“Humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers for thousands of years, but as people started farming and living settled lives other personality traits, more suitable to a sedentary life, developed. The ADHD person is then someone who has retained some of the older hunter-gatherer characteristics. So-called “normal” people are the “farmers.”
“Normal People”/”Farmers” are the ones who are more systematic/process driven/compliance based. Hunters (ADHD personalities) are exact opposite. In the current world what do Hunters do?They solve problems. These are the people who are always observing/looking/thinking and hunting for patterns, solutions and creating some thing new. Entire human civilization and advancements were driven by hunters. Do you agree that we need hunters?. If everyone is 9 to 5 type then who would create the disruptions. This is one theory.
The other one is – if we take thousands years old Ayurveda personality types theory, there are 3 types of body/mind based profiles – 1) Pitta 2) Vata 3) Kapha. Vata is basically creative, impulsive and windy type. If you read Vata characteristics and ADHD and you will lfind ot of similarities. What I am trying to say is that nature itself has created such personalities by design.
Creativeness will become ADHD (as if a disorder) only when we try to compare hunters with farmers or vata people with kapha.
If you have ADHD then understand that you are a hunter type and you don’t need beat yourself up. You simply have different genetic make up!!.
If ADHD is gift then where is the problem?
If you are following this series from the beginning then it should be fine. Otherwise, you might be thinking one side we are saying this has lot of challenges and other side I am saying this is a gift, genius, etc. Unfortunately, both are true !!. As I said earlier, ADHD is a “Rose with the Thorns”.
So how do we eliminate thorns (challenges) and get to the rose (gifts)? . The main magic pill for this is “Dopamine Management“. I have put together a simple “V-D” (-Ve and +Ve Dopamine) framework. I will talk about this more specifically tomorrow. For today, lets understand at high level.
If you search online “ADHD Gifts”, “ADHD Strengths” or “Thrive with ADHD”, you will see tips and approaches on how to become a genius with ADHD. In summary what you will learn is as below.
- Focus on strengths (Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem Solving, Risk taking and Ideation)
- Outsource weak areas (very important)
- Take the diet which is high protein and low carbohydrates
- Regular rigorous exercise and proper sleep
- Most importantly choose careers which are aligned with strengths
- Need very supporting life partner
- Last but not least – complete awareness and knowledge about ADHD
Once you take care of these important aspects, you will almost will be able to thrive with ADHD and reach to the rose without much pain. But any slight deviation will make you kiss the thorns !!
That’s why it is very important to know how to manage Dopamine very effectively.
Bad People vs Good People : Here is the Magic
Do you know anyone who is an alcohol addict? What about someone who lost their entire wealth in gambling? Why is that person you know eats lot of food (food lover !!) ?. You know why lot of celebrities and rock stars take excessive drugs?. – What do we call all these kind of people in general? – Bad People/Addicts, etc? Hmm..
Now lets look at complete opposite spectrum of people. The guy who eats good food, exercises regularly and meditates every day, etc. And the person whom you know who is very passionate and works 14 hrs a day. For sure all these guys are good guys right?..Let’s see.
Good vs Bad is from general social/ethical reference points of view and it is relative of course. But for brain it is all same. All it needs is kick (Dopamine).
I have done enough research and observation on what goes behind this. Basically, there are two ways one can get Dopamine. Below picture should talk 1000 words. Spend 5 mins on the below picture.
Note: On Negative side bottom (violence) worst way of getting dopamine and On Positive side top (Meditation) is the best way of getting dopamine.
In the context of ADHD, the difference between thorns and rose is people who take the negative Dopamine approach vs positive approach. That’s all. Most people with ADHD would have started with negative side and transition to positive. But many are not aware about this and continue to be “bad people” but in reality it is mainly lack of deep understanding of our God – Dopamine.
This is a complex topic and I tried to depicts in the above simple picture. Hope this helps some people some where who are struggling….from left side.
What Careers will suit these personalities?
