Last updated on September 22nd, 2019 ~
There’s a lot of debate happening in the world of ADHD. People want to argue about whether having ADHD is a good or bad thing.
Meanwhile, the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle of things.
So this article compares the honest pros and cons of having ADHD.
Let’s start with the cons first…
ADHD Cons (the bad stuff)
Here are the cons of having ADHD:
Con 1. Extreme disinterest in most daily tasks
When someone with ADHD doesn’t want to perform a certain task, they aren’t actually being lazy most of the time.
This is actually a “disconnect” that happens in the brains of people with ADHD.
Trust me. I’m the opposite of lazy. I’m a grinder when it comes to working hard, and channeling my energy into tasks that I care about.
People with ADHD simply have trouble regulating attention.
This means that people with ADHD find it extremely challenging to perform tasks that aren’t relevant to their interests.
This is a trait that’s unique to people with ADHD, and not found in the general population.
I understand that “it’s normal for people to dislike boring tasks”.
The difference is that ADHD is a biological condition that makes ordinary tasks extraordinarily difficult to start and finish.
Con 2. Must deal with false labels and assumptions
Plenty of people with ADHD are terrified of telling people about their ADHD because of stigmas, family conflicts, workplace issues, and various other problems.
While public support for ADHD is definitely improving, it’s still tough for people with ADHD to talk about their ADHD in a healthy way.
For example, here are some false labels and assumptions that people with ADHD routinely deal with:
- ADHD is fake
- People with ADHD are lazy
- People with ADHD are weird
- If people with ADHD would just try harder, they wouldn’t have to use ADHD medication
Overall, I personally don’t care about what “haters” of ADHD have to say.
But, these false labels and assumptions undoubtedly cause trauma in many children and adults with ADHD.
This is why it’s so important to support people with ADHD whenever possible.
Con 3. Brain style is a poor match for “the system”
People with ADHD are severely mismatched for most aspects of modern day life.
> Most children with ADHD don’t gain any real value from the standardized testing used in our education system
> Many adults with ADHD feel “out of place” at their current job
> Most children with ADHD have trouble sitting still in classrooms
There are countless other examples of people with ADHD being a poor match for the entire “system” that we live in.
I don’t say this to make people with ADHD out to be victims.
This is just a harsh reality of living with ADHD that people need to accept, overcome, and change for the best.
Con 4. Emotional control can be difficult
Studies show that more than 50% of people with ADHD have trouble regulating their emotions.
As you can probably imagine, poor emotional control affects most aspects of life, such as:
- Managing relationships
- Communicating with people
- Dealing with bosses and co-workers
Your emotions ultimately play a role in the vast majority of decisions that you make on a daily basis.
And, this can create gaps in the decision-making process when it comes to making small decisions (like impulsive purchases) or even life-altering decisions (like spontaneously yelling at someone who you care about).
Con 5. Requires perpetual stimulation
Most people with ADHD naturally feel understimulated.
And, this is why people with ADHD constantly seek out dopamine in various forms:
> Some people with ADHD seek out dopamine in the form of relationships, financial success, love, or giving to charity
> Some people with ADHD seek dopamine through alcoholism, drug addiction, or crime
When you have ADHD, you’re going to seek out dopamine for the rest of your life.
So, it’s important to acknowledge this, and learn how to acquire dopamine in a healthy way.
For example, using ADHD medication is one of the smartest ways to acquire dopamine, because ADHD medication gives your brain the stimulation that it craves in a relatively safe way. Using ADHD medication also makes it much easier for you to resist negative temptations.
Exercise is another amazing way for people with ADHD to experience a healthy rush of dopamine every single day. The same goes for drinking fruit smoothies, watching comedy, and socializing with fun people.
OK. By now, you should have a clear understanding of the major downsides of having ADHD.
So, let’s take a look at the positives of ADHD…
ADHD Pros (the good stuff)
Here are the pros of having ADHD:
Pro 1. Hyperfocus
ADHD is a condition of extremes.
This means that people with ADHD generally like to go “all in” or “nothing at all”.
Sounds a little bit excessive, right?
Well…If you’re interested in excelling in one or two areas of your life beyond all belief – then I have good news for you:
You can use ADHD hyperfocus to your advantage.
- Enjoy running a business? Great. Hyperfocus will help you turn into a workhorse.
- Like acting? Plenty of famous celebrities thrive with ADHD.
