The Possibilities of ADD


“It’s impossible said pride. It’s risky said experience. It’s pointless said reason. Give it a try whispered the heart.”

As an avid reader and one possessed by the passion for personal transformation, every once in a while I come across a book that has me smitten from the opening chapter. My latest infatuation is fixed on a book written by a couple, Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander, entitled The Art of Possibility.

So far, none of the concepts they have written about are completely new to me. I have a background in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and ADHD Coaching, so the idea that we manifest the world we see through our thoughts about it is not only familiar to me but a personal manifesto of sorts.

What does make this book different is not the message it delivers but the questions it begs you to ask of yourself.

People learn not so much from what they are told, but from what they discover for themselves when they are asked the right questions. (Click to tweet)


The message of this book resonates loud and clear: if you intend to transform your life, you first need to look at it through an entirely new lens, one that is crystal clear with possibilities rather than muddied with thoughts of failures and problems. After all, the authors tell us – “it’s all invented anyway”.

I wonder how this message might change the life of an ADDer coming to terms with the diagnosis. Much emphasis is put on the disorder in the medical would. It is easy to neglect that some of the characteristics of ADHD could actually be employed as strengths, if used properly.

The idea that ADHD could be a strength may sound absurd. Currently there is much debate around the notion that it may even be a gift. Most people who live with it would beg to differ. However, if we play around with this idea, in the spirit of possibility, new views of the horizon can emerge.

Yes, I accept that ADD is a disorder, insofar as the ninety percent of the population (give or take) wired in a neurotypical way create the rules and structures in which the ADDer struggles. However, life is not always linear, systematic, or logical. There come times when a brain wired for obscure, tangential, circular thinking styles and hyperactive, hyper-focused energy is not only an asset but crucial.

In his book, The Da Vinci Method, Garrett La Porto argues that when ADDers are activated and truly engaged in what they are doing, they can apply an extraordinarily high degree of focus and energy in achieving that endeavour. He argues that they are capable of a level of engagement which far surpasses that which “normal” people are capable of.

The drawback – their routine output, the kind that keeps day-to-day life ticking along, is also far less. This may not be the case for every ADDer, but it’s certainly an interesting way of looking at it.

There are times in life when high engagement and output is demanded. These are the times of innovation, proliferation, creativity, exploration, crisis or even war. Just the right circumstances for an ADD brain to switch on and get into gear. Having this purpose in the bigger picture could be viewed as functional. I’m not saying that La Porto’s theory is indisputable.  I’m just saying – it’s a POSSIBILITY…

No one will argue that being short has its disadvantages in some domains. Being exceedingly tall has its drawbacks too. But there could be times when being either tall or short puts you at an advantage for getting certain things done.

Maybe the advantages aren’t as plentiful as the disadvantages. However one thing is certain – when you focus on what seems impossible rather than what could be, you decidedly live in a world that closes its doors to you.

ADD is a challenge. There is no doubt about that. It becomes especially challenging when you try to force yourself live a neurotypical life. Technically, you could drive your car in reverse everyday and probably still get to your destination, but your journey will go a lot smoother and more enjoyably if you operate your car the way it was designed to be driven.

Living well and flourishing with ADD means using your brain the way it is designed to be used. Pause and listen to what your body is telling you. Reflect on each day to discover what you might learn about yourself and what you need to operate well. Ponder how your unique strengths could serve the world. Do this over and over again and the path to a more satisfying existence will become apparent to you.

When you do – you open up a world that is full to the brim with possibilities. And the only doors that close are the ones you slam yourself.

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5 comments on “The Possibilities of ADD

  1. This blog and the previous one really made me think. I wonder if any of the great thinkers and artists of the past really spent one minute wondering if they were fitting in with the status quo? If you look at DaVinci, his life was filled with ridicule and trials. Albert Einstein had a personal life that was a train wreck. Gandhi went against all that was “normal” at the time. These days it seems to be a main priority for society to judge and govern everything you eat, wear, say and do. It is their “right” to have things just the way the majority decides they want it. Leaves very little room for individuality, doesn’t it? I can see why more than ever people are conflicted with being and thinking outside the norm. So I applaud all of you ADDers as well as your intelligent commenters who dare to be different. I stand up and raise a glass to you and thank you for my children and their children who want to see some masterpieces in their future.

  2. This post is excellent. It totally resonates with me. I was diagnosed with ADD well into adulthood. I am still learning about how it manifests in me/with me, ten years later. Perhaps it is more inconsistent in women with our hormones continuously changing. I managed to purchase two copies of the book, The Art of Possibility and with my ADD, I have yet to read either copy. Thank you for the inspiration. It isn’t for no reason I purchased the book. Is the quote at the beginning of your post from the book? It makes all the sense in the world to me. It is exactly how my brain thinks and exactly why it is challenging to make decisions.

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