Living with ADHD in the age of information and social media | Theo Siggelakis | TEDxQuinnipiacU
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Living with ADHD in the age of information and social media | Theo Siggelakis | TEDxQuinnipiacU


Translator: Hiroko Kawano
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven As recently as last week, I’ve been told in class
to stop tapping my foot. I’ve been told to think before I speak, to not call out, color in the lines, stop leaving my seat. Life in the public education system
as a child with ADHD was very difficult. It was so difficult, my mother
held me back in kindergarten to better acclimate me to my peers. In the long run, that served me very well; however, in the short run,
it compounded my social inadequacies. Some students labeled me as stupid. One history professor in high school went so far as to tell me
I’d only be average. But there’s a place for people like me. As I got older, I – quote, unquote –
“outgrew my ADHD.” Whatever that means. Despite my academic success, some people still question
my train of thought. Let me show you. I was watching a Red Sox game last week. David Ortiz hit a mammoth home run. Did you see Mark Wahlberg
has a new movie coming out: “Transformers”? And by the way, if you have any time this Sunday,
come see me speak at TED. You’re all confused, aren’t you? Baffled. Yes, this is my normal train of thought, and let me explain you
the logic about how this works. So we started with David Ortiz. David Ortiz plays
for the Boston Red Sox. You know who else is from Boston? Marky Mark. (Laughter) So I connected: Boston – Marky Mark. Now, Marky Mark, if you remember,
he played in the movie “Ted.” (Laughter) You know the one with
the creepy stuffed bear? Yeah. And so I correlated that to TED Talks. See, my brain works like hyperlinks. And I actually learned
about this in high school when we used to play a game
called the Wikipedia game. This may speak to the
caliber of student I was, but when we get bored in class,
we play this game. And the way it worked was that you pick one page,
and you pick a really random second page, and whoever could get to the really
random second page first would win. I was the one. (Laughter) So today we’re going
to play the Wikipedia game, just to see how my brain works. We’re going to start with Ken Starr
and get to Gibson guitars. I don’t know if you remember Ken’s story,
investigated Clinton in the 90s, anyway – So we’re going to begin
at Mr Starr’s page. We’re going to take a nice broad topic, American. This takes us to the United States page. On that page, we’re going to go
to the culture section; we’re going to click on Chuck Berry. There’s Chuck. He happens to be playing a Gibson guitar. And in four clicks, we made it to Gibson. Two seemingly random topics,
transitioned fluidly in four clicks. That is how my brain works. (Laughter) Now, all this talk about ADHD. What is ADHD? Well, first of all, ADHD stands for
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It probably means nothing to you guys because all you imagine is a small child
running around in a classroom, that can’t control himself. Well, quite frankly,
the face of ADHD is a little different. It could be a man or woman in her 30s who’s having trouble
paying her bills, or his bills. It could be a college student who should have finished
his work, or her work, ten hours ago but is just so incredibly bored
by the content. Or it could be Justin Timberlake. He is ADHD too. So people look at people with ADHD,
they see a couple key characteristics: inattention; our mouth seems like it’s run by a motor, we speak very quickly
and have a lot to say, a lot of passion; we’re constantly fidgety,
like my foot, or leaving my seat. And these are the traits that people see. But the thing is, the Internet is built
for people with ADHD. Let me show you. So you got Twitter. Twitter’s limited to 140 characters. No matter how much inattention you have,
you can focus on 140 characters – not words, characters. Instagram. Instagram is simply photos. Even children can enjoy photos
and sustain focus. But on top of that, the Internet is a place where people
indiscriminately say what they want. Like my teachers told me to think
before I speak, back in the day – nobody thinks before
