What Is the Secret of Success of Michael Phelps?
Michael Fred Phelps II, known as “the Baltimore Bullet,” is the most decorated Olympian of all time. His international titles and record-breaking performances made him the most successful swimmer in the history of this kind of sport. But was it easy for him to get started and stay the course to achieve success? He managed to transform his weaknesses into his assets. When Michael was in the sixth grade, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a syndrome that changes people’s lives, and it was up to him to surrender or overcome it.
“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common and well-recognized behavior disorder that affects millions of children, adolescents, and adults” (Barkley, 2015, p.51).
Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the basic characteristic symptoms that influence our behavior. This syndrome can’t be cured, but appropriate education, supervision, and support can lessen its impact on our day-to-day life.
Michael Phelps’ career is a prominent example of a successful struggle with ADHD. Going in for swimming helped him become more focused and concentrated and gave him a good outlet for uncontrollable bursts of energy inherent to children with ADHD. Michael came under the influence of his coach, Bob Bowman, who learned to deal with Michael’s difficult behavior. He encouraged Phelps to set a goal and organize his everyday life. “At the age of 11 my coach told me I could make the Olympic team in four years, so I said, ‘Okay, I want to make the Olympic team, so that’s what we’re going to do.’ And I started training for that. I went five straight years without ever missing a workout — every single day. Three hundred sixty-five days a year” (“Superstar Interview: Michael Phelps,” n.d.). Michael’s achievements helped him improve his self-esteem and overcome anxiety. Children with ADHD often move from one task to another without completing, but now Michael was rewarded for his efforts.
Michael Phelps became a goal-oriented person, and his obsession with swimming allowed him to handle his ADHD. Learning to cope with ADHD and success is in your hand!
Barkley, R. A. (Ed.). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment (4th ed.). New York, NY: the Guilford Press, 2015.
Superstar Interview: Michael Phelps. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/article/superstar-interview-michael-phelps.
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