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Successful People With ADHD Superpowers

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often viewed in a negative way as a list of troubling symptoms. However, there are quite a few highly successful people who actually attribute their achievements to their ADHD. Sometimes it’s even described as a ‘superpower’.

Here are some traits that often help people with ADHD to be successful:

  • Hyperfocus
  • Highly passionate
  • Determination and drive
  • Risk-taker
  • Optimistic
  • Imaginative

Here are a few examples of some well-known people with ADHD that have harnessed these qualities and achieved great success in their chosen careers.


There are some well-known very high-achieving ADHD entrepreneurs including Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Walt Disney.

Chatham House, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Richard Branson had no interest in anything academic. Still, once he was able to harness his talents and imagination in his own way, he began to build a phenomenal business empire. He is one of the most successful and well-known entrepreneurs of modern times.

Bill Gates the co-founder of Microsoft is known to have ADHD and has admitted to struggling with ADHD symptoms. He’s also one of the wealthiest people in the world. By the time he dropped out of Harvard to establish Microsoft, he had been developing computer programming for several years and had even created a class scheduling system for his high school while still a pupil.

Walt Disney is thought to have had ADHD and also dropped out of school at a young age. He then went on to found the Disney empire. Orlando Ferrante, a Disney theme park designer, said,

“Walt has a simple philosophy: ‘Get the job done, but never sacrifice quality. ‘ He often told us, ‘You worry about the quality. Let me worry about the cost. ‘ ”

He had an extraordinary vision and the Disney brand continues to go from strength to strength, over 50 years after his death.

Of course, entrepreneurial ADHD does not always lead to fame but you don’t have to look far to find it. Self-belief and a strong vision seem to be implicit for success. As Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Boy Scouts of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Actors & TV personalities

A number of well-known actors and TV personalities have been open about ADHD.

Impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner has described ADHD as “my best friend and my worst enemy.” He was diagnosed as an adult with symptoms of ADHD as part of a TV programme called ‘Horizon ADHD and Me’.

Ant McPartlin, one half of TV duo Ant and Dec was diagnosed with ADHD after being convicted of drink-driving. While his diagnosis came at a dark time in his life, Ant recognises that “Professionally, it’s brilliant”. As an entertainer, being able to react quickly and switch from one thought to another is definitely a useful skill that is part of Ant’s comedic charm.

Former BBC 5 live presenter Richard Bacon was diagnosed with ADHD at age 42. This is what he has said about his ADHD:

“I like having it a lot; it is who I am. It’s just learning to work with it and manage it means that life gets less chaotic and painful for my wife and children.”

Award-winning comedian, actor and author Russell Brand has ADHD and is bipolar. He is a public thought leader and passionate activist for mental health and drug rehabilitation. He has struggled with addiction and compulsive behaviour. While he used to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons, he is now living a calmer life thanks to an effective treatment programme.

Hotel heiress, reality TV star, socialite, businesswoman, singer and actress, Paris Hilton was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. In a recent documentary discussing ADHD, she revealed:

“I am a risk taker; I am a creative. My Mind is always moving. I am always thinking of new ways to do business.”

And about ADHD: “I think it gives me this drive and edge I needed to succeed. It can be a superpower if nurtured in the right way!”

Other notable ADHD actors and TV personalities are Lee Mack, Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Liv Tyler, Tom Hanks and Channing Tatum.

Toglenn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


People with ADHD are often highly creative, so it’s no great surprise to find it affects a number of well-known musicians.

Adam Levine, singer, songwriter, musician and the lead vocalist of Maroon 5 was diagnosed as a child and his symptoms have continued into adulthood.

ADHD isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel different from those without ADHD. Remember that you are not alone. There are others going through the same thing.”

Daniel Mayer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adam Levine, singer, songwriter, musician and the lead vocalist of Maroon 5 was diagnosed as a child and his symptoms have continued into adulthood.

ADHD isn’t a bad thing, and you shouldn’t feel different from those without ADHD. Remember that you are not alone. There are others going through the same thing.”

