Is it ADHD or Creative Personality Type?


This article compares the traits of ADHD with the traits of “creative personality types” as described in the  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator – known as the  MBTI.

MBTI Personality Types which have high scores on both “Intuition” and “Perceiving” personality traits are estimated to occur in only about 12% of the population and 4-6% of women. (Source: “Please Understand Me” by Keirsey and Bates)

Interestingly, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is thought to occur in 6 – 12% of the population. Estimates of the prevalence of ADHD vary among authors.  Whatever the actual percentage may be, the estimates are so similar they beg for closer scrutiny. This article reviews descriptions of “MBTI Personality Traits” and compares them with what the medical model of ADHD (see Wikipedia Page)describes as “symptoms of disorder” in DSM-IV (Diagnostic Manual used by doctors updated in 2013 to DSM-V.)   See alsom

I seek to answer the question, why is it that in one person, the same behavioral pattern may be considered a personality quirk and in other person it’s a “symptom” of what’s “wrong” with them?  My opinion is that (as with beauty) what you call the trait depends on your personal biases. I present my case in the article below.

SIDE NOTE: This was one of my most popular and most commented on articles when it was first published on my Neat & Simple blog in 2008.


Many ADHD traits are actually the same as those of people with “creative personality types” as described in the Meyer  MBTI.

What does Creative Personality Type mean?

Having a creative personality type doesn’t mean you are an “artist” necessarily, though you may be. It’s broader than that.  Creative personality type  refers to people who exhibit thinking styles and preferences such as: tend to

  • prefer exploring new ways of doing things,
  • take more risks than the average person,
  • challenge the status quo,
  • want to try new things,
  • delight in solving problems,
  • prefer to research and continuously learn new things over implementing routines.

They tend to:

  • get bored with anything that is too repetitive or that stays the same for too long.
  • thrive on growth, change and novelty.

After all, growth and change implies novelty.  Growth is what separates us from machines, but some people are more driven to grow while others are more motivated by seeking stability.  Creative personality types “need” change and growth more than they need “stability” and security.  (Being driven to grow and evolve yourself rapidly is called having a “growth mindset”  in the book  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  The drive to evolve yourself is called “Evolutionary Intelligence” in the book “The Gifted Adult” by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen.)

According to the  MBTI  I could be either and ENTP or an INFP.  What that means is that I tend to be equally strong in both I and E –  introversion and extraversion – depends on the situation.  I’m also nearly equally strong in both T and F – I use both thinking and feeling to make decisions – again, depends on the situation.  It’s like I’m ambidextrous in both those traits. However, when it comes to Intuition and Perceiving, I score much higher in those traits than in the Sensing or Judging traits.

The “N” or iNtuitive” trait means I have a strong tendency to always looking for the potential in things, seeing patterns, connections and new possibilities, rather than “Sensing” which mean seeing things as they are and in greater detail.

The “P” or “Perceiver” trait means I tend to prefer to open up new options and possibilities rather than “Judge” which in MBTI language means make decisions, conclusions, and close options.  In other words, I naturally prefer to not make decisions unless it’s really necessary.   I’ve come to think of my MBTI type as “xNxP”.

I wonder how creative personality type and ADHD are connected because when you compare the traits of both, it’s striking how similar they are. The main differences seem to be in the degree, frequency, and impact these “traits” have on our lives. Both ADHD and the Creative Personality Types share many characteristics.

Below is a list of ADD traits that I’ve culled from reading  ADD books.


  • High energy and restless / Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Takes on, starts too many projects
  • Loses interest easily
  • High impatience
  • May fail to follow through, forget appointments
  • Tendency to hyperfocus and not be able to easily break out of it
  • Tendency to see everything at once, to think “globally” and see many possibilities at once, making it difficult to make certain kinds of decisions
  • Higher than average tolerance for chaos and change
  • Often exhibit high risk-taking, high stimulation seeking behavior
  • Often hyper-reactive and sensitive – Strong reactions to thoughts, noise, people talking, everything in their environment – may notice everything, or tend to shut down and become inattentive to everything, or a combination of both
  • Tend to criticize themselves constantly
  • Tend to always be scanning or hunting – looking around for anything that might be new or different, or out of place, looking to make connections, to see patterns, may not even be aware of this.  So they seem not to be listening when actually they are trying to take everything in, though sometimes they really aren’t listening because they can’t focus on just one thing that is coming in through their senses
  • Highly intuitive thinking
  • Inconsistency of attention, mood

Now compare that list with the list below which I made from the descriptions of MBTI “creative personality types” which have both an “iNtuitive” and a “Perceiving” preference.

