There seems to be a wide array of different abilities that are seen as disabilities by able-bodied — or “normal” people — like being
blind, deaf, wheelchair-bound, missing a limb or part of a limb, and a wide spectrum of mental “conditions” like bipolar, schizophrenia, autism, Aspergers, depression, dyslexia — and ADD. A “disorder” (the last D in ADD or ADHD) is seen as something that is broken in someone, rather than it being seen as an indication of different, sometimes even superior, abilities.
Being a minority comes in many flavors, too. You could be a Lefty, a Redhead, LGBT, deaf, autistic, have Aspergers, or be an ADDer, to name just a few. These minorities have been ostracized and shamed for being different for too long. The black and women’s movements have made headway in their push for equality. And all of these “minorities” have made headway in their push for equality, though that has barely just begun for ADD/ADHD. It’s time to improve that equality in all of these “minority” or “disabled” sectors.
Actually, rather than equality — because I see the differences as beautiful — it’s appreciation for the differences, compassion for the differences, and acceptance of the differences I’m seeking and working to educate you about — especially if you’re an ADDer, since too many have shame about where they are, rather than how my husband and I feel: proud. Equality will come from the respect resulting from appreciation, compassion, and acceptance.
ADDers fall into both camps so have a double whammy, or disadvantage, in living life on their own terms and strengths. What I say about ADDers can apply to other people with“disabilities” and “minorities”.
ADDers learn, think, and see the world differently than non-ADDers. How lucky for the non-ADDers! It is our strengths and superpowers that have moved society, culture, and technology forward. It is our creativity and spunk that changed the world.
Explorers and pioneers, most of them probably ADDers, advanced the American frontier — after, of course, they found and settled the Americas. Artists, most of them probably ADDers, in the painting, music, and architectural worlds, have evolved and expanded their arts and thus our culture. Medicine, surgery, electric power, the space program, automated transportation, computers, and even home appliances are all possible because some researcher or developer, most of them probably ADDers, followed and explored their interests and created wonderful inventions for us to enjoy.
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein are only a few of the outside-the-box thinkers who, as children, were judged harshly and given up on by the system, and sometimes even their parents. It was only after they became successful was their brilliance, their different way of thinking and seeing the world, met with celebration and appreciation. Then there was compassion, not judgment, for their different brain wiring. That’s what all of the people with differences should experience from the beginning so they can be encouraged, rather than discouraged, to make their mark on the world.
What seems to get swept aside is that our differences are not wrong, bad, or “disabilities” — they are just differences, they are different abilities. This isn’t an attempt to be “PC”: there really are fantastic abilities enabled by ADD that truly add to the world in amazing ways. Those differences make the world go ’round and provide interesting color, texture, patterns, and design to life. When those differences are appreciated by “normal” people — by the majority — then great things will happen in the world. There will be less crime and more creation. There will be less mental illness and more evolution. There will be less hiding and more stepping up and out into the personal power that enables greatness.
ADDers have wonderful gifts to give the world. When they recognize that their strengths and superpowers are what makes them different and special, then they can embrace and harness their ADD traits and start making a positive difference in the world.
The secret is to see your strengths, recognize your superpowers, and learn to harness them to your advantage. Those same strengths and superpowers, when unharnessed, have a downside, so learning to harness them is vital for a successful and happy life. For too long our weaknesses were the focus of others and became our focus, too. That’s not the way to feel good about yourself and step into your best self or to be accepted and appreciated!
When you know — as well as embrace and harness — your strengths and superpowers, you can improve your clarity, increase your energy, wrap yourself in your courage, expand your productivity, and raise your influence. Those are pillars of being a contributing member of society, the elements of high performance, and part of the recipe to a joyous and successful life.
Are you ready to step into your best self? You can do it. I am.