What is Success? Everywhere you turn there are examples of successful people who have either announced to having ADHD or are presumed to have ADHD. What I can’t help but notice is that most of these examples of success involve the massive wealth, attaining a degree from at least one of only a handful of colleges/universities out of many thousands, or just being know by millions of people. I agree it is nice to be able to point to people who overcome disabilities like ADHD to accomplish great things. I agree many of these people are inspiring examples. But when it comes to hardships or adversity of any kind (for instance, ADHD) I think we need to stress a more inclusive definition of success. The reason for this is that people who have done more than could ever be expected of them and those who help them to do so, need to be recognized. (I do this often in my Jar the Ground blog.) They need to be recognized because they remind us that all of us have the capacity to achieve great things; that even the those who society, science, and medicine write off as damaged can surprise others with their success.
What is Success?
I believe that to say you have succeeded you need to:
- have set positive goals that, if accomplished, will redefine what is possible for you or another person
- worked hard against, adversity, naysayers, and other impediments than stand in the way of a dream
- have accomplished something that does no deliberate harm to any one or anything
The absolute magnitude of what a person does is irrelevant. The relative progress with respect to their own personal challenges is what is important.
A man born into perfection and wealth, who does not face challenges to achieve society’s definition of success is not successful by the above definition.
The man who works 2 blue collar jobs so he can put food on the table and save to send his child to school is a success. His son with ADHD who studies hard each night till he graduates (despite the struggles to focus and the people who say he can’t) is successful.
If you are battling ADHD, take your inspiration from the fact that there are many people who manage the disorder and achieve THEIR personal success. Regardless of what you choose to achieve, being able to accomplish it under the weight of ADHD makes you astonishingly successful whether you are a doctor, carpenter, plumber, lawyer, landscaper; whether you graduate from Harvard or a community college, Stanford or a trade school. As long as you strive to go beyond what others and even you think possible, you are successful. What is success? It is what YOU want and firmly believe will redefine what is possible for YOU.
If you are in this category of person, Congratulations, you are successful, keep at it. Don’t stop! If you know someone who fits the above definition of success, support them, help them, encourage them.
As always your feedback and suggestions are welcome.