 Keirsey and Bates identified four temperaments or subsets of the MBTI types in their classic book:  “Please Understand Me 

Keirsey simplifies the sixteen MBTI types into four groups, whose archetypes he equates with the classical four temperaments: Phlegmatic, Melancholy, Sanguine, and Choleric.

I have never seen anyone group the “NP” preferences as an archetype or temperament  but in my work with hundreds of people, I see a pattern that looks like NP could very well be the “ADD” or even “Idealist/Artisan, Creative –  Disorganized / Clutter-prone” temperament.

According to the MBTI , there are 4 personality types with predominantly “iNtuitive”(seeing the world in terms of it’s possibilities) + Perceiving (preferring improvising over planning) traits.  They are:

ENTP (5%)       INTP (1%)          ENFP (5%)       INFP(1%)

The percentages indicate what percent of the population has each personality type.  As you can see, these types are clearly a minority.   Combined they are found in only about 12% of the population and 4-6% of women. (Source: “Please Understand Me” by Keirsey and Bates)

As I mentioned before,, ADD is thought to occur in 6 – 12% of the population. So now, let’s take a look at the list of traits I summarized from Please Understand Me” by Keirsey and Bates with my notes in brackets about how this could impact organizing and/or look like ADHD.


  • Unusually Enthusiastic, [high energy and high enthusiasm is VERY characteristic of ADD)
  • “Apt to express interest in everything” [this makes it very difficult to focus and make choices about how to use your time]
  • Characteristically have an eye out for a better way [leads to constantly changing and not sticking to systems you create to organize yourself]
  • Always on the lookout for new projects, new activities, new procedures [ a clear link to all those unfinished projects ADD is famous for]
  • Always seem to be several jumps ahead  [Another hallmark of ADD brains that process informationally globally and often see patterns before others do. Many famous inventors and scientists who made significant discoveries are thought to have had ADD]

The list is stunning, for example, Alexander Graham Bell, Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Issac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Galileo and many more.   

  • Prefers to “improvise” rather than create a detailed plan  [Could look like impulsivity, being uprepared, etc.] (I now think of this as being “born to agilize”  : )
  • Tends to proceed into action without necessary preparation
  • Can succeed in a variety of occupations as long as the job “does not involve humdrum routine”
  • In a routine job “they become restless. If a project in which they are engaged is no longer challenging, they tend to lose interest and fail to follow through – often to the discomfort of colleagues”
  • “Orderliness in the routines of daily living is not apt to inspire them.”
  •  “Not likely to be interested in the routines of daily maintenance”
  • “Life with ENTPs is likely to be a daring adventure: this could lead families into physical and economic danger” [The book actually says this…could easily come out of a book on ADD]
  • “Apt to react with delight at having an opportunity to improvise a solution to a crisis”
  • “Likely to be inconsistent with their attention”
  • “May show undependable, fickle characteristics, and be easily discouraged”
  • “Always berating themselves for being so conscious of self”
  • “Can become bored rather quickly with situations and people, and resist repeating experiences”
  • “Enjoy the process of creating “but not interested in follow-through”
  • “Can have difficulty picking up on the ideas and projects initiated by others”
  • “Extravagant generosity punctuated with periods of frugality”
  • “Somewhat unpredictable”
  • “Characteristic in their pursuit of novelty”
  • “Outstanding intuitive powers”


  • “Can concentrate better than any other personality type” [Similar to hyperfocusing]
  • “Once caught up in a thought process, that thought process seems to have a will of its own for INTPS, and they persevere until the issue is comprehended” [More hyperfocus]
  • “Impatient with routine details” [Impacts ability to “maintain” traditional organizing systems]
  • “The INTP must be given an efficient support staff who can capture ideas as they emerge and before the INTP loses interest and turns to other ideas” [How I would LOVE this!  and how unrealistic this is.  The book is obviously old enough to remember when most managers had their own secretaries.  I had my own Exec Assistant when I was a manger at Arthur Andersen’s Center for Professional Education…it was AWESOME!!! I miss her!]
  • INTP’s are often forgetful of appointments and the rituals of daily living unless they are reminded. [Need I say more?]

I think the similarities between creative personality types and ADHD are more than clear.  And the link between creativity and difficulty “MAINTAINING” organizing systems is also clear.  My theory is that helping people learn how to become more organized by designing organizing solutions that fit their personality and brain type, AND that are designed to change easily and often (agile) is the most effective way to heal lifelong disorganization tendencies.  I call this cultivating personal agility and self-leadership vs. self-control.

