A person with ADHD gets more ideas before their morning coffee than the average person has all day. The constantly wandering mind isn't always filled with the next great American novel, oooooh shiny thing! But the impulsivity attached to ADHD symptoms can actually allow people to take more risks, resulting in more creative thinking, according to a study at Dublin's Trinity College.
Often wrongly associated as people who can't sit still or pay attention, individuals with ADHD have a good reason for their restlessness or inattention. The ADHD brain has zero tolerance for things of no interest to it, and works tirelessly to instead hyperfocus on things of interest, especially when these things involve risk taking. Creativity is, in essence, a risk. The creative mind is a risk-taker, challenging normalcy and popular beliefs to see things in a new light. While he might not get a 100 on his algebra test, it is likely that the creative ADHD mind belonged to the first kid in class to ask, "Why do we have to learn this in the first place?" The ADHD brain seeks to find creative solutions for answers when a typical brain just accepts that two plus two is four. Perhaps you challenge it further, become Thom Yorke of Radiohead, write a song called "2+2=5," and accidentally become the poster boy for Russian ADD medication.
The impulsivity associated with ADHD can be also used as an evolutionary strength. The impulsive mind makes decisions faster — in terms of survival, that could be the difference between getting hit by a truck, and making a quick decision to creatively avoid the collision. The ADHD mind can act on a decision before it's even cognitively aware that a decision's been made. ADHD overrides all that pesky risk analysis, and instead reacts creatively. The ADHD brain is reliant on a high level of arousal outside what the typical world may have to offer.
When the ADHD mind is daydreaming, it's really developing new creative adaptations to any given scenario, or perhaps arranging the first prelude to a symphony, or outlining a novel he will probably write. Historically, creative geniuses with formal ADHD diagnoses exist in all fields, from grunge rock to Romantic literature. What do Lord Byron, Kurt Cobain, Justin Timberlake, Will Smith and Michael Phelps have in common? You guessed it: they all have ADHD.