Adult ADHD? Confessions of a Former Hacker

By: Tellman Knudson

Made you blink, didn't I?

Yes, it's true. I have Adult ADHD and was trained as a professional (now "former") hacker. I have to admit, it was a great occupation for someone with ADHD symptoms--never boring.

The true definition of a hacker is one who takes delight in solving problems and overcoming limits. Sounds similar to people with Adult ADHD, doesn't it? 

If you are a business owner and entrepreneur and/or you have Adult ADHD symptoms, you're probably a hacker too.

Hackers have a special code they live by, one very similar to the silent code that most entrepreneurs with Adult ADHD live by, and I'd like to share that special code with you today. It's simple, and it only has 5 rules:

Hackers (and those with Adult ADHD) solve problems and build things, and they believe in freedom and voluntary mutual help (Sound familiar?). To be accepted as a hacker, you have to behave as though you have this kind of attitude yourself. This means you have to believe it.

So I'll let you in on the secret--it’s a belief-code of renegade entrepreneurs, creatives, and Adult ADHD business owners everywhere. Adopt it and prosper!

1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it's a kind of fun that takes lots of effort. The effort takes motivation. Successful athletes get their motivation from a kind of physical delight in making their bodies perform, in pushing themselves past their own physical limits.

Similarly, to be a hacker you have to get a basic thrill from solving problems, sharpening your skills, and exercising your intelligence...just like those with Adult ADHD.

2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.

Creative brains (i.e. Adult ADHD brains) are a valuable, limited resource. They shouldn't be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.

To behave like a hacker, you have to believe that the thinking time of other hackers (or creative Adult ADHD types) is precious--so much so that it's almost a moral duty for you to share information, solve problems and then give the solutions away just so other hackers can solve new problems instead of having to perpetually re-address old ones.

3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.

Hackers (and creative people with ADHD symptoms) shouldn't ever be bored or have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this happens it means they aren't doing what only they can do--solve new problems.

This wastefulness hurts everybody--including those without Adult ADHD symptoms. Therefore boredom and drudgery are not just unpleasant but actually evil.

To behave like a hacker, you have to believe this enough to want to automate away the boring bits as much as possible, not just for yourself but for everybody else (especially other hackers).

Fortunately, creating systems to automate boring tasks is something people with Adult ADHD almost always love to do! In fact, it could almost be called an ADHD symptom in itself!

4. Freedom is good.

Hackers--and those with Adult ADHD symptoms--are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can stop you from solving whatever problem you're being fascinated by--and, given the way authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to do so. This is death for someone with Adult ADHD!

So the authoritarian attitude has to be fought wherever you find it, lest it smother you and other hackers...including your fellow Adult ADHD entrepreneurs.

5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.

To be a hacker, you have to develop some of these attitudes. But copping an attitude alone won't make you a hacker, any more than it will make you a champion athlete or a rock star. Becoming a hacker will take intelligence, practice, dedication, and hard work.

Hackers won't let posers waste their time, but they worship competence.Competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.

If you revere competence, and you're an entrepreneur or business owner with Adult ADHD, you'll enjoy developing it in yourself--the hard work and dedication will become a kind of intense play rather than drudgery. That attitude is vital to becoming a hacker.

If this makes sense to you, you just might be a hacker too!  Live it, love it and let it grow. For more hidden truths about Adult ADHD symptoms and what they mean for you as an entrepreneur, see below!

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