Hope for Recovering from Chronic Disorganization

People who have been labeled as disorganized for most of their lives, and / or have been labeled ADHD, seem to have consistent personality traits and patterns that in our cultural context make them vulnerable to painful chronic disorganization – unless they have somehow learned the following skills which are just a few of the component skills that are prerequisites to learning how to design organizing systems.

  1. To appreciate things as they are – not only for what “they could become
  2. To accept and embrace that most of the potential they see cannot and does nothave to be fulfilled (This is a skill / habit that makes it much easier to let go of things without deeply grieving the loss of “potential” the things represent.)
  3. To embrace setting limits on the amount of research they do before making a decision based on the degree of risk involved so that can take action sooner rather than later.
  4. To purposefully limit the number of ideas they generate in certain situations so they can reduce overwhelm and more easily make decisions
  5. To design “filters” for easily ruling out options / ideas and automating routine decisions

I’ve learned that organizing “for” people doesn’t empower them…it actually reinforces their feelings of helplessness.  When people operate from an assumption that they “can’t” organize themselves it’s almost impossible to develop self-confidence because nearly everything we do in life requires organizing.

Over and over I’ve found that even people who have anxiety, panic attacks and phobias about organizing can learn to organize once they understand their personality type and the sources of their indecision and organizing difficulties. When they realize organizing is composed of skills that can be learned and that can become linked to their natural values and intrinsic reward mechanisms, they begin to flourish.

When they begin to see how creative and intriguing the organizing process can be, and let go of the idea that organizing requires tedious routines, they begin to see a a whole new world of possibilities in the fact that organizing is a custom design process.  With iterative practice and encouraging feedback they eventually teach themselves to become “naturally” attracted to the organizing process – in a way that is compatible with their natural personality type.


46 thoughts on “Is it ADHD or Creative Personality Type?

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  4. Hi, I am also an INFP/ENFP (I always test right at 50-54% I and the rest E) and diagnosed a raging ADHD many years ago. As a mother of 5, I really struggle to fit the expectations of traditionally acceptable domestic life in our culture. However, my ability to see things that others can’t, my intuition (not the hocus pocus kind), concepts, ideas, strategy ability is huge and I find it easy and enjoyable and I thrive when given the opportunity to use it. I find it so hard to fit into our society but I do see the gifts that it can be when surrounded by those who can see and appreciate it. My husband is very supportive. I really hope that more attention will be given to this theory!

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  6. It’s an interesting theory Ariane. When I’ve done these tests in the past, largely I tend to come up with EFNP more often than not. Those results have been coming up for about the last 12 years (around the first time that I did a Myers Briggs test).

    Of equal interest is the fact that I have recently been diagnosed with a profound case of ADHD. So there most certainly would seem to be a connection in terms of what you say.

    That being said, I’m not sure that the connection you’re making takes into account all of the details to make it sound. Of course, you mention ‘personality type’, which is what the MB test is designed to pick up on. What really needs to be taken into consideration is where that personality type comes from. Is it purely an environmental construct, or is it based on something genetic?

    There is a fair amount of research being done currently around noting the differences between the brain of someone with ADHD and someone who is ‘neurotypical’. Early evidence suggesting that an ADHD develops in a noticeably different way from the norm. Genetic factors are being suggested, though the case of this change of development are of course still up in the air for debate.

    You might also want to consider what type of person would fit the MB test if they were to be the opposite of the EFNP type. What – if any – ‘condition’ might they have? It would be my guess that you might well find it would be something similar to Aspergers/Autism. I’m not certain on that, but it’s an educated hunch.

    Whether it be ‘personality type’, ‘brain type’, or ‘disorder’. I do think that there is some merit in what you’re saying. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that if this work becomes more mainstream and recognised – in combination with some of the theories being put together on the subject of neurodiversity – then real progress might be made for a lot of people.

    All I would say is that talking about these things in isolation diminished the value of the message. Start looking at them in conjunction? Well if that were to happen, then we might just change the world. :)

  7. Hi!
    I was researching this because it has been years that I have been reading about personality types(ENFP) and about ADD. I am teacher and researched ADD first to find out information for teacher college. I found that the description of the ADD matched who I was\personality.

    As a newish teacher, I am also concerned for my lack of ableness to commit to routine and I worry that I am not able to be the teacher I want to be because of my personality\ADD.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that the article really resonated with me but also a few questions marks. If I consult a doctor and am diagnosed ADD, what will change for me. If it is my personality, am I better not to embrace my gifts\limitations? Also, I really feel that if I don’t do anything, I will not be able to be the teacher I want to be.

    Thank you for the article!

