A Special Genius: ADHD and Success


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing
that it is stupid.”
~ Albert Einstein


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) is fairly common across the globe and is characterized by a distracted and disorganized nature. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 11 percent of adults struggle with ADHD.

It is a common misconception that people with ADHD are unable to achieve or maintain relationships due to their inability to focus for long periods of time. The reality is that many people with ADHD are able to use their energy to do incredible things. Here are some of the many highly successful people with ADHD that demonstrate this fact.

Walt Disney

This multi-billionaire is one of the most widely recognized names in the world. Disney was diagnosed with ADHD at an early age and was actually fired from a few jobs because of his inability to complete tasks on deadline. Disney was not deterred. He started putting pencil to paper and created some of the most loved cartoon characters of all time. He was able to use the popularity of his initial cartoons to launch one of the biggest brands of all time later expanding to merchandise, movies, and the Disney theme parks.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is an American Olympic swimmer and holds a record 23 gold medals. Phelps was diagnosed with ADHD in the sixth grade, but he didn’t let that deter him from his goals. In 2000, just a few short years after his diagnosis he became the youngest swimmer to ever make the US Olympic team. Now, Phelps holds several world records and is one of the most celebrated athletes in history. He also has a successful relationship and new born son.

Jim Carey

Jim Carey has been a star from the start, and claims that his way of coping with ADHD was to act as the class clown. This antic continued into adulthood where he has starred in some of the best slapstick comedy of the era including movie classics Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura, and The Mask. The comedian has over come his ADHD stigma and has found a way to use his energy to the fullest.

Justin Timberlake

This singer, songwriter, producer, and businessman was diagnosed with ADHD as well as obsessive compulsive disorder at an early age. These disorders never stopped the young Timberlake from finding success. He joined the Mickey Mouse Club and later teamed up with fellow club members to form N’Sync, one of the most popular boy bands of the modern era. He later created a successful solo album that sold over 10 million copies world-wide. In addition to his music, Timberlake has also found success in business and his personal relationships. He recently married actress Jessica Biel and has opened several restaurants and his own clothing line.

These popular figures have paved the way for those with ADHD and provided inspiration and hope. If you or someone you know struggles with this disorder, encourage them to explore new skills and activities. These are famous people that made it big despite their so-called disabilities, and that includes being discriminated and failing countless times for their flaws. Maybe they too will find a place where they can focus their energy and achieve great things!

About the Author

Rebecca Temsen is an author, entrepreneur and most of all a wife and mother of two. What she enjoys the most is helping people reach their full potential. Rebecca uses her ever growing skills in writing to inspire people and not settle for a normal life. As an entrepreneur, she has no shortage of failures and that is why Rebecca is the ideal person to talk about this.


Learn About Edge Executive Function Coaching


Share on Social Media

2 Responses

  1. Peggy Dolane

    It would be great if you could find some success stories of people other than white men. Not to say that white men aren’t great role models, but they aren’t representative of the range of people who have ADHD.

  2. Lindsey Stockburger

    Thank you Rebecca T. . I’m forty years old, and exactly the same as when I was twelve, just with more coothe. (Sp?) I am a woman, and was born in 1977. Couldn’t count how many times I was made to look like a fool, was embarrassed for basic misunderstandings, and laughed at for exiting the special education room from elementary to college ,even all 11 years of it. “stupid”. “Wierd” . I swear I’ve never heard people say the exact same thing over and over again to anyone else I’ve ever known. I have a dark sense of humor, and scored very high on my I.Q. I just stick to what I know. Music making, art and awesome people that don’t judge other people.
    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing
    that it is stupid.”
    ~ Albert Einstein