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Mental Health News: Entrepreneurs With ADHD Might Be More Successful

Update Date: Jan 07, 2017 08:50 AM EST
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The characteristics of someone with ADHD are somehow ideal to be successful entrepreneurs. (Photo : John Sciulli/Getty Images for Airbnb)

A professor is looking into a series of studies that explores the link between individuals diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and success as entrepreneurs. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are around 39 million affected by this mental health condition.

One of those diagnosed with ADHD in 2012 is Dr. Johan Wiklund. He is a professor of entrepreneurship at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management. After his diagnosis, Wiklund started reading about his condition and learned that the characteristics of someone with ADHD are somehow ideal for successful entrepreneurs.

People with ADHD demonstrate attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Wiklund thinks that the last two traits mentioned are helpful in making them successful entrepreneurs. Being hyperactive is equated to work capacity, and they can just work day and night on something they are interested in.

Experts may argue that impulsiveness, acting based on gut feel, may be dysfunctional, but Wiklund believes that "in entrepreneurship, you have to act." A rational person may over analyse and in the end, never accomplish anything. Those with ADHD can take their impulsiveness to their advantage as they tend to be more action-oriented.

The study conducted by Wiklund, Holger Patzelt and Dimo Dimov, titled "Entrepreneurship and Psychological Disorders: How ADHD Can Be Productively Harnessed," sees the positive implications of the symptoms. However, Wiklund does not believe that everyone diagnosed with ADHD is suited to be entrepreneurs. To look more into the details of his finding, the professor hopes to conduct two more studies next year.

A survey mentioned by Entrepreneur showed that 30 per cent of businessmen have to deal with depression, 29 per cent with ADHD and 27 per cent with anxiety. Mental health issues can have a negative impact on business decisions. Entrepreneurs are advised to manage their workload, avoid comparison with others to avoid pressure, and use time wisely to avoid procrastination.

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