    • Elaine,
      I am the exact same. I am a student teacher and have always been a strong ENFP.
      I was researching ADHD in kids and noticed the symptoms. I believe I have some form of ADD and it has had negative affect on my life especially since moving out of home. I have no control over my work or organisation.
      Did you go to a doctor or get any advise?

  8. Hello,
    Amazingly accurate and also a fascinating link between neurobiology, behavior (adaptability mainly), introspection and the results of their interaction.
    With the risk of asking a question explained in other articles or replies of this article, I may have some questions regarding the completion of the notions presented:
    Gender & Archetype: Is it possible that the F factor is predominant in feminine ADHD patients while the T factor is in masculine ones? It is a pretty widespread theory that women present/ed a slightly higher precentage in emotional intelligence than men, although I consider this to be a bit misunderstood, believiing that they differ in density rather then intensity. Can we also consider Jung’s 4 Archetypes regarding the animus/anima in relation with the F or T and “mask”, “shadow” and self in relation to I and E (also Freud’s psychosexual theories to be considered) – the certain balance between these concepts may provide a more accurate view.
    Genetics: Since 30% of the ADHD patients present parental roots or better said genes, and we can clearly observe certain resembling feature both physical and psychological with the ADHD parent, I believe this might be also a big question mark regarding the personality. If we are to adopt both Jung’s and Freud’s views, our childhood experiences, relationship child-parent(ADHD), the triangle relationship between them and the non-ADHD parent (if it’s the case), the genes inherited from both of them, the ID (until 7-8) education received and all the aspects encapsulated by the domestic environment, wouldn’t this represent a HUGE factor in defining the personality?
    External Environment: For ADHD patients, due to their impulsiveness, non-conformism, emotional sensitivity and their “all-famous” less effective neuro dopaminergic system (prefrontal cortex issue), isn’t it a 2 way street when it comes to the individual and the groups or the other individuals representing his social environment? I mean, from different articles, we are seeing a common trait of “not-fitting-in”, which is in a constant possibly trauma-development regarding the Introverted and Extroverted behavior. To simplify it, it kind of matters a lot the people surrounding the individual, especially in childhood(school) and the long term personality deveelopment. In all my reading until now I have seen only positive examples of famous ADHDers, with the subnote that there are many negatives in prisons. Honestly I doubt that’s the end of it, if we are taking a look at the history’s super-villain list, we would probably find few who would match the minds of Albert Einstein, Darwin, Da Vinci etc.
    As for other question types on this topic: Wealth/Poverty, level of ambition, strong personal/emotional experiences, strenght of social bonds, IQ, physical aspect, political regime, family consistency gender/age/number ratio based.
    In conclusion, although ADHDers are identified within the rarest 3-4 personalities characterized by their disorder characteristics, is it possible to accurately pinpoint the exact type for each individual or isn’t it a very very gray area with the potential of changing with powerful experiences or new views over the world?
    Thank you

  9. Thanks for this. I am a therapist, INFP, though possibly ENFP (hard to determine as my Ne and Fi functions are both extremely strong and I use them often and INFP being Fi Ne and ENFP being NeFi, it can be hard to tell at times). I was telling my clinical supervisor just today about my ADD and how I think it may actually be something that is natural to some MBTI types, especially those with very strong Ne (Extraverted Intuition). Then I found your article. I think you nail it! Oh and I have this thing where I am always trying to ‘streamline’, clear out my wardrobe, narrow down (it’s hard lol!) and can even be a bit OCD – ish re clutter, tidiness…I realise it is me trying to create some structure and simplicity amidst all the ADD-ness. Oh and I said to my supervisor I have been working with the ADD rather than trying to change it or work against it. After all, at times it can offer moments of ‘creative genius’ 😉

    • I agree with the working with it and not trying to change it. I believe that what is called ADD, rather than a disorder it is characteristic of certain personality types. The effect it has on somebody’s life is often related to the incapatibility of their personality and the life they are living, as well as their developed coping skills and self-discipline.

  10. Explains alot about being the ENFP type..Oh mi oh my!!! This is a Great article look forward to reading the many articles you have posted!!!

