This Teen Is Harnessing His ADHD Superpowers

This Teen Is Harnessing His ADHD Superpowers

Akira is a 15-year-old ADHDer from Japan who just started his own YouTube channel in the hopes of becoming an “influencer.”  Akira shares how he’s harnessing his ADHD superpowers of creativity and hyperfocus to bring his dream to life.

Akira’s website: LilBitALife.com

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega three supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online @omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today, I have a very special guest, indeed, a very, very special guest indeed. He is 15 years old. He comes from Japan, but he’s visiting the United States right now. He has the wonderful condition that I have as well called ADHD, terrible name because it’s not a deficit, it’s not a disorder. It’s a superpower, and believe me, this young man has super powers, plural. His name is Akira, and he’s kind enough to join us. We’ve become friends because of work he’s done on his own and I’ll let him tell you why and what he’s done, but it’s pretty amazing. Typical of people who have the super creativity that people with ADHD tend to have, but I don’t want to tell you, I want a Akira to tell you, but I can just say this is one extremely impressive young man, and he’s bursting onto the scene, but Akira, welcome to Distraction.

Akira M.:
Thank you for having me, Dr. Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So tell the listeners what you’ve done because it’s pretty cool.

Akira M.:
Basically, I had a dream from when I was about 12, 10, maybe even younger, to be able to share and explore with other people this kind of a influencer type of a lifestyle. While I was born in Japan, and I was raised up by a pretty wealthy family, which allowed me to have multiple-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Opportunities.

