Those personality traits don’t necessarily go across the board. There are some ADDers that are more introverted; they enjoy reading, writing, and more contemplative pursuits. But the crazy-go-wild type is more the norm.
They’re the ones that come up to me after shows and ask me everything under the sun about me, my work, my art, and my dogs. They’re also the ones who face stiff challenges in settings like the classroom. When the teacher says something, they just want to blurt out what comes to mind. Structure and quiet are not their friends.
Despite the challenges that come with ADHD, I ask you to consider taking ADHD as an opportunity to help others. Harness the joy and energy wound up inside of you and share it. Be infectious with positivity.
Since I notice every detail, I can often pick up on someone’s demeanor. I recognize facial expression, energy level, and the tone in their voice. I can see if someone is having a bad day. This is a gift; not everyone can notice all of this.
Keeping that ability in mind, I recently heard a line on the radio that spoke worlds to me: “Be kinder than you have to because everyone you meet is battling something.”
When we meet someone with a bad attitude, it’s hard not to take it personally. You want to ask, “What did I do wrong?” This is especially true in a marriage.
The key is to look past their exterior, not take their attitude personally, and infect them with the joy you have bubbling up inside. Try to get that bummed-out restaurant server to brighten up. You won’t always win them over, but when you do, it’s like winning a gold medal. It can be as simple as a smile, joke, compliment, or a good tip. You may not even see them brighten, but there’s a good chance that it will come afterwards.
On a recent flight, the nearby flight attendant was having a rough day. The tension around her was like an electric field that you could feel when she walked by. I knew I had to act.
So, during her pre-flight safety speech, I sent smiles, winks, and funny faces at her. By the end of her script, she was laughing. (disclaimer: Airline safety is no laughing matter.)
She came over to ask if I was OK. I smiled and said that I just wanted to infect her with some of my weirdness. She thanked me, and her demeanor transformed instantly. Ironically, we talked later, and it happens that her daughter had just been diagnosed with ADHD. That was certainly weighing on her heart.
You may not have to be a clown on a crowded airplane, but use your ADHD for good. Share your joy and energy. There’s plenty of need for it in this world, and we can keep going and going and going and going…