  11. What a good article with a wealth of information. I was looking for something like this for my students. Will definitely share. Even as I write this I am doing several things/projects at once. :)

  12. Hi.
    I am confused. I tested twice as ISFJ and once something else (I can’t remember, but definitely Introvert) and I believe that I am also and inattentive ADDer and with a bit of hypothymia. A recipe for disaster… Or are these just labels I seek so I don’t feel so lonely?
    Always misunderstood and misunderstanding, always at the edge of society, I have never been able to get the other people’s rules. Sometimes I am slow in understanding some things (most often if they are just dry facts) and at other times I get frustrated by other people’s inability to see through things (if they are about feeling, or if I can imagine them).
    A few people have said I pay too much attention to small details in behaviour and motives of people. I am introvert but interested in others. I want to know why things and people are the way they are, I don’t want to accept them just because they are so. Is that so wrong?
    I’m sorry this comment turned to be so personal. It’s just that I also don’t think ADHD is a disorder (just like I believe autism isn’t a disorder, although I’m not sure about the extreme cases) and I thought maybe I finally belong somewhere and then I find out maybe I don’t…

    • Lilly, your comment from last year just popped up on my discussion page, but I wanted to let you know that I understand how you feel. It is belief that most of what you are talking about are is personality type mixed with reactions and coping mechanisms to your life experiences.

      I know how it is to feel different than those you are around, to feel like you are on the edge of society. I am constantly around people that are different personality types than me, mostly because of my chosen profession(chosen before I really knew myself). Now the tough part is people tend to expect people to react like them, see things like them, or have their same motives and priorities. But that’s just not the case with personality differences. So, I’ve found the easiest way to make it through is realizing our different personalities, and that not everyone is aware of differences and giving them slack for that. Then making sure I enjoy some time with those that understand me, or at least appreciate how I was created.

      God Bless.

  13. I’ve always had this theory that ADHD is not a disorder but simply a different personality type so I found your article is very interesting. I am infp and have been diagnosed as having ADHD.

    Due to the fact that the world is basically run by large corporations who place rational thinking and conformist behavior as key criteria for performance I believe it is very possible that a minority group could be seen as having something wrong with them.

    ADHD has a 75% chance of being transferred genetically from parent to child. With such high genetic transferability it could stand to reason that it could be a personality trait or set of traits rather than a disorder. ADHD people challenge the norms, question the status quo and therefore tend to rub the rest of the population up the wrong way.

    We often tend to get things or sense the underlying meaning of things before others do. When it comes to being creative I tend to be way ahead of people and they often just don’t get it. It goes over the top of their heads. When I do get the opportunity to execute my ideas though people are shocked and amazed. Then people also end up being threatened by me because I quickly figure out their hidden agendas. I have to take myself back 100 paces to operate on the level that so called ‘normal’ people do with something things like innovative and creative thinking and then other times with things like admin and rational tasks I’m 100 paces behind.

    I’ve trained myself to adapt and accept the general slower pace and people’s resistance to change but it’s difficult because I thrive on change! If I have to think about doing things the way most people do I will drive myself crazy because sometimes I just can’t understand why people continue doing things the same old way when I’m continually looking for better ways to do things.
    I tend to take charge of situations and want to address things head on while most other people tend to be upset by that because their underlying political agendas may be exposed or they are happy in their comfort zones.

    Are we just more emotional and have different thinking patterns, leadership and creative abilities that threaten others or is it really a disorder? Yes we are disorganized but that’s because our highly creative minds find the mundane routine things insanely boring! That’s no excuse though. I’ve learned to improve my rational thinking skills and my organization skills.

    I force myself to to do what must be done however I for one wouldn’t want to change my way of thinking. I’m might drive myself and other people crazy but I do believe that I can perceive beyond the surface of what the average person does and I’ve been told that in surveys too. So disorder or not… I think I will keep my ADHD:)

    • Debbie, Thanks for sharing your experience with ADHD. I can totally relate. It requires a lot of “agility” to be able to adapt yourself to your surroundings. I’m so glad that you have made peace with yourself and found your own “agile zone.” I also found mine through learning advanced thinking and emotional skills. I summarize them in the 10 Mantras of AgiliZen and think of it as learning self-leadership, self-coaching, and self-advocacy. Sounds to me like you have learned much of those skills – even if we call them different things…they are still what they are!

      Keep the faith and rock on Sister!

      p.s. I would keep the brain I have too! Though it would be soooo fascinating to able to experience what it feels like to live with a completely different brain, I wouldn’t trade mine in. : )

  14. Since the very first time I took the MBTI test, I have scored as an INFP–excepting for once when I wasn’t honest with myself on an answer. I have only met one other of my type, and we were best friends for many years. Often we sat silently in observational mode, and plans could be changed at a moment’s notice with little regard for the effect on others. Perfect friendship bliss.

    I was reflecting the other day on this, and how I’ve changed since beginning a regiment of stimulants to combat a lifelong issue with ADD (there’s no hyperness about me, unless I get excited about educating someone on a subject in which I am well versed).

