My name is Brad Worthley; I wrote the book “A.D.D. is a Gift, Not a Disorder” and I created this web-site to enlighten the world to my message. I am not a PHD and I do not have any plaques on my wall that recognize my ability to survive a grueling education process. I am not a 4.0 GPA student and did not get to speak at any graduation ceremonies, even though I think it would have been pretty entertaining if I had. However, I do consider myself somewhat of an expert in the gifts of ADD, because I have been living with the gifts all my life.
In high school, I was a “C” student and I graduated with a 2.47 grade point. My parents would have given anything to have had me make the honor role in high school. It only required a simple 3.0 grade point, and I could have had my name printed in the local newspaper for all to see. However, even with my best effort, that was not to be. The only time my name was in print was when “poor work-slips” were mailed to my parents, letting them know my grades had just dropped from a “C” to a “D”. Any mail that came from my school to our house was not going to be good news.
I could not understand how the kid sitting next to me in high school could be so socially inept, could not throw a football, he could barely tie his shoes, he would pick his nose and eat his boogers, but he could get straight “A’s” and be heralded as our best and brightest. There were many children in my school who fit that mold (sans the boogers), yet there were people like me who were social rock-stars, great athletes or creative souls that seemed to have it all, except good grades. I felt smart, yet every time I took a test or got my report card, I was reminded that I was not smart enough with my “C” average.
- English = D
- Math = D
- Science = D
- PE = A
- Art = A
- Wood Shop = A
I did very poorly in the memory classes, where testing “smart” was a quantitative method. However, I did very well in classes that required physical prowess or artistic talent and the scoring was qualitative and left in the hands of the teacher’s discretion. When all was said and done at the end of each year, somehow, even with my best effort, I was a “C” student.
I was at school every day – I never skipped a day of school in my life, but I still got mediocre grades. I actually tried hard to do well in school, but struggled and could not figure out why. I had friends who did well in school and they seemed to know exactly what they wanted to get a degree in and what they wanted to do when they grew up. It terrified me that I did not know if I could even qualify to go to college, yet alone know what I wanted to be. I felt like a ship without a rudder and felt isolated, like I was the only one who felt that way.
I hid my grades from my friends and did not talk about it because it was embarrassing to be a “C” and many times “D” student, just able to survive even the most basic classes. I ended up taking art, wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, photography and other classes that required ingenuity and creativity where I could excel and get passing grades. But, the classes that seemed to matter most to the school system, like English, Math and Science, I struggled in. I even failed a class titled “World Problems” in my senior year and had to take a night class at our community college in order to make up the credits so I could graduate with my class. No one knew it but my parents, because it would have been humiliating for anyone to know that I almost did not graduate with my class.
Even with my mediocre grades, I felt like I was smarter than my grades painted me to be. I felt like I had skills and talents that had were not being recognized by the school system – I felt they were missing the measure of my intelligence, but there was no one to turn to who would listen to my pleas for mercy. Does any of this sound familiar? Does this sound like your life story too?
I wrote my book from a unique perspective, from one of a person who believes they have discovered many of the gifts that come along with A.D.D. The most predominant are the gifts of creativity, ingenuity and fearlessness. It is a perspective that might be challenged by academia and some in the world of psychology, but I am OK with that. My book is about my journey and discoveries, not theirs. Today, I truly believe I have gifts that many people do not have, and for those that know me real well, they would support me in my belief. Am I perfect? No. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Will I continue to make mistakes? Yes. Will I learn from my mistakes and grow from them? Yes.
Even though the school system did not think I was good enough, I have created seven companies since I was 20 years old. I built my dream home on the highest mountain in Bellevue, Washington overlooking Mount Rainer when I was 39 years old. It had a 10 foot tall waterfall that ran down my bedroom wall, with electric curtains that opened to a 180 degree view of the world. It had a wine cellar, sound-proof media room and television that appeared from the foot of my bed out of a pedestal. I have owned fabulous cars, many boats, including a stunning new 47 foot motor-yacht, a summer home and as of the writing of this book, own four other homes.
I live an extraordinary life filled with incredible joy and happiness. I truly believe I achieved many of these wonderful things in my life because I have a gift; the gift of A.D.D. I am not dumb, I am not broken, and I do not have a disease, ailment, malady, syndrome, sickness, illness or disorder. What I do have is the gift of creativity, ingenuity and fearlessness that many people do not have. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky and embrace my gift every single day. It has made me who I am and allowed me to flourish in my business and in my personal life.
I have come to believe that it is the school system that is broken and damaged, not me. Who in that system made themselves god by telling people with a good memory that they are the only smart ones and they are worthy of the only accolades? Who decided that the gifted ones were the ones who could retain whatever they heard or read and recall it upon demand when taking a test (their gift is one of mental regurgitation)? Yes, they have good memories, but does that truly make them smart?
Maybe those of us who tried hard in school and only got “C’s” are the gifted ones. Maybe those who struggled in school and chose to protect themselves emotionally by dropping out and walking away from a broken school system in frustration are the gifted ones. We are the entrepreneurs who are building businesses, hiring people and stimulating the economy. We are the ones who do not take “No” for an answer and push through in tough times with our tenacity and make powerful decisions that keep the dream alive. We are the innovators who drive change and motivate people to think about how things could be done differently.
We are creative, we are ingenious, we are fearless and we are A.D.D. We are not broken, the system is. We do not have a disease or a disorder – we have a gift. We are not victims; we are fully in charge of our own destiny. We are completely capable of greatness. We are A.D.D.!