6 of the Most Successful People With ADHD
Some of the most successful, impactful individuals to walk our planet were people with ADHD.
Some experts indicate that people with ADHD are gifted, and may be at more of an advantage than someone without ADHD. Our list below would certainly agree with that point. In no particular order, have a look at six of the world’s most successful people with ADHD.
1. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps embodies strong perseverance, which is a common trait associated with ADHD. At a young age, like most kids with ADHD, Phelps was never able to sit still — he recalls one of his teachers expressing that he would never be successful. But we all know how that played out — 23 gold medals later (28 overall), Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. In fact, he’s earned more gold medals than 90 countries have earned across all sports in Olympic games history. Also, his 28 medals overall are 10 more than the next closest athlete, Larisa Latinyna (18).
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is a six-time NBA champion, and he’s widely recognized as the greatest basketball player of all time. However, his game on the court is only part of his legacy. After his NBA career, Jordan has found great success as an entrepreneur, which is a common way of life for those with ADHD. He’s popularly known for partnering with Nike, which accounts for 90% of the U.S. shoe market, while the Jordan brand itself accounts for more than half of that. Additionally, Jordan owns an NBA franchise (Hornets), seven restaurants, and a car dealership. Today, Jordan is worth an estimated $1.31 billion — which ranks 1567 amongst billionaires, per Forbes.
3. Richard Branson
Say hello to the English businessman, investor, and philanthropist — Richard Branson — the man behind all-things Virgin. And for those unaware, the Virgin brand and investment group controls about 400 operations. No, that’s not a typo — Branson is the poster child of an entrepreneur with ADHD. His journey began in 1966, when he left school at age 16 to start publishing The Street magazine. Branson expanded quickly into the world of pop-culture and music. He went on to start a mail-order business that sent records through the post, which evolved to Virgin Records — the first business under the Virgin brand. Today, Branson is worth an estimated $4.9 billion — which ranks 363 amongst the world’s billionaires, per Forbes.
4. John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy’s 70.1 approval rating is the highest amongst all presidents since World War II. One of his best accomplishments was the way he handled the Cuban Missile Crisis in a calm, cool, and collected manner. At the time, a majority of U.S. military advisors had suggested to bomb the Soviet missile pads stationed in Cuba, but it was Kennedy’s choice to blockade Soviet ships, instead, that ultimately lead to a peaceful resolution. It’s one of many accomplishments during Kennedy’s time as president, which was cut short by his unfortunate assassination in 1963. And sure, his presidency had its ups and downs, but the approval rating speaks for itself — Kennedy’s legacy lives on.
5. Walt Disney
Walt Disney is a wonderful example of the exceptional level of creativity held by people with ADHD. And of all famous people with ADHD, Disney had the greatest impact on my childhood, personally. Disney built an empire through his creative spirit — a living, breathing, magical empire of imagination.
“Disneyland will never be completed, it will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
To this date, that statement holds true — Disneyland, which only took one year to conceptualize and bring to life in 1955 — continues to grow through imagination. According to Forbes, the Disney brand is valued at $43.9 billion, which ranks seventh amongst the world’s most valuable brands (note: list was last updated May 2017 when this article was published). Now, before we move on to our last famous person with ADHD — take a moment to appreciate the impact Disney had on your childhood.
6. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is widely recognized as one of, if not the most intelligent human beings to walk our planet. And we cannot know for certain, but most experts believe that Einstein had ADHD. Assuming that’s correct, Einstein makes quite the case against those who believe ADHD is a disadvantage. He made numerous groundbreaking discoveries in theoretical physics throughout his life. In 1922, Einstein won the Nobel Prize upon discovery of the photoelectric effect. It’s one of many reasons why he was named Person of the Century in 1999.
It’s incredible what these people were able to achieve in spite of an “attention deficit” — except they don’t have an attention deficit. Rather, people with ADHD have an attention difference. In fact, they can hyperfocus on a project of interest for hours at once — it’s one of 7 attributes of the ADHD mind that promote success. And when all 7 attributes are working in unison, that’s when people like Phelps, Jordan, Branson, Kennedy, Disney, and Einstein, are able to shine.