I was telling a friend about something that happened to me at work when she uttered a wolf howl. I stopped talking and looked at her. She said she was hungry. My first thought: A howl in that situation is what I would expect from someone who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Later, I thought about what happens to ADHD children when they become adults. In short, they function much better than they did as a child, but they often keep some of the ADHD characteristics in mild form.
For instance, they may be disorganised and impulsive. They may procrastinate and do things just for the sake of doing something, regardless of social or other consequences. They may have strong stress reactions.
On the bright side, they may be creative, spontaneous, and energetic. Also, they may become hugely successful - if they get into the right line of work.
I am thinking here of Michael Phelps, who may have been the best swimmer ever. And Simone Biles, who may be the best gymnast ever. One more person with ADHD I would put in the high-success category is Justin Timberlake, a singer who coined the term "wardrobe malfunction" to explain how he accidentally pulled off part of Janet Jackson's clothing at a Super Bowl event.
All these folks have done well in fast-paced work that has opportunities for creativity and variety.
You can't get much faster-paced in water than Phelps.
If you watch videos of Biles performing, you will see her do moves that no one else has ever done in a competition.
What jobs outside sports and entertainment suit adults with ADHD? Busy jobs. Think of these for example: grocery store employee, critical care nurse, teacher, construction worker, mechanic.
However, much depends on the individual. Some adults with ADHD like repetitive tasks with fixed rules.
Others crave opportunities to express themselves. Still others become easily fatigued.
Some adults with ADHD have low confidence from school or social problems as youths. They may need a series of adult success experiences to muster the confidence needed to achieve all they can in a work place.
Adults with ADHD may also need someone to believe in their potential. Confidence can flow from one person to another, like a stream flowing into a pond.
John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.