they speak on the Internet. (Laughter) This is a favorite tweet of mine. It’s from an Ohio State football player. He wanted the world to know. “Why should we have to go to class
if we came here to play football? We ain’t come to play school;
classes are pointless.” (Laughter) A lot of great thought
went into that tweet. (Laughter) Now, this is a favorite
Instagram post of mine. I love this rendition of small children playing
Walter and Jesse from Breaking Bad, with fake masks for Halloween. (Laughter) Not only did the mother think
it’d be a great idea to give her children fake masks
and dress them up like Jesse and Walter, she then posted it to Instagram. A lot of thought went into this. And the funny thing about the Internet?
It’s making us all a little ADHD. John Roddy at Harvard
University calls this “Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder.” The way this works is that
if you’re ADHD like me, my neurotransmitter system
with dopamine is slowed down; it doesn’t work the same way
as everybody else’s. But what happens is
when you go on the Internet constantly, you get a constant shot of dopamine. And what happens is you get used to getting
a constant shot of dopamine, so yours too slows down. So when you’re stuck doing a mundane task, like mowing the lawn
or driving in the car or whatever you’re doing that doesn’t give you
instant dopamine like the Internet, the system slows down
and you get bored really quickly. So we have this society where people
can’t get away from their cell phones, where they get bored,
they don’t get the dopamine. And basically – oh, wait a second,
I got a little ahead of myself. So when you have ADHD, one of the funny things that happen is you just get completely
ahead of yourself sometimes. Anyway, let me resume where we’re at. (Laughter) So what has happened in society is we have two categories
of people with ADHD. We have people like me;
I have adolescent ADHD. I’ve had it since I was three; you can ask my mom
right here – God bless her. (Laughter) And then you got type two:
it’s adult onset. You know, it comes
from using the Internet. So I categorized it
in kind of the same way as diabetes. There’s one you’re born with, but then there’s one
that comes with the environment. The difference between ADHD and diabetes, other than the pancreas
and stuff like that, is the fact that there’s
an advantage to being type one. Yes, there’s an advantage. There’re two distinct advantages that
set me up better to handle the Internet than people without ADHD,
that just acquire it. Um, one trait is hyper-focus. While I’m interested in something,
I can give it 150%. The rest of the world is stuck at 100;
they’re like, “I’m doing my best.” And I’m like, “I’m doing my best!” (Laughter) And I’m up all night, and I’m like an encyclopedia
about it in about a week, you know. The other thing is that
I’m not overburdened by the Internet. I’m not overwhelmed. I have a discriminatory focus: I know exactly what I want,
and I don’t focus on anything else. And that’s why, you know,
what I’m doing something I love, it’s not a problem – I’m 150%. If I have to do work for, like,
my science teacher’s science class, it may take me all day. You know, um – But the other thing,
we have another advantage. It’s peripheral focus. Yes! So when we’re in this zone, we don’t see the essential
that everybody else normally focuses on. We see a side detail, and what happens is
we’re able to create a new essential. This is what makes
the great entrepreneurs, especially in the technological field. A good example of this
is David Neeleman. I wonder if you all know
who David Neeleman is? As indicated by the picture,
he’s the CEO of JetBlue. He created the e-ticket – exactly how most of you got here today,
through an e-ticket. He credits his ADHD for his success. “One of the weird things
about the ADHD I have is if you’re really passionate
about something, then you are really good
at focusing on that thing. It’s kind of bizarre
that you can’t pay the bills, you can’t do mundane tasks,
but you can do your hyper-focus area.” The Internet is built for people like us. So remember, next time
you run into somebody who’s a little overzealous,
talks a little too much, has some inattention, don’t look down at them. He might be your next boss. Thank you. (Laughter) (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Living with ADHD in the age of information and social media | Theo Siggelakis | TEDxQuinnipiacU