    I realized suddenly that I never had ADD issues in like-minded company, only harmony. I then realized I am surrounded by ExxJ types (parents, friends, coworkers, etc.), and tried thinking of what my world looked like from their perspective. Chaos was the conclusion.

    I’ve also been reflecting on personality types quite a bit lately, since I’ve been looking for the correct paring for my own, since I just parted ways with a spouse who was an ESTJ (same as one of my parents). And I’ve felt the creeping itch of a new career direction, and have been paying close attention to various sites for suggestions for the two problems.

    The solution to the career issue–which, I’m almost thirty-nine and still tell people that I’m still “touring” university classes to figure out what I want to be when I grow up–presented itself when I met a young lady with an IQ of 148 and Bi-polar One (I). As we got to know one another, I eventually learned that she needed hospitalization multiple times per year for her condition.

    Coming to the same conclusion you have in this article, I decided that I should just give in and study psychology (I’ve been resisting its call for my whole life), since I have the propensity to hyperfocus on subjects of great interest. I never got her MBTI, but am inclined to believe it was ENFJ, based on her need for reassurance and her desire for physical expressions of intimacy (both could be due, just as equally, to the disorder) and her guarded and reluctant dissemination of personal info when asked about herself.

    Next I began seeing a confirmed ENFJ (who claims she has mild–yet undiagnosed–bi-polar). The pairing is phenomenal. Very yen-yang and harmonious. This got me to thinking about whether the ENFJ and bipolar might be linked…. And suddenly it hit me…am I really ADD or is all of this just a byproduct of being an INFP?

    I began comparing the characteristics of both in my mind and found them all too similar, just as you have. When I searched to see if any studies were out there on the subject, Google led me to this article. Your input on the matter is greatly appreciated.

    • It’s a chicken & egg question. Personality theory and medical diagnoses come from two different schools of thought. Personally, I’d be fascinated to see if someone has ever done studies of astrological charts in relation to Myers-Briggs OR ADHD. In some ways astrology is no more esoteric in its essence than psychology or medicine, and it does unite the mechanical universe to the perceived one.

      • Interesting Kristen. In case you are thinking about doing that, I’m a Libra on the cusp of Virgo 9-27-59. I’ve had my chart read on multiple occasions and though it did seem accurate, it was accurate in a very general kind of way. Not nearly as precise as MBTI in actually describing my personality traits. But still, it would be an interesting study!

      • Don’t think I’m the one to do that study but I sure can’t wait to read it when someone does!!!!

        Meanwhile maybe a little poll here… I’ve got a lot of Virgo in my chart, too…

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience with exploring personality. Indeed, INFP is rare. Yet, believe it or not, at least half of my clients have been INFP. My clients have many unusual traits in common besides ADHD.

      One thing for sure I’ve learned is that you cannot make any assumptions about people just because they have been diagnosed ADHD. That is only small part really of the whole person.

      I find that people who learn to manage it best, have a great aptitude for being able to observe themselves. When they learn how to train their own inner observer to be more objective, less judgmental, and more encouraging, I find that is the core skill that sets off very rapid healing and from their they can learn to design their lives to fit themselves as they are now and trust that in doing so, they will grow.

      From there, it’s all about trusting the process of growth, and learning to design systems etc. that you KNOW will need to change as you change.

      The trick is to design solutions knowing they will change. this is the ultimate in self-acceptance. And as you mentioned, when you are in an accepting environment, you tend to flourish. Same is true when your own INTERNAL environment is accepting of you. : )

  15. Nice article. I’d already made that connection, but it was good to see someone put it down like that.

    I’m INTP and, gulp, small firm CPA. Having the aptitude for something does not mean you have the disposition for it. I had to seek counseling when I started having sleep problems and just could no longer try to “conform”. Personality test really explained it all. Yes, chose the wrong profession. Fortunate I am now in a smaller environment that allows for me to work more in my own way to the extent possible, but still tough when it just comes down the to routine tasks that need to be done. But dropping the linear thought process at the end of the day and writing novels, exploring interesting history, and learning about things that grab my interest help me recharge. Hoping for publishing and gradual move out of routine job.

    It’s weird how society tries to assume people are sick, just because they are wired a little different.

    Again, thanks for the article Ariane!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience! It is such a weird story of how our culture has become the way it is. It seems like we lost so much of the wisdom of the ages.

      So many cultures throughout history were more accepting of differences, but then again, many were even worse than us – in some cultures people like us have been locked up, tortured, and so on. Sadly, roughly 80% of our ridiculously large prison population is “neurodiverse” and also well above average intelligence. (Much of this due to mandatory sentencing for drug related crimes, but I digress.)

