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ADD & Entrepreneurs

ADD & Entrepreneurs

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Published by Hugh Simpson
A short paper showing the direct relationship between Attention Deficit Disorder and entrepreneurs. Also offers some aids for ADD.
A short paper showing the direct relationship between Attention Deficit Disorder and entrepreneurs. Also offers some aids for ADD.

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Published by: Hugh Simpson on Nov 09, 2007
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07/19/2010

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ADD & Entrepreneurs
It has been estimated that there are at least 5,000,000 people that have ADD – Attention DeficitDisorder. I’m one of those people that were only diagnosed with ADD at the age of 50.When I was working with my counselor on ADD, I learned that many of the adult cases of ADD wereamong entrepreneurs. Peter informed me that entrepreneurship and ADD seemed to go hand in hand.So how do you know that you have ADD? Listed below are 10 criteria for recognizing ADD amongadults:1. A sense of under achievement – not reaching one’s goals. As an entrepreneur I know that this has plagued me constantly since I became an entrepreneur over 30 years ago. As entrepreneurs we arealways being told the importance of achieving our goals that we have set. We read books about settingand achieving our goals. We attend seminars and workshops on goal setting and achievement.So as entrepreneurs we set our goals and go after them. We work hard to achieve our goals but manytimes we fall short of achieving them and feel like we are failures. We feel this way because we knowthat other entrepreneurs have succeeded so why can’t I? Why am I the “underachiever’?As you learn more about ADD you will come to realize that ADDers are easily overwhelmed. We are being constantly bombarded with stimuli and according to ADD research we have difficulty filteringout what is not needed at the time or is not important to achieving the goals that we have set. We are inconstant and continuous overwhelmed and overload!2. Difficulty getting organized! As an entrepreneur I can tell you that I have spent more money onorganizing – daily planners, PDAs, workshops and software. I have the good intentions of becomingan organized individual since I know that all the books and workshops stress the importance of beingorganized as an entrepreneur. After setting goals then the next most important area of entrepreneurshipis being organized.Again one of the problems for ADDers is that we are in that mode of constant and continuous overloadmaking it very difficult for us to organize all the stimuli coming into our brains.Also ADDers tend to let things pile up due another problem that we will be discussing –  procrastination. We are constantly putting off what we should be doing today until later, which soon becomes
NEVER 
!Also ADDers idea of organizing tends to be placing things in “piles” and then moving them from one place to another. I constantly find myself taking scraps of paper and organizing them into these “piles”that hopefully will decrease by some form of magic! I also find myself moving one piece of paper from one “pile” to another “pile.”So what can we do to overcome our problems of organization?First, we need to set up some form of organization and do every thing in our power to stick with it! Inthe past I used the excuse that I did not need to write things down and keep them organized because Iwas blessed with a great memory that was somewhat photographic. However, recently I have noticed
 
