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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

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A Bad Trait Could Be Your Signature Strength


Many of us have trouble listing our signature strengths, but can easily itemize the flaws. Along the way we force ourselves to fit the mold and become an artificial version of ourselves. Even worse, the self-criticism accompanying these imperfections causes a free-floating uneasiness. Consequently, we overdo - deplete ourselves with busyness to atone or even take medication.

It’s time to rethink our so-called flaws. They might actually be our hidden strengths. This is why I am so pleased to discover new research concerning one of the overmedicated maladies of our time, ADHD. It turns out that ADHD has an upside. Could we be engaging in self-sabotage by trying to suppress and silence the good side of ADHD?

In my book Addicted to Stress I advise my readers to adopt the attributes of a “healthy narcissist” – to embrace who they are in order to become who they aspire to be. In this chapter I cite an example of someone with adult ADD who berates herself for being flighty. Here is how she is advised to reinterpret her perceived weakness: “I am a scanner. I’m good at so many things and am looking for what I really enjoy.”

A new study in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences validates this concept. The latest research finds that adults with ADHD enjoy more creative achievement than those who don’t have the disorder. “For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas,” says Holly White, assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and co-author of the paper. “Not being completely focused on a task lets the mind make associations that might not have happened otherwise.”

The world needs sequential, clear and focused thinkers. However, the skill of brainstorming, generating new ideas for potential inventions, is just as vital.

Could your perceived weakness turn out to be your signature strength?
  • Laziness – you ease on down the road while others rush through life. You are likely to invent easier and more efficient methods.
  • Doodling – you are releasing your inner creativity. This transfers laterally to your more serious tasks.
  • Procrastination – you percolate ideas instead of knee-jerk responses.
  • Shyness – you are a good listener and more likely to think before you speak.
  • Messiness – you are a creative, multi-faceted person with an associative mind. You find what you need amidst the chaos.
  • Jealousy – you are ambitious and accomplish great things by emulating others.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show


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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.

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