A Bit of Background: A lengthy comment on the blog post You Have A.D.D./A.D.H.D. and You Will NOT Be Rich and Famous resulted in a lengthy response on my part that became the blog post You Have ADD/ADHD and You Will STILL Not Be Rich and Famous. The author of the lengthy comment, Paradigm of Thought, wanted to provide a lengthy and detailed response to that second post. I asked Paradigm to email me his response (it was too long to post as a comment) and I assured him that I would post it on this blog. Because of the length of the response I am posting it in two parts. The second part will appear in approximately five days.
On Feb. 21, 2010 I received the email below from Paradigm. What follows is the first part of his response.
[START OF EMAIL]
Thank you for your time and patience. Being an A.D.H.D.er on the path to success sometimes leaves me with very little time. But I have finished my response to your rebuttal on your page, and as per your request, I will give it to you in the file form to post it on your blog. As you no doubt understand I expect it to be posted verbatim as if I was writing it on my blog. I hope it is to your satisfaction, it took over six hours of Hyper-Focus to finish. I look forward to your response.
[END OF EMAIL]
You Have A.D.D. And You Can Succeed:
A Rebuttal By “Paradigm Of Thought” – Part I
“Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Believe You Can’t. Either Way You’re Right” – Henry Ford.
I am a man of learning and research. I have spent much of my adult life trying to understand and comprehend the world around me. What I have found is that there are many Myths of Modern Culture that seem to supplant their way into our minds. Since discovering these myths I have made it my personal mission to attempt to redeem and correct them.
Earlier this week I stumbled onto this blog. In Jeff’s A.D.D. Mind, Jeff very eloquently parrots a myth that I have become quite aware of over the years. That people with A.D.D. are destined to failure. This is a common myth perpetuated probably because of the performance in school that A.D.D.ers often have. We expect that the performance in high school is an indicator of how well the person will perform in the business world, and even in their personal lives.
But if one were to objectively look at school, and then turn their eye to the professional world, the differences are often night and day. For example feelings are saved in school with the inventions of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” In business a person’s personal feelings are often ignored in lieu of their work performance. In school everybody is given a fair chance, often times in business the chances much more unfair, and favoritism in the form of the “Good ol’ boy” system is far too often a factor in the decision making process.
In seeing his argument I made a lengthy post found on the fourth page of comments in the original blog (see link above). This incited a lengthy rebuttal, which in turn challenged me to a lengthy counter rebuttal. The premise of this debate goes as follows.
The Argument: Can the traits of A.D.D. be used or overcome for the purpose of success, or is the diagnosis of A.D.D. a damnation for failure?
Just The Facts
Like my opponent, I will set my argument using a few base facts.
Fact Number 1: Social Sciences, unlike physical sciences, are far more subjective because it deals with an inherently subjective premise (Considering people are subjective themselves). All social sciences are subject to subjectivity. This subjectivity can be the discipline in which the researches subscribes to, the school of thought he holds, to the awareness of the subjects in question.
Fact Number 2: People who succeed have no reason to find out what’s wrong with them, because, as far as we can tell, there isn’t anything wrong. It could very well be that there are many undiagnosed A.D.D. Entrepreneurs who never bothered to ask why they didn’t succeed, because they did succeed. This is an appeal to the incompletion of the social studies of success in A.D.D. This is not the fault of the researchers, rather a fault in the data. Many older Entrepreneurs will not see therapists, or have opportunities to be diagnosed, so many of the successful A.D.D.ers will never be diagnosed, and this will of course skew the data. This is of course another effect of the subjectivity of social sciences.
Fact Number 3: Success is almost totally contingent on how a person approaches a situation. If a person approaches a situation expecting to fail his actions will reflect this expectation. And via versa.
Fact Number 4: Success is a learning process. And as in all learning, it must be tried with failure, before successful. Learning how to accept failure and try again is absolutely necessary for attaining ultimate success. If a person fails and gives up trying, they will never succeed. And considering that in all realms of success there is a fair risk of failure no matter who you are, this is too often what prevents us from success.
So Where Are You Going With This?
Fact Number 1 Revisited: My opponent contends that the success of an A.D.D.er is only valid if prior to the diagnosis or recognition of the disorder. This is ignoring one of the basic principles of success: Knowing Your Limitations. Any weight trainer can tell you, if you ignore your limitations you will end up unsuccessful in any work out. This stands true in business and a person’s personal life. This also ignores the fact set in Fact Number 2.
Fact Number 2 Revisited: If a person who succeeded never bothered to become diagnosed, because they succeeded, there is no way to know whether they are A.D.D. or not. Now, admittingly this fact is based upon deduction and assuming on my part, but there is no arguing the fact that there are many A.D.D.ers who go through their life happy and healthy without any sort of diagnosis. Knowing this there is most certainly successful people who never became diagnosed, and why would they? To them there is nothing wrong.
Fact Number 3 Revisited: From my first post I made sure to point out that I do not believe that A.D.D. will automatically allow a person to succeed (This is my first statement in the original post). Success is contingent upon attitude, not some magical or divine property given by a disorder.
Fact Number 4 Revisited: My opponent sustains that one failure comes out to total failure. What this fails to recognize is that a person, regardless of a diagnosed disorder, is most certainly going to meet roadblocks, hurdles, and yes failure on the path to success. The key trait in success is not how much a person succeeds, but how well a person picks up after they fail. Success, as I mentioned is a learned traits. And like all learning it requires repeatition and failure in order to learn (In a neurological point of view, an Axon must attempt to connect with a Dendrite up to a hundred times in order to make a clear connection).
First, My Concessions.
This is the part the most responsible debaters dread. But sometimes you have to concede arguments in order to maintain the credibility in order to continue debating. In his argument my opponent made a couple points that force me to concede the following.
The National Commission on Entrepreneurship… I may have been a little overzealous, and skimmed a little more than I should have in this statements. Upon rechecking my sources I could not find the referenced source.
Many Historical Figures… My opponent was quick to point out that I cannot read history backwards. Because I regrettably do not have a time machine I cannot give a BSM IV to these famous figures, nor can I hook them to an EEG and find out whether or not they are Attention Deficit. Though it is important to point out that these figures shared traits such as having numerous and incomplete projects, were considered callous and caustic by their peers, and often would not pay attention to certain details (All diagnostic criteria of A.D.D.
The Average I.Q.: This is the one that was totally blown out of the water. Upon double checking myself I found that there was no average intellectual difference between people with A.D.D. and people without.
I hope these concessions will be taken in the spirit that they are given. But these concessions by no means take away from argument. So let’s do what I originally (And capriciously) suggested we do, and forget these arguments.
[END OF PART I]