that even my daily regime of gingko and garlic has not kept me from becoming forgetful. So I havestarted keeping a To Do List. In the past I had dreaded To Do List as much as going to see the dentist.I considered To Do List for old geezers that were developing forgetfulness.What a shock to find that To Do List actually made my life easier and at the same time made me feellike I had accomplished more during the day when before retiring I could check my list and see allthose wonderful check marks on my To Do List! It has helped me to overcome my feeling of being anunderachiever!Another helpful tactic has been what is called O.H.I.O – Only Handle It Once! This has help toalleviate those “piles” that I have mentioned above. I’m finally learning to not put the letters, magazinearticles, scraps of paper, phone messages, etc. in “piles”. For instance, when I take an article out of amagazine I now will put into the file that it should be placed in. So now I either put the paper in a fileor in the wastebasket.Also I now will transfer the name or phone number of a person into both my PDA/computer and alsomy Day Timer. I keep them in both places since you never know when the PDA/computer will crash.This is important for the ADDer since he/she does not need any additional problems or crisis in his/her life to cope with such as crashes.ADDers also tend to be late or never show up for appointments. Why? Again it has to do with our  brains being in constant and continuous overload. We have thousands of things flying through our heads in addition to that very important appointment. We have problems staying focused. We areeasily distracted from our current goal, mission, job, etc.Therefore not only do we have to focus on writing in the appointment but we also have to focus onmaking sure that we go to the appointment. PDAs/computers with alarm settings can be very helpfulfor us. Now you can also use your cell phone for appointment setting.3. Chronic procrastination. I had mentioned above that ADDers struggle constantly with procrastination. I have struggled with this problem my entire life. I have constantly put off makingthat call that I dreaded. I use to put off doing my book report until the night before it was due thatfollowing morning. I would pull “all nighters” studying for tests because I had put off reading therequired material until that night.I use to have nightmares up until about age 50 about having a Spanish exam in college the nextmorning that I had not prepared for. I would wake up in a cold sweat only to find that I was now 50years old and that I evidently must have passed that exam since I had graduated from college over 30years ago! In reading about ADD I was relieved to find that other ADDers had the same type of nightmares.One of the best solutions to overcoming the problems of procrastination is to first stop beating yourself up about the problem. Realize that procrastination is one of the primary problems facing ADDers.Second, begin to develop the To Do List and follow through on the things on the list so that you willhave that great feeling of adding those check marks beside the items on the list.It is also important to “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” ADDers have to realize that we are not
 
Superman or Superwoman able to leap tall buildings with one leap. Instead, we must climb up thestairs in the building one step at a time. Using the To Do List enables us to climb those steps to the top.Each check mark gets us closer and closer to our goal.When ADDers have a project they must break it down immediately. It helps to use one of thosetemplates that are available for Day Timers that are devoted to Projects where you have areas devotedfor the breakdown of the project.Another possibility for overcoming procrastination is to have a buddy system where you and another ADDer share your schedules and To Do List with each other. It seems also that ADDers also do wellin support groups. Either join one or start one as another project on your list.I have a psychologist/coach that keeps me on track since I share with him my schedule and To Do List.4. Many projects going simultaneously. I have been juggling numerous projects simultaneously for years and honestly I would not have it any other way! Actually ADDers are usually quite adept atdoing this
IF
they develop some systems of organization that allows them to do it. I have beenfortunate to be able to have learn a system that I call Entrepreneurial Integrated Thinking.5. Tendency to say what comes to mind without stopping to think about the consequences or how whatis said will be taken by the other person. Again I have been doing this for as long as I can remember and yes, it has been costly at times. Most of the time it occurs when I am enthusiastic about some project and will start to tell others without fully having planned out what needs to done. In another words, I will go off half cocked in my enthusiasm.6. Always looking for high risk situations. I have definitely not led a dull life according to my friends.I have never been interested in a 9 to 5 existence except when I was a TV reporter. I have been anentrepreneur longer than the word has been fashionable to use. I think I got the entrepreneurial bugfrom my Mom who back in the 50s was an entrepreneur owning an interior decorating business.ADDers definitely like to gamble with their lives sometimes quite literally. We are the bungee jumpersof the world. I have never cared about real gambling in a casino; however, I have spent the past 34years of life gambling with entrepreneurial ventures. I have been known to take $30,000 and put it intoa venture that most people would call a crap shoot. That time they were right and I was wrong.I have never been a user of dangerous drugs like cocaine. In fact, one of my friends told me that mylife was a constant cocaine high without the serious side affects! He was quite jealous that I had thehigh without paying big bucks for it. ADDers have to be very careful not to become deeply involvedwith alcohol or drugs.I would think that because we are high risk takers that we do tend to be the entrepreneurs of the world.7. Bore easily. That was one of the first things that caught my attention when I read about ADD. I hadalready noted that I had a tendency to bore easily and quickly if something was not highly stimulating.I would go to party and begin talking to someone who I would soon learn was about as exciting aswatching wet paint dry. I did not want to appear rude so I would continually nod my head and say“isn’t that interesting” when in reality I was usually miles away from the conversation - off in my ownworld. Fortunately like other ADDers I usually did not get caught off guard by a question like “So,

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