Dave Grohl enjoyed worldwide success as the drummer in Nirvana and then went on to form the Foo Fighters. A self-taught musician, he was diagnosed with ADHD at school. He left school early to pursue his music career. He recently made the news when he performed alongside Sir Paul McCartney at Glastonbury.

Former Spice Girl and singer, Mel B uses nature and exercise to help cope with anxiety and other symptoms of ADHD:

“Exercise helps me meditate and get rid of my anxiety. It helps me focus on me for that one hour.”

Former One Direction singer and solo artist Zayn Malik, was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. He opens up about ADHD in his self-titled memoir ‘ZAYN’:

“[Growing up] I was pretty wild. I could never focus, couldn’t get a handle on where my brain wanted to go. I was constantly getting in trouble.”

Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Did you know that an estimated 8-10% of professional athletes are thought to have ADHD? People with ADHD are gifted with amazing drive, determination, energy and focus. Not surprisingly, a high proportion of top-level athletes have the condition.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time having won an incredible 23 gold medals for swimming. He is an ADHD role model who never let ADHD hold him back!

“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work… THERE ARE NO LIMITS.”

The British gymnastics champion, Louis Smith was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and used gymnastics to help him deal with it.

The Paralympic Judo champion Jonathan Drane was diagnosed with ADHD aged 15. Judo helped him to get through his teenage years. He has supported the ADHD Foundation in their work to help meet the needs of those with ADHD.

Other notable ADHD athletes:

  • Simone Biles – World and Olympic gymnastics champion.
  • Ashley McKenzie – British Judo champion and reality TV star.
  • Justin Gatlin – men’s 100m and 200m World and Olympic champion
  • Cammi Granato – winner of two Olympic medals for women’s hockey
  • Michelle Carter – Olympic gold medallist for women’s shotput

While ADHD may not have always made life easy for these sporting superstars, many of them claim their determination and capacity to hyperfocus have helped them on their path to success. Let’s remember that ADHD doesn’t always hold people back; sometimes it drives them forwards too.


A successful chef needs to be passionate, hard-working and creative. Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver are not only famous around the world for their work in the kitchen, but they are also highly successful entrepreneurs.

Jamie Oliver is an award-winning TV chef and children’s healthy eating advocate. He’s a firm believer in eating healthy additive-free food to ease the symptoms of ADHD in children.

They don’t come much more creative than Heston Blumenthal. This man combines science with cooking to produce food that challenges our perceptions of what food tastes and looks like. His multi-sensory cooking includes dishes such as ice-cream pork pie and edible fairy lights.

“We don’t need to learn to be creative. We need to learn to remove the straitjacket of fear. Of fear of failure. And then creativity happens.”

really short from NYC, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Historical Figures

We’ll never know for certain, but there are some famous historical figures who seem to have had many classic symptoms of ADHD. What they have in common is originality, passion, focus and determination. They can be considered to be creative geniuses.

Scientist and Nobel prize winner Albert Einstein is considered to have had ADHD because he “was as disorganised and forgetful as he was insightful and intelligent.”  There is other evidence to suggest that he may have had dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism combined with ADHD.

Artist, designer, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci could well have had ADHD. It would certainly explain some of his characteristics including procrastination which made it difficult for him to complete some projects.

Experts have also speculated that the iconic painters Pablo PicassoSalvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh may also have had ADHD.

At The ADHD Centre, we strive to alter the perception of ADHD and celebrate its positive aspects. Everyone is unique and ADHD can provide us with exceptional gifts that allow us to become high achievers. It’s important to celebrate every success, no matter how small. Today’s small achievement may well lead to a much greater one in the future. It’s essential that you keep being you and keep following your dreams.

The human race needs new and original ideas to progress. This is why society needs people with ADHD; without original thinking, nothing new might ever be discovered or created.

To find out more about our private ADHD assessments and our different ADHD treatments and coaching plans, please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via

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