  1. Loved the way he explained ADHD. I always wondered, why I kept jumping from one site to another ?? and I have been diagnosed with ADHD !!

  2. Your Story Is awesome…
    I am not sure if it is a good thing. Yes, I can do an extreme amount of things. Hard to find help. I expect more from people then they can give.
    • If you you grew up on welfare
    • If you went to 5 schools before you were 9
    • If your parents were divorced
    • If your dad hated you
    • If you didn’t graduate high school but got a GED
    • If you smoked crack when you were 11
    • If you survived NYC streets and walked to school in the same neighborhood the movie Bronx tale was made when you were 6.
    • If you made a Million dollars by the time you were 23
    • If you owned a million dollar house
    • If you had a multimillion dollar business
    • If you had your driver trainer license for standardbreds
    • If you bought a brand new Ferrari when you were 24
    • If you lost all your money by the time you were 28
    • If you recovered and had 5 kids with the same woman
    • If you have a top ten Pa wrestler and hardly wrestled
    • If you have honor roll students
    • If you gave away more then 5 cars in your life
    • If you gave away more then 100000 to friends and family
    • If you have the same friends as you did 30 years ago
    • If the same people helped you on the way down
    • If you had a horse farm and struggled but survived
    • If you never had a DUI
    • If you were married for 14 years and never cheated
    • If you were glad face the same people on the way down as you did on the way up.
    • If you thought you were worth less then other people?
    So much more… Large stone Quarry heavy equiptment operator, Car Dealer, Dent and body mec, Struck Natural Gas
    Believe it or not I am 46 an I still think I am starting over.
    God is great… My life Robert Schneider

  3. Personally, having been diagnosed with ADHD, I find Wikipedia itself to be problematic at times. When you become so hyper-focused on the subject you're reading about but you also become hyper-focused and interested in multiple other subjects that are hyper-linked on that Wikipedia article and you open them in new tabs, and then you start reading those new articles and find new interesting subjects in the new Wiki pages you've just opened.. that by the time half an hour has past you've got over a hundred Wikipedia tabs open and you've totally forgotten what it was you were initially researching.. but you've just learned a whole bunch of cool and interesting stuff on a diverse range of topics.. just not the one you were supposed to be spending all your time on.

  4. I completely understand the hyper focus aspect of ADHD, I think it's a blessing to want to fully understand the complete picture on how and why something works. I wish more teachers understood this concept because they only seem to teach memorizing material and never want to go into the origin and progression that got to statement they just stated. I'm in nursing school and the teachers give timed review questions at a rate of approximately a minute per question on material that you just read an hour ago and don't understand that if I don't understand everything about that disease, I need time to research it from how it manifested to secondary complications and what can be done to prevent it and manage symptoms. You would think the medical field would require this. But they are just interested in you knowing the short answer. And teachers don't like you to ask a lot of questions. And won't let you use electronics in school. Nursing school teachers don't believe ADHD is a real disorder,

  5. I remember describing that "hyperlink" thought process to my mum when i was like, 5 years old! She had said something to me, I looked at her for a few seconds, then said something entirely unrelated. She laughed and asked why i was asking, and i said "oh well you said this, and that word reminded me of this, and then i thought of how….etc etc"
    weird.

  6. God Bless you and all who have ADHD 🙏🙏🙏
    "Dont look down on them, they might be your next Boss " ❤

  7. The one thing I hate is people making this disorder out to be a joke. Even people who have it are making it a joke. That doesn't help people take you seriously and you aren't special for having it. "I have ADHD and *says something stupid to try to prove they have it.* Like stop, I don't want ADHD and too many people already take it as a joke.

  8. I wish this video was about your adhd (getting diagnose, struggles, achievements, etc). I'm sorry, but THUMBS DOWN.

  9. "You're probably confused" I'm not. What are confusing to me are lectures, not other people's trains of thought if they have adhd because I have the same mind so I understand, while a lecture is so boring for me and it's not how my brain works.

  10. Well said young man. I resonated with this on a profound level; I was that little boy constantly being told to sit down, stop fidgeting, etc. But I also a few years ago acquired a 4-6 year collegiate-level Law database in the span of about 8 months, using my 'hyper-focus'. I see most of my millennial generation has either type 1 or type 2 adhd, mostly acquired due to the internet. But you're right, those of us who where born with this neurological system have taken to the internet far better than most. You put my internet dependence into easy-to-understand terms, and for that, I'm thankful. Now I can just point people to this video!

  11. I didn’t ever think I had ADHD until I watched this. Looking back as a kid it makes sense now why I was beginning to read another book before finishing the first one all while failing homework assignments because I never did them.

