Let me start off by saying I am not a doctor. I was, however, diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and with therapy, I’ve come to find out that I’ve always displayed the traits of ADHD since childhood.
I’ll say it: I don’t think ADHD is a disability. It is if you try to fit into the corporate 9-5 world, then sure, I suppose it might be. Trying to force yourself to get up, get ready, and do the same routine every day is exasperatingly mind numbing and down right difficult. For some, it’s peace of mind having structure and routine. For me, it’s torture.
I’m not sure I even believe ADHD is a medical problem – I just see it as more of a personality type. As Einstein notably said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
America runs on the corporate structure and admonishes those with opposing personalities. I’m a hard worker and I did excellent in school – but it came at a price: time. I spent most of my time trying to get myself to focus on the task at hand, eating up my free time to do anything else. While others were outside playing, I was inside getting my work done (and not because I couldn’t understand it, but because I couldn’t get myself to just finish it).
We try to quell our opposing personalities with medications and therapies, but really, we should be embracing them and setting ourselves up for success.
We are driven, as a country, by a need to classify ourselves and establish hierarchies and relationships. Because of this, we ended up with the corporate ladder – a vertical movement that does not support lateral movement. It’s all about who is your boss and who you boss. We can never break those bonds and move laterally because the corporate world does not support that. We will always earn and spend at the same ratio. We will always have the same societal pulls. It will always be a struggle, because it’s supposed to be.
Those with jobs other than the typical 9-5 corporate jobs are often looked at as the ones who weren’t successful in school. I can personally think of several examples of people who went into different fields, worked under a different structure, and benefitted more.
The startup world is filled with people like this – people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. These are people who just didn’t operate as well in a pre-established structure and defined their own that worked for them.
If the corporate world wasn’t meant for you and you are scared to drop it completely for fear of paying the bills, then try taking on a hobby that supports your personality. You will most likely find that you are excelling. The key, though, is to monetize it, set it, and forget it during your 9-5 job. Let your side project generate revenue while you are at work and do the upkeep after work. It’s not a quick, easy thing, though: it takes time, creativity, and dedication.