      The good news is that thanks to the internet and to people becoming more open about their challenges, we are discovering that what we thought was normal really isn’t all that common.

      It’s fascinating to me how many people do NOT want to be thought of as normal. THAT is the new normal! Thanks again for writing.

  16. i found the following paragraph intriguing as i rely heavily on organisation systems to keep me on task, but they are tedious and i’ve never heard of viewing them as a creative process that can be linked to our natural reward systems. is there anywhere you could suggest where i could read more about this?

    thank you :0)

    ‘Over and over I’ve found that even people who have anxiety, panic attacks and phobias about organizing can learn to organize once they understand their personality type and the sources of their indecision and organizing difficulties. When they realize organizing is composed of skills that can be learned and that can become linked to their natural values and intrinsic reward mechanisms, they begin to flourish.

    When they begin to see how creative and intriguing the organizing process can be, and let go of the idea that organizing requires tedious routines, they begin to see a a whole new world of possibilities in the fact that organizing is a custom design process. With iterative practice and encouraging feedback they eventually teach themselves to become “naturally” attracted to the organizing process – in a way that is compatible with their natural personality type.’

    • Hi Andy,

      I wish I could refer you to other sources but to my knowledge I am the only one who teaches people how to heal chronic disorganization by discovering and linking up with one’s own unique intrinsic reward system. It requires cultivating the habits of radical self-acceptance, “self-acknowledgement” and self-teaching. I cover this in many of my classes and allude to it in many of my writings. I would suggest checking out the free audios and videos on my presentations page as well. Particularly see the audio of: “Motivating Yourself to get Organized” and “Organizing Your Space. Organizing to Energize Yourself.”

      Thanks for letting me know you are interested in this topic. I will keep that topic in mind for future articles!

  17. Pingback: [ENTP] ADHD anyone? - Page 4

  18. i am INTP… tested that way always for over 20 years…. i also have ADHD, diagnosed through brain mapping ….
    i produce almost no natural dopamine… so it is not a label but a medically tested and diagnosed condition…
    i would suggest to anyone who decides they can ignore a possible ADHD diagnosis to get tested properly not just the scaling tests but actual brain mapping….
    I am both,,, INTP and severe ADHD ..and female to boot…….
    it is not necessarily a one or the other answer.

    • So true, with ADHD it’s never that simple. Regardless of what we call the challenges, the truth is that medication is sometimes needed to be able to function in the unnatural world we live in. Whether that medication is prescribed or not, most people are using something to help them get through the day. Why not teach people how to use it wisely and customize it to their situation?

      Labels have their uses, I don’t mean to say we should get rid of them, rather keep striving to be more precise, less judgmental, and seek to be helpful in the way we use them.

    • See, that is a question that I have not had answered. Does one personality type produce hormones at a different level than another? It’s the chicken and the egg.

      • Definitely another chicken / egg thing. I do know we produce different levels of neurotransmitters. If forced to hazard a guess, I’d say that yes. Different personality types are correlated with (not caused by) variances in biochemicals in general. I think our variations in need for rest, sleep, and in food sensitivities are connected somehow too. And of course the genes. Just to really complicate things, add epigenetics into the mix. Then just clear your mind. Some questions are not answerable with short answers, if at all. Ultimately it always come back to this. What do I need now? What could I do with what I have to meet those needs today? That said, I’m off to make dinner!

  19. Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you! What a great article. I’m an xNxP, too… and in midlife, drowning in unfinished projects I LOOOOOVE, exploring ADD. That last list of solutions blew me away. Going back now to click all your links. And (if I get around to it) I will spread the gospel on my blogs. We may be a minority but there are still million of us!

  20. Wow… Great read. These past couple of days I was getting worried thinking that I was crazy because of how my mind is constantly running new thoughts and how I am unable to focus on small things because I’m too busy thinking about the bigger picture… But now I feel that this isn’t a disorder. This is what makes me who I am, and I need to learn to embrace it. I don’t want a simple, 9-5 life. I want to feel the world around me and conjure up ridiculous ideas and thoughts along the way. I want to live life to the absolute fullest with no restrictions. Although I am aware of things that I have to control because of my creative mind, like my laziness and tendency to get lost in my thoughts almost constantly. Once I find a nice balance between the two, I know I will achieve absolute happiness; because that’s the goal of life.