  12. there is no such thing as ADHD, if you tell your self you have adhd, your body would believe anything you say, so if you wake up in the morning and tell your self I don’t have adhd your body would believe that and your adhd will be cured promise me guys.

  13. I got a Assessment from school saying only a >S<. Which is just a pass, not the best like a A+A, or A+B, or C+C. just a >S< for Satisfactory, i have know i dear, what ?Grade? that is, you will have to ask my teacher's. That question because i have know i dear??????????????????????.

  14. I've had inattentive ADHD since I was little, for some reason my family seems to be forgetting I still have it

  15. well done, well delivered. I don't have it but I live with some that do and so far this explains it very well and gives me a healthy perspective – nice work!

  16. I clicked 5 recomendated videos before I realized I was seeing this one
    It has become a habit me returning to the history to check what I didn't and want to watch

  17. 😱 OMG, Finally! A video I can share to others so they can better understand me! I can't explain it to others myself, but man you did a great job. Right to a T. 😃

  18. Reading all the comments to this video, ADHD is clearly not unusual – a LOT of people have it. I wonder why evolution hasn't eradicated it. Clearly, it isn't an obstacle to life, or to reproduction (which involves attracting a mate). I wonder if it has any evolutionary advantage in some way. The hyper-focus could be an advantage. For me, it has largely offset the disadvantage of the condition.

  19. The "thinking in hyperlinks" speaks to a deep part of me. That's exactly how I think and yes, I have ADD. On the bright side, it keeps casual /social conversations interesting! We can talk about 100 things in an hour lol.

  20. I have ADD and AADD I am 39 and still undiagnosed. Because I have used illicit drug in my teens the Dr. think I'm just pretending to get meds to get high.

  21. I have adhd and the Wikipedia game is the way I procrastinate when I have homework I don’t want to do. It’s so much fun.

  22. I love the focus on the positives. Too much negativity out there. I love research but I've never managed to finish a qualification. How could I get a job researching where it's valued to quickly jump all over and get to the answer in no time. I've never been a fidget, more of a day dreamer, addicted to change…. I don't even realise when I'm doing it – starting a whole new trajectory, changing the plan, even changing the reason for the original plan. It's all fluid 🙂

  23. I'm conflicted. I did meditation for some time to help me reduce my ADHD and it helped my thought hyperactivity slow down but it also seems to reduce my hyperlinking and stuff and the hyperactivity was also a big source of creativity. It feels like i lost a bit of my own craziness. Really makes you feel you just cant have the bestd of both worlds..(creativity and calmness/emotional stability)

  24. Gosh, this is such a great way of describing how adhd brains work. A way I've described my thinking process to people is basically for them to imagine the game '7 degrees of kevin bacon', but instead of only with movies and actors, with literally anything and everything, and you're constantly playing it, and you can't stop.

  25. The more I'm finding out about ADD/ADHD, the more its explaining my habits and thought process since I was a kid. I've never been officially diagnosed, but friends who have it, and my my fiancee's psychologist AND her psychiatrist are pretty sure I've got it. I'm wondering if I should go find out for sure. That said, I've never heard a better explanation for my brain than "hyperlinks". I always used to equate it to Jeff Goldblum, because I'm a fossil from the days before the internet and the thought process of most of his characters tended to best describe how I think (particularly Independence Day). I'm going to start using hyperlinks as a descriptor. Thanks guy.

  26. The hyperlink ing explains the daily random content on my Twitter that people have said – what is your acct about?! I'm like everything! life!!!!
    Twitter Hyperfocusing @SuzzRocks777 Great share kid! Thanks! Alpreciation

  27. My town has now just got money from the state to go get training about things like this. I live in a farming town and just now they are diagnosing ADHD you had to go out of town and drive 3 hours to get diagnosed. Not so easy then, especially when your local doctors don't care about anybody but themselves.

  28. we played the Wikipedia game in history last year. the last round we were supposed to start at Leif Erikson (however you spell that) and get to Krispy Kreme donuts. i would've gotten a merit if the bell hadn't gone literally the second before i got to the right page.

