- goofy, highly energetic comedy routines.

Michael Phelps was also diagnosed with ADHD as a boy. He had so much trouble sitting still and paying attention in school that his teachers told his mother that he would never be able to focus on anything. He was able to channel his energy into swimming, and went on to become a competitive swimmer. In 2008, he won 8 gold medals in the Olympics, breaking the Olympic record and proving his teachers wrong.

Other celebrities with ADHD include “Dancing With The Stars” finalist Karina Smirnoff, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, actor and rapper Will Smith, and actress Michelle Rodriguez.

So, if you have ADHD, you are in good company! Think of all that these celebrities have accomplished, and say, “bye bye bye” to the notion that you’ll never be successful!



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