“Mirror, Mirror” – Finding the Special Gifts of ADHD

ADHD – A Difficult Condition with Special Gifts

Much of what we hear about ADHD and ADD has to do with its negative impacts – the affected individual’s difficulty focusing, paying attention, organizing activities or controlling impulses. Without help, ADHD can lead to drug abuse, unemployment, divorce, etc. ADHD affects 11 percent of children and that may be an underestimate since this number reflects only those who are diagnosed. Though ADHD can make school, work, and social situations challenging, having this condition isn’t necessarily all bad news. There is a positive side to ADHD.

The condition can confer special gifts.This has been demonstrated repeatedly by the extensive list of success stories for individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Some of these include Sir Richard Branson, Ty Pennington, Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and James Carville.

It can be difficult to tap into these unique abilities. If you’re a person with this condition, you’ve probably heard most of your life that “there is something wrong with you.” After a while you start to believe it and that can affect your self-esteem. There are many tools to help build your self-esteem. There is also a special tool that those with ADHD can use to view their condition in an entirely new light.

Mirror Traits

According to Dr. Ned Hallowell (www.hallowellnyc.com) a psychiatrist and author of Driven to Distraction, there is another approach to ADHD. It involves tapping into the “mirror traits” of the associated negative symptoms of ADHD. In other words, taking a negative trait and “mirroring” it into a positive trait.

For example, here are some traits associated with ADHD that can be viewed in a negative vs. positive manner:

  • Impulsive vs. Creative
  • Hyperactive, restless vs. Energetic
  • Can’t stay on point vs. Sees connections others miss
  • Disorganized vs. Spontaneous
  • Stubborn vs. Persistent, won’t give up
  • Inconsistent vs. Shows flashes of brilliance
  • Moody vs. Sensitive

How Positive ADHD Traits Manifest on The Job

Individuals with ADHD often manifest positive traits that can make them an asset in the workplace. These include:

  • Being perceptive – Someone with ADHD can pick up on things others might miss, a sixth sense per se.
  • Energetic – They possess seemingly endless amounts of energy which they can channel into a project or task.
  • Spontaneous – Viewing their impulsiveness as spontaneity can enrich the lives they touch. They’re open to trying new things and new ideas.
  • Creative and inventive – ADHD gives the person a unique perspective on life. They approach tasks and situations with a thoughtfulness others may not possess. This tends to make them inventive thinkers..
  • Hyperfocused – In some cases, a person with ADHD can become hyperfocused. In other words, they focus so intently on something that they don’t notice their surroundings. They tend to work on something to completion with unbroken concentration.
  • Tackling specialized jobs – People with ADHD are better suited for jobs that require switching from one task to another. These individuals make excellent entrepreneurs.

Getting Help to Unlock Your Potential

Being diagnosed with ADHD does not have to be bad news. Each symptom has both a negative and a positive aspect. Sometimes, it may take help from a teacher, counselor, therapist, coach or parent before someone with ADHD can discover these mirror aspects of the condition and unlock their full potential in school or on the job.

About the Author

Rebecca Temsen is an author, entrepreneur and most of all a wife and mother of 2. 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.


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  1. Jenevieve Harshbarger

    Oh my goodness, this article made me cry. I was diagnosed with severe adult ADHD at age 53. I thought it would give me peace to have a diagnosis, but at times I find myself a bit angry or just discouraged at the thought of what might I have achieved or what I’ve missed out on by never having addressed it earlier in life. This article made me think (at least for a moment) about the positive things I do possess, as EVERY single one of these points accurately describes me! Thank you for making me feel more valuable. I needed that today!