This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
It has been estimated that there are at least 5,000,000 people that have ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder. 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 were among 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 among adults: 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 are always being told the importance of achieving our goals that we have set. We read books about setting and 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 many times we fall short of achieving them and feel like we are failures. We feel this way because we know that 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 filtering out what is not needed at the time or is not important to achieving the goals that we have set. We are in constant and continuous overwhelmed and overload! 2. Difficulty getting organized! As an entrepreneur I can tell you that I have spent more money on organizing – daily planners, PDAs, workshops and software. I have the good intentions of becoming an organized individual since I know that all the books and workshops stress the importance of being organized as an entrepreneur. After setting goals then the next most important area of entrepreneurship is being organized. Again one of the problems for ADDers is that we are in that mode of constant and continuous overload making 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! In the past I used the excuse that I did not need to write things down and keep them organized because I was 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 have started 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 feel like I had accomplished more during the day when before retiring I could check my list and see all those wonderful check marks on my To Do List! It has helped me to overcome my feeling of being an underachiever! Another helpful tactic has been what is called O.H.I.O – Only Handle It Once! This has help to alleviate those “piles” that I have mentioned above. I’m finally learning to not put the letters, magazine articles, scraps of paper, phone messages, etc. in “piles”. For instance, when I take an article out of a magazine I now will put into the file that it should be placed in. So now I either put the paper in a file or in the wastebasket. Also I now will transfer the name or phone number of a person into both my PDA/computer and also my 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 are easily 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 on making sure that we go to the appointment. PDAs/computers with alarm settings can be very helpful for 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 making that call that I dreaded. I use to put off doing my book report until the night before it was due that following morning. I would pull “all nighters” studying for tests because I had put off reading the required material until that night. I use to have nightmares up until about age 50 about having a Spanish exam in college the next morning that I had not prepared for. I would wake up in a cold sweat only to find that I was now 50 years old and that I evidently must have passed that exam since I had graduated from college over 30 years 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 will have 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 the stairs 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 those templates that are available for Day Timers that are devoted to Projects where you have areas devoted for 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 well in 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 at doing this IF they develop some systems of organization that allows them to do it. I have been fortunate 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 what is 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 an entrepreneur longer than the word has been fashionable to use. I think I got the entrepreneurial bug from 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 jumpers of the world. I have never cared about real gambling in a casino; however, I have spent the past 34 years of life gambling with entrepreneurial ventures. I have been known to take $30,000 and put it into a 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 my life was a constant cocaine high without the serious side affects! He was quite jealous that I had the high without paying big bucks for it. ADDers have to be very careful not to become deeply involved with 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 had already 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 as watching 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 own world. Fortunately like other ADDers I usually did not get caught off guard by a question like “So,
what do you think about that?” I could usually BS my way through the conversation without the other person being aware that I did not have a clue what he/she was talking about. I have had to learn to FOCUS on what people are saying just like I do when I am interviewing some one for a TV show. People who knew about my ADD were amazed at how I could laser beam focus on my guests on the show. It even surprised me until I learned that ADDers have that laser beam focusing ability especially if it is something that really does interest and excite them. During those interviews I was discussing holistic health and physical fitness, which is one of my areas of passion. Again, because we bore easily we tend to seek the stimulating projects that attract entrepreneurs. However, in most cases we need to realize that we need a team working with us that can handle the more mundane day to day grind. ADD entrepreneurs like to work with the concepts and big picture and let others fill in the blanks. Yes, believe or not, there are people that enjoy these boring tasks and more importantly do them well! 8. Tuning in and out. Again this goes right along with boredom. We tend to tune in on the things that turn us on. In addition to people, I can find myself reading a paragraph or page over and over again if I’m having a hard time concentrating on the subject matter. If I’m reading Ludlum or Clancy then I never have to read any thing twice. Belief me I would never try to read and understand the tax forms! 9. Trouble following established procedures. I have been known as a maverick for more years than I would like to remember. Ever had anyone say to you: “You seem to march to the tune of a different drummer.”? Like most entrepreneurs, ADDers are always trying to “reinvent the wheel.” We also see most things as broke and therefore need fixing. Due to our high level of creativity we see that there must be another way to approach or do something. We make lousy office workers. We definitely are not YES men or women. We are mavericks – pure and simple. Established procedures bore us to death! However as I have grown older, I have realized that many times as an ADDer I do NOT have to reinvent the wheel. I have actually found for certain procedures it flows along much more smoothly if I don’t try to be creative. 10. Impatience/low frustration level. I have been impatient for most of my life. I have considered that most people around me or just plain slow and even lazy. I learned that ADDers also hate standing in line. Many times instead of standing in line I have been known to either skip the movie or go to another with a shorter line. And belief me you would NEVER find me camping out for football or concert tickets regardless of who was playing. I also find that I have very little patience with people that are taking for EVER to tell me something that they could have easily told me in three words - get to the point, please! I guess we should mention one more criteria – DAYDREAMING! ADDers LOVE to daydream. I have been daydreaming since I was a child. I had no brothers or sisters. I would retreat to my own world of daydreams where I was Superman, the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Captain Midnight, etc. As I grew older I replaced these heroes with real people from history like Alexander the Great, George Washington, Wyatt Earp, etc. When I discovered Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich, I daydreamed what it was going to be like to be a millionaire and then I dreamed of being Conrad Hilton, J. Paul
Getty, Donald Trump and Bill Gates. I still daydream about reaching Millionaire status. However, I have realized that in order to make daydreams come true, I must take one step at a time and focus on a goal that is obtainable in a reasonable period of time. ADDers tend to believe that they can be Superman and therefore feel that obtaining a million dollars is possible in say less than a year! Possible, yes. Probable in the world of reality – not likely. So I would NOT discourage your daydreaming. Believe me, I plan to go right on daydreaming; however, I have learned that I must: set realistic, obtainable goals; create To Do Lists; keep a day to day schedule religiously; eat the elephant one bite at a time and most importantly not be discouraged with set backs since I’m NOT a failure or stupid! It’s just my ADD kicking in! If you would like to learn more about my Entrepreneurial Integrated Thinking email me at email@example.com. Copyright 2007 by Hugh Simpson. All rights reserved.