5Igniting Your Superpower by Applying What Makes You Unique

Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single‐celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.

—Professor Charles Francis Xavier, X‐Men

AT AGE NINE, MICHAEL was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For the next two years, he took the drug Ritalin. But as an 11‐year‐old, he felt stigmatize by needing the medication and figured out he could manage his attention deficit symptoms by getting out his excess energy swimming. His mother and doctor agreed to take him off the meds if he would continue to focus on spending time in the pool. Just four years later, Michael Phelps was an Olympic athlete. The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps has won 28 Olympic medals (including 23 gold). If you are thinking swimming is Phelps's superpower, you'd be wrong. He worked really hard training day in and day out for years to earn his swimming victories. Michael Phelps's superpower is ADHD. “I could go fast in the pool,” Phelps recalled. “It turned out, in part, because being in the pool slowed down my mind. In the water, I felt, for the first time, in control.”

Phelps isn't alone in harnessing the power of ADHD for success. Poor concentration, a lack of self‐regulation, and hyperactivity – the classic symptoms of ADHD – are ...

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