Contributed by Andrew Lawrence
Bio: Andrew Lawrence, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Owner of Transparent Solutions in Burnaby British Columbia
Link to his site: http://www.transparent.ca/
First off I should say that I never really thought of myself as somebody with ADHD. It wasn’t until much later in life (my mid-thirties) that I even bothered to get diagnosed. I mean, how would a person that’s always had poor vision know they had poor vision until they get their eyes tested? If you’ve always viewed the world with bad eyes, it’s just ‘normal’ to you. It’s not until you put on a pair of glasses that you think “Oh man, I didn’t realize my eyesight was so bad!”
Since then I’ve come to learn that there is no one-size-fits-all ADHD diagnosis, so I can only talk about ‘my type’. I would consider myself to be the ‘lost in thought, always day dreaming, always starting, never finishing’ type. If there were Olympic medals for procrastination I’d win gold, if I ever got around to actually competing. Honestly, it sometimes feels like I’m watching TV in my head, but somebody else has the remote, and changes channels randomly. I don’t always get to pick what I think about.
I was told by teachers, coaches, or anybody other ‘authority figure’ in my childhood life that I’m lazy, disorganized, had poor work ethic, slow etc. If enough people tell you something, for long enough it’s hard for that not to become true, at least in your own head. Fortunately my parents were always supportive – I think at some point they just lowered the bar and just hoped I wouldn’t end up broke , in jail or worse.
It got to the point by junior high that I had permanent desk in the hall outside of the class so I wouldn’t disturb other kids with my random thoughts and speaking out of turn. In retrospect I get it. The teacher had a whole class of kids he had to worry about, and didn’t have the time to deal with my issues. ADHD wasn’t a ‘thing’ when I went to school, and my official diagnoses was ‘troublemaker’. The staff’s job was to minimize my impact on other students. The public education system just isn’t setup to deal with kids like us, and I’m not sure it will ever be.
Here I am, many years later and looking back I think I’ve accomplished a lot. I own my own business with a great staff, have an amazing wife that is tirelessly patient with me, two beautiful daughters and a schedule that allows me to enjoy watching them grow up. Life is good, and I’m sincerely happy with how everything turned out, and I’m not even close to slowing down.
So how does a failing student with a 0.0% chance of getting into university get to have a happy successful life filled with awesome people, financial security and time to enjoy both? If I had to boil it down, then I’d say passion and vision; and no doubt a whole lot of luck. What I lacked in discipline, education and focus I more than made up for with passion and a crystal clear picture of what I wanted from my life. A vision so clear I could practically taste it. I’ve learned that passion is contagious, and when others see that you have it, they gravitate to your energy.
It can be hard for people to think differently or ‘outside of the box’ or have the bravery to take on new ideas, or to push forward despite being told it’s not possible. Your passion and vision will transform that into rocket fuel. Find your passion, and never stop being the best you can at that thing, whatever it is. Throughout your life you may lose that passion now and again, and it’s your vision will keep you moving forward until you can find it again. Believe me, you will.
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