Thursday, February 16, 2006

Pay Attention! (Looking At Attention Surplus Condition- otherwise know as ADD)

My friend, Jason Henrichs, Managing Partner at Rock Maple Ventures here in Boston, just made me aware of a fascinating article about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Since God chose to bless me and two of my four sons with neurological wiring that falls under the rubric of ADD, I was motivated to pay close attention to this article, written by Pete Quily, a California-based Adult Attention Deficit Coach.

The Link to Quily’s Website is:

Here is the article that Jason just shared:

Ten Advantages of ADD

Pete Quily has created a top ten list of reasons why ADD can be useful in the ever-changing world of technology.

1. The Ability to Hyperfocus.

Hours of full engagement and concentration in a task, IF you find it interesting. You can get into the zone and be totally immersed in what you’re doing while the outside world disappears. When I went on the net for the first time in 1993 at an Internet cafe I got on the machine at 8 pm and around 4 am decided it was time to go home.

2. Rapid Fire Mind.

Your brain processes information at hyperspeed. You can do things in 30 minutes on a computer that might take other people hours. Downside if you’re stuck with an old machine and not enough RAM you’ll be frustrated cause it can’t keep up with the speed of your brain.

3. Multitasking at Will.

Able to run 14 apps at a time and effortlessly switch between each without breaking a sweat. Able to do several projects at a time with ease.

4. High Energy Level.

You’re able to keep going on a project (if it’s interesting, ADDers are more into creative and entrepreneurial activities than clerical and repetitive ones). 14-hour days? No problem. Adrenaline is my fuel source:)

5. Highly Creative.

Able to think beyond the idea of a box. This comes naturally for ADDers, while others pay thousands of dollars to try and learn this. Since you take in more information than the average person, and you’re easily distractible, you’re more likely to view a problem from many different angles than vanilla people (non ADDers), and therefore come up with more possible solutions to a problem. Need an idea generator? Find an ADDer.

6. Quick Learner.

IF it’s something you’re interested in. ADD is mainly a condition of boredom; you have no trouble paying attention to something if it’s interesting.
Most people find it difficult to do boring or repetitive things but these can often totally shut an ADDer down. Your rapid-fire brain + highly creative mind + the ability to hyperfocus equals fast absorption of new information quickly. Dr Ed Hallowell - who has ADD - said he stopped teaching Psychiatry at Harvard University because the non-ADDers brains were just too slow and they took so long to get it. He got tired of being continually frustrated waiting for them to catch up to the ADD students.

7. Stimulus Seeking Brain.

A perfect match for the wired world, an under stimulated brain and an over stimulated virtual environment. Being an info junkie can be a good thing. Well, not always:)

8. Constantly Scanning your Environment.

Allows you to notice more and find information and resource that others miss. Also allows you to see possible problems before they arise, and opportunities that others may not see because they have tunnel vision vs. multiplex vision. An ADDer invented the electronic ticket.

9. Great in a Crisis.

High-energy intense situation? Lots of chaos and change? Sign me up; I thrive on stimulation, change and chaos. We can create order from chaos effortlessly. We can also create such an environment as well if needed.

10. Risk Taker.

Impulsivity means you’re more willing to take risks and have a bias for action, act now while the opportunity is hot instead of getting into analysis paralysis.
Many entrepreneurs have ADD i.e. Paul Orfalea who founded Kinko’s, JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman who attributes his creativity to ADD. Both are Billionaires. Imagine how successful a high tech CEO would be if they didn’t take many risks.

This is not to say there are no disadvantages or real problems associated with ADDers in a high tech career, there most certainly are, and if you don’t learn to manage them, they can a great deal of trouble and grief to your life (and those around you), but that’s another article.

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If found this to be an incredibly insightful and accurate description of how I often operate. It also describes many of my high-functioning friends, candidates and clients in the business world. I welcome your feedback on what Quily has written here.



Richard Banfield said...

Thank you Al. This is a perfect end to my hyperactive day. I'd love to stay and write about my own ADD but I'm too distracted by the next exciting task.

Roy said...

Fabulous... all true from what I can tell from myself and my other friends who ADD (read it as a word!) a lot to life! Thanks for sharing.

Pete Quily said...

Glad you liked my post. Still one of the most popular ones on my blog.

Just a clarification I'm not a California based Adult ADHD coach but a Vancouver BC based one.

Thanks for the link