- Love playing sports? Awesome. Some of the world’s greatest athletes have ADHD.
While the general public tends to view hyperfocus as “extreme” or “crazy” – people who understand how success works absolutely love hyperfocus, and actively seek it out as often as possible.
Luckily for people with ADHD, you just have to discover your strengths (or re-discover them) in order to tap into your hyperfocus.
Pro 2. Artistic flair
Many people with ADHD have an artistic side that takes place in many shapes and forms.
For example, you might enjoy:
- Recording videos
- Playing musical instruments
- Taking photographs
- Writing blog posts
- Painting portraits
There are so many different ways for people with ADHD to express their “artistic side”, keep mentally busy, and live a fulfilling life.
Many people with ADHD simply need to become conscious of their preferred artistic outlet, and then let their talent shine through.
You’ll probably feel a LOT happier once you do so.
Pro 3. Resilience
ADHD is a challenging condition to live with.
For example, here’s a small sample of the challenges that many people with ADHD must undergo:
> Scrape and claw your way through the education system often without realizing that you have ADHD
> Overcome a variety of childhood traumas after constantly being told that you’re dumb, lazy or slow
> Work with a range of doctors and medications to find the best health care regimen for your needs
> Prove to yourself that you’re capable of living an amazing life, even with ADHD
If you have ADHD, and you manage to sustain an independent lifestyle in a Western nation like the USA, then you’re an incredibly resilient human being.
Resilience can’t be bought. It has to be earned. And, resilience is a trait that you will benefit from for the rest of your life.
Pro 4. Rebelliousness
Did you ever sneak out of the house as a kid? Or have a natural disdain for authority figures?
People with ADHD usually have a rebellious side which might seem troublesome – but is actually an extremely valuable character trait to have.
This is because the rebelliousness that’s often associated with ADHD can easily be channeled into productive outlets.
For example, ADHD Boss is an example of a rebellious website, because most other ADHD websites need to appear “advertiser-friendly” and sterile.
But, I would much rather deliver a raw message that gives you the truth, rather than rehash some cookie-cutter information like so many other websites do.
Richard Branson would be another example of someone with ADHD who has leveraged his rebelliousness to heights beyond all belief.
Branson is the founder of Virgin Group, which is a multinational corporation conglomerate with a portfolio of over 35 companies.
Richard Branson’s conglomerate owns companies in the cruise line, aerospace, telecommunications, and even space exploration industries.
Point being – one person’s rebelliousness can easily be used to improve the world, create jobs for other people, and live an unbelievably exciting life.
While you don’t have to go to the same heights that Richard Branson has gone, I challenge you to channel your rebelliousness into a productive outlet that adds value to the universe.
Pro 5. Risk-taking ability
There’s a good reason why many people with ADHD turn out to be amazing entrepreneurs.
The definition of entrepreneur literally means:
One who undertakes risks.
And, wouldn’t you know it – people with ADHD love to take risks.
This is one of the most rewarding qualities that people with ADHD have. It’s a blessing in disguise, really.
Because, if you’re willing to start your own business, create a product line, write a book, or do anything that comes with the possibility of a substantial benefit – you’ll feel extremely self-motivated and alive every single day.
There’s nothing quite like taking a good risk that forces you to get out of your own head, and start taking action.
Final thoughts on the pros and cons of ADHD
Life isn’t black and white.
So, people with ADHD ultimately have to accept the good and the bad that comes with ADHD, and learn how to make the most of living with the condition.
Personally speaking, I’m much more optimistic about ADHD than most people.
I view ADHD as a tool that can help you stay creative, develop hardcore resilience, and learn how to rise above life’s challenges.
Of course, I also accept that ADHD creates some totally frustrating, emotionally-draining obstacles in life as well. I’m not someone who ignores the harsh realities of dealing with ADHD.
But at the end of the day, you have to stay focused on the positives that come from ADHD rather than the negatives.
This is the only way that you’re going to make it.
Dear reader im proud to have adhd the way i look at it the reason i have adhd is when i was born god put my spirit in my body and it had so much energy for a reason because god had a task for use people with adhd the the way i look at it
I love that outlook Michael. Keep it up!
Thanks for writing this..I needed it!
I thought this was a fairly accurate portrayal of the complexity of ADHD, if somewhat over-positive about the negatives and a fairly superficial coverage of the positives. However you lost me when you suggested that it is in any way positive to share anything with Richard Branson – that’s a con, never a a pro …