  21. I test intp/entp/infp. I have been messy and disorganized for as long as I can remember. My parents were cluttery too and not too strict about my organizational skills. I’m just super impatient with organizing. The thought of having to put something in its proper place makes me so tired (the bathroom is one exception where I keep things clean). Weird right? I wish I didn’t have this propensity. I often wish I was born with a more common personality type because I feel that my clutter is a reflection of my internal state…or at least that is what society tends to say.
    I work in an office full of neat freak “doer” types who love to plan and execute. I fit in enough because I have a charm but I am in no way a traditional office drone type. I’m having an especially hard time with time management and its affecting my work so I’m trying to research the psychological root of it to fix it. Working in this environment is annoying because I’m female and my observation is you need to fit a pretty specific mold to get ahead in this company. That mold is to be an xSxJ type.

    I was “diagnosed” with ADD. I think its partially my personality and partially lack of self control. I work fine in environments that strike my interest. Anything else, however, I become pretty impatient. Everything becomes too much effort for what I think is a minimal outcome. Maybe my reward center in my brain is defective.

    I WILL say that the one time in my life where I really tried hard to stay organized, I was very successful. So I suppose in this day of age, being a methodical thinker is the natural advantage to get ahead.

    I will also say that you have to force yourself to make a conscious effort until it becomes habit. I really think I have potential to be all sorts of bad things that involve addiction but I’m not because I am proactive. Same can apply to organization. Plus I know I’m less stressed when everything isn’t on my floor or desk or bed.

  22. Pingback: Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: The Truth about How we Learn to Procrastinate. | Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed

  23. Pingback: How to Cultivate the Gifts of Emotional Intensity, ADHD, Creative Intensity and other Traits of Neurodiversity | Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed

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  25. Pingback: Gifted and Disorganized | Raising Smart Girls

  26. Excellent read.

    I am trying to figure out what is going on with me. Arent we all?

    The people around me wish I was more of a planner. I really try. But I just cant spend my time planning a menu for dinner in 7 weeks. Plus, I dont even know that I will be in the mood for dinner on the day we have planned.

    So Im trying to be introspective and figure out why I feel this way? And why almost no one else seems to have this problem?

    I realized that I am always involved in some kind of project. I like to go to thrift stores, find a treasure, and then rehab. I do not know if I will want to break away from whatever Im doing to have dinner with you. I might have found a really great treasure and will be more excited about the rehab than the dinner.

    So what, right? Why cant I just follow through on the dinner, and rehab tomorrow?

    But I see this junk at the thrift store, and in my mind, I see what it is going to be. And I dont stop until its done. Until its what I wanted it to be. The whole house can get trashed, laundry is on hold, no time to eat…

    And then someone criticizes me for blowing off dinner. And I show them the gorgeous refinished dresser and wonder why it isnt enough? Maybe I sell the item for $800 and I feel proud, but everyone is still upset over dinner.

    And I just think, “I’m really good at this rehab thing. And you are really good at the planning thing. I dont insult you for not being better at rehabbing.”

    It has been a long time, but last time I took the test, I was an ENFP. Maybe this explains it?

    In past jobs, Ill eagerly come up with new, more efficient ways to do things. And people rave over my new process! It was fun creating the new process, but it isnt so fun to use it everyday.

    I’m too self-depricating.

    I know Im rambling… sorry about that. Just figuring things out.

    So, I guess what Im wondering is, do I just accept that I am who I am? Or do I work to change it? And if I do change it, what happens then? More dinners?

    • Thanks so much for such a great example of the dilemmas faced by many of us who are “uncommonly” creative and “addicted to potential.” You nailed it. The key here is compromise and designing your commitments. also, designing your exit strategy so as not to disappoint people. Finesse is the key here…not trying to change yourself. Think of it as tweaking your behaviors and commitments so that you can be yourself, but ALSO not “blow people off.”

      • I think it’s the ‘F’ factor in ENFP. (Bet you’re a very strong ‘F’), because you mention what you’re feeling like in the moment being the strongest motivator.

        You have probably tried more “T” – thinking, but can’t rationalize yourself out of strong feelings.

        If you use the feeling side to empathize, though, you can see how much it hurts your friends that being with them is a lower priority than a material object that has nothing better to do, and can sit around and wait while you give attention to people who care for you. Because that gorgeous dresser may bring you pleasure and money, but it will never care for you, and you can’t hurt it’s feelings.

        So even if you don’t feel like going to a planned dinner, you can make yourself do the right thing and tell yourself a story about your feelings in the future, your friends feelings, and the dresser. Maybe you can fabricate a story about the dresser’s feelings and entertain all your friends with it. And if you have to excuse yourself early at least you showed up and gave it a good effort.

        (But this is actually about YOU doing the planning, isn’t it? This is where you trade your crafty services with someone’s planning services!)

        Good luck :)

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