Individuals with ADHD make better entrepreneurs
Jan 13, 2017 09:02 AM EST
People with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) demonstrate three primary traits - hyperactivity, attention deficit and impulsiveness. Although the conditions do not contribute to much success in institutional and corporate environments, ADHD did not stop successful entrepreneurs like JetBlue Airways founder, David Neeleman and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson from pursuing their dreams.
One of those diagnosed with ADHD is Dr. Johan Wiklund, a professor of entrepreneurship at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management. After his diagnosis in 2012, Wiklund learned that individuals with ADHD possess characteristics that gravitate towards successful entrepreneurs. Forming the hypothesis, he further learned that the individuals might be successful entrepreneurs not in spite of their ADHD, but because of it.
ADHD traits appear to motivate entrepreneurs to focus intently on tasks they are passionate about, such as building their companies. It seems like both entrepreneurs and individuals with ADHD are risk-takers who can grab hold of opportunities.
Wiklund believes that two of the three traits of ADHD - hyperactivity and impulsiveness, are the dominant factors that make successful entrepreneurs. Hyperactivity equates to increased work capacity as they can work intensively, day and night on something they are interested in. Meanwhile, impulsiveness, although perceived to be dysfunctional by experts, can be highly leveraged by those with ADHD to their advantage as they tend to be more action-oriented.
Wiklund is currently working on a series of systematic studies that explores the benefits of ADHD to entrepreneurs. In one of the studies previously conducted by Wiklund, alongside Holger Patzelt and Dimo Dimov, entitled "Entrepreneurship and Psychological Disorders: How ADHD Can Be Productively Harnessed," positive implications of ADHD traits were evidently seen.
Despite the findings, Wiklund does not believe that every person diagnosed with ADHD are called to be entrepreneurs. The professor hopes to conduct more studies in the following year.