  29. Type 1- Hyperactivity
    Type 2- Inattentiveness

    It's not like diabetes. Neurotransmitters, and Hormones function very different. Example Dopamine as a neurotransmitter forms attractive bonds, Dopamine as a Hormone raises Blood Pressure (among other things for both examples). Why did TED let this guy talk with misinformation. It really makes me question the quality of TED Talks now.

  30. He is my fav ADHD speakers. Others are way too organized, when he forgot about something he was supposed to say, I knew he was like me 😀
    But I wish he said something about how to stop socil media eddiction.

  31. i have add and there is aperantly a huge difference between add and adhd. add just makes you useless (or at least i am).

  32. Thank you for explaining the seemingly random thoughts that others can’t follow. This explains it all… it’s how we connect things 😋!! Like!

  33. Why is it SO hard to find help for A-D-D without the Hyperactivity?!?! I'm 26 and only JUST found out I have ADD because I don't have hyperactivity I wasn't thought to have it I was not tested until now. And now it's too late in life to get help via NHS. I look online and instantly it just goes to help for AD-H-D. I need help and I can't find it.

  34. I love it that this guy can connect the dots so that other people can understand how an add mind can go from one subject to something completely totally off-topic… But completely related. Love it

  35. This explains why I have such an incredibly broad interest like a Jack of All Trades. Because my mind is constantly wondering to so many different topics to stimulate itself

  36. But what happen with ADD? I suspected I have it, but at the same time I deny it, because I have super good memory but I struggle with other symptoms. Maybe I don't have ADD but Still, procrastination, guilty and anxiety now really affecting my life

  37. Im sorry. The number of times ive wandered my mind away while watching this video. Phew. And ill usually rewind and get back to where i focused last. Im just glad i managed to watch it through.

  38. I know how this guy feels. I am turning 15 on the 28th and I have been diagnosed with ADHD when I was a little kid. I have been bullied for such a long time because of this. I have no filter when it comes to talking. I love walking around because I can't hold still. I have to go in the middle of class to "go to the bathroom" so today in my honors English class I was so energetic. I usually have my energy outbursts and I had one today. She told me 'you Definitely have ADHD". She knows I have it because I told her, because we are working on stereotypes about ADHD, for a project in her class.

  39. It's not a made up "disability" it's an evolutionary trait that just doesn't work so well in the modern world of sit down be solitary and do your job

  40. This is so true. I love the internet and all the things you can learn on it and discover on it, but I really don't understand how people get addicted to it.

  41. I have ADHD and I'm in virtual school. I've been freaking out and beating myself up because I am so behind! I end up watching a bunch of TEDx talks and researching on the internet, ,and have to go in a lot so I'm on alert of not doing my work.

  42. I've been looking for information on this Acquired ADD that he mentioned and I'm really in the dark. Posting this in the hope that someone else is looking for the same info

  43. …. At the moment i am again hyperfocused on my adhd because my envirment have problems coping with me. And i sleep in 2 days only 4-7 hours -.- So i am antisocial and irritated and i heared i can not change how my personality is, that frustrates me. Also i have problems feeling fear at the moment, that is really a restricted feeling … and i grave for excitement. For repetative boring tasks, i only can give myself a nice drug stimulus in my brain or i will never do anything. Would not see a reason why to build up willpower. P.S. yeah the internet is really nice for short dopamin peaks, but is really to small fish for me, it woulkd not work alone.

  44. Thank you Theo, I have just found out about my ADHD and I love it, finally, I know what was up with me. Thank Ted Talkx you guys are awesome.
    I have just done a special episode on my podcast and list the books and tips that help me deal with my condition. if you have drifted off yet or bored, just type "the Dider Show" on google and you will find me. Thank you again, ADHD is a gift, not a curse.

  45. I always used to draw during school. It would let me do something with my hands while still listening to the subject. Thankfully not many teachers told me to stop because I was kinda unnoticeable. But the occasional teacher that did made that class he’ll for me.

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