Most ADHD people struggle with their careers. Not because they are not talented. In fact they are so talented that they can’t fit into regular 9 to 5 setups. Especially they will be breathless if they have to work under rigid corporate structures.
What drives these personalities is FREEDOM !!. Period. How Freedom is linked to ADHD?. I think there is a big link between these two. ADHD type people are typically very creative type (not art type as such). They are outside box thinkers, Innovators and creative problem solvers. Without freedom they won’t be able to express their wild thoughts and implement innovation. And also by nature these are very sensitive nature people (they behave wild but inside very sensitive). So under any kind of bossism and power politics they struggle big time. Hence the bigger need for Freedom.
The core need of Freedom drives them to chose careers areas where they can experience freedom to share their thoughts. Typical and best careers are – mostly self employed nature and where they can get best kick (through problem solving and restoring things). Below are the best areas.
- Entrepreneur ( For Freedom, Creating, Solving, Innovating and Chasing, etc)
- Doctor ( Helping people, solving problems and Emergency kick)
- Writer ( For outside box thinking and expressing wild thoughts)
- Emergency Services (for last min kick)
- Artist (For pure expression)
- Any kind of Self Employment (for Freedom)
List can be any thing but underlying need is Freedom.
Worst careers would be any routine, boring stuff with bosses, structures and procedures. You will be dead !!.
People unaware/un-diagnosed struggle with their careers until they find one that suits them. Then they will rock !!. Career selection so important. Use a career which are meant for you !!.
How low Dopamine (ADHD) helping Breakthrough Innovations?
As I mentioned in the previous blog = > Dopamine =GOD, low Dopamine is the root of ADHD and Dopamine filling will create life and happiness for people with ADHD personalities.
And in contrast, people with enough Dopamine and Serotonin often live in a somewhat happy (alternate names – Slow, self contended, etc !!) space. These are the people who are generally happy not necessarily driven. You may not see much breakthrough innovations from these kind of people. Actually they are happy and they don’t need to create any thing big. Not generalizing all but this is the case most often.
Where as people with ADHD personality will need to constantly do some thing or other to fill their Dopamine deficiency. An the trick about this Dopamine is – every time you need better kick than previous one. This happens both for the positive Dopamine and Negative Dopamine filling. On the positive side, for e.g., running. People who start running will get initial level of Dopamine then they need to run longer races 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Full Marathon…this can go upto Iron Man, etc. Why? Because if you run same 5K every time you will get bored so you need to move to next level of Dopamine/kick.
Luckily the same thing is applicable when it comes to innovations/breakthroughs. So people who are into any creative areas also keep pushing them to experience next level of kick. So they will push themselves to create some thing better than previous innovation hence we enjoy new things continuously.
Bottom line is – Low Dopamine/ADHD has been helping our human progress through the constant chase and innovations. Some ones personal need of happiness (lack of) is driving human progress. I think some time these kind of personalities are created with a purpose. And makes me believe this is not a disorder !!
Riding Relationships with ADHD
One of the origin theory about ADHD says lack of love results in ADHD. Whether this is true or not, most ADHD people are sensitive in nature and good hearted. But the problem comes with Dopamine. Here is what happens when ADHD person starts a new relationship. At first relationship looks and feels very exciting because of new dopamine. Once the initial dopamine tapers off then you start getting bored. Then keep moving to some other relationship. This loop continues. Obviously, this may not be the case in countries like India due to social stigma but very much possible in most western countries. The point is about how low Dopamine place a very brutal role in relationships. But 99% of the people are not aware what drive this relationship behavior. When I am talking about relationships it includes all kinds of relationships.
ADHD would be a strength if you are starting if you are an entrepreneur and you can become a serial entrepreneur (very proudly) by starting new venture after getting bored with exiting one. But you can not/should become a serial relationship builder. You will get hurt and others as well.
So what is the solution?. First step is self awareness. Knowing what is driving this behavior. Then very importantly you need to choose a partner or friend with high nurturing and patience. Remember ADHD people needs lots and lots of appreciation and love. If you get into nurturing relationships then you get into the positive side of ADHD.
Bottom line – Choose a nurturing and caring partner. This will produce more dopamine and you will not look for next relationship.
Creative Minds but with constant Under Achievement Feeling !!
I some times think nature is very brutal in design some aspects of life. This is the feeling most ADHD personalities will feel. Why?. One side they are gifted with lots of talent, creativity and other side lack of sustained focus and concentration. End result is often very frustrating. Because they could not produce the end product at the level of quality and on time, etc. This is not a one time affair and this is a constant theme through out the life unless you have a strategy to break this pattern.
Let me explain life cycle of this pattern. Normal people get one idea (mostly not their own) and they work on it and take next one. Where as ADHD people will get at a time 10 different ideas and these 10 ideas will proliferate 10 more ideas and this cycle goes on. Many of these ideas could be very unique. Then this person start working on one great idea and then starts of with lot of enthusiasm and fully pumped up. This is the stage the Dopamine kicks in and he will be at peak zone. This is the hyper focus stage. Once the initial kick of idea/problem solving flavor becomes normal then Dopamine drops suddenly and you lose the interest slowly and exactly at this time two more ideas come (as such you have tons of ideas). That’s it. You move on to the next idea and the same pattern will repeat.
From outside for other people it might look like ADHD person is super talented and achieved already so much. But not at all the case from ADHD person perspective. Why? If a normal person achieves 10% of what ADHD person achieves they will be far more happier. But ADHD person would have 100 projects so finishing 10 big projects means 90 more ideas are pending. So there will be always a big gap between numbers of ideas and projects they come up with Vs what they really could execute. This whole pattern pushes them to Low Self Esteem. And they beat themselves !!.
Where to look for useful Information?
I thought it will be helpful to share some useful reference information on this topic. I have read many book, searched tons of sites and listen to different podcasts and watched many youtube videos. Based on all my experience so far below are some best resources (as per my view).
Best ADHD Books: There are many books on ADHD topic. I personally think there are two best books on this topic. I strongly recommend you read these books either for yourself (if you have ADHD personality) or for someone with in your family.
- Driven to Distraction – By Edward Hallowell
- Scatted Minds – By Gabor Maté
Best ADHD Sites: Again there are tons of sites on this. I recommend Dr Hallowell’s site and I personally consider him as the father of ADHD.
And the second best site I found is => http://www.untappedbrilliance.com/
Best ADHD Podcast: The best Podcast I have ever found is “FatherthanNormal”. They also have website. https://www.fasterthannormal.com/
There are tons of useful contents on this topic online. As such if you have ADHD then you will keep researching for rest of life for the kick of dopamine. So try to to limit to few books/sites/podcasts so that you don’t get scattered all over.
Hope this helps.
Instead of me giving the conclusion, you should give conclusion, if you have been reading this series. What is your conclusion? Is ADHD a disorder or myth or creative mind or genius geek or mental/crack/rebel mind? What is your view? What did you understood?. If you have ADHD then you will feel all of the above at one point in life and may be even once a day. If not then you may have only one opinion – mostly as “disorder” or “very different” person.
Here is my conclusion…
First of all, ADHD word is a big misnomer !!. I wanted to name the series as “Creative Mind” but then people might completely think about only rosy part and ignore the thorn part. And also “Creative Mind” may give a feeling as if this is for some special people not for people like you and me. So, I ended up using ADHD in the title. My view of ADHD is this really a gift but it takes lot of pain to get to the gift. Many gifts are unopened due to lack of awareness and knowledge about this. Hence my this little attempt of creating awareness.
If you have ADHD or any one in your family or friends don’t try to write it off with half knowledge. People with ADHD are really good hearted, sensitive and creative people. But untreated ADHD will result into all kinds of addictions and problems. ADHD people need lot of support from family members , esp from spouse.
If you read this series from top to bottom you should get a fair idea about ADHD and if you have open mind then you will conclude this as positive and consider as gift !!. I hope and wish lot of awareness will be created on ADHD and more genius people will be uncovered and become some kind of “bad people” and “addicts”.