People with ADHD are often described as disorganized, inattentive, frantic, and forgetful. These negative labels have created a stigma around the condition, causing those who are afflicted with it to turn to medication for relief.
But what if ADHD wasn’t such a bad thing? What if instead of being the antithesis of success, it was the root of it?
That’s what David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, believes. Neeleman, who struggles with ADHD himself, attributes his prosperity to the condition.
To Neeleman, ADHD is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be difficult to focus, stay tidy, and see a task through to completion. On the other hand, it’s made him more creative, energetic, and willing to take risks.
“I knew I had strengths that other people didn’t have, and my parents reminded me of them when my teachers didn’t see them,” Neeleman told ADDitude. “I can distill complicated facts and come up with simple solutions. I can look out on an industry with all kinds of problems and say, ‘How can I do this better?’ My ADHD brain naturally searches for better ways of doing things.”
With that being said, the business magnate does admit that he takes measures to counteract its negative effects. For example, he pays an assistant to manage his day-to-day schedule, which he would otherwise struggle to do on his own. He’s also made a habit of putting his keys and wallet in the same spot so he doesn’t lose them. All in all, he says the condition has more pros than cons.
“If someone told me you could be normal or you could continue to have your ADHD, I would take ADHD,” said Neeleman, who refuses to take medication for his condition. “I’m afraid of taking drugs once, blowing a circuit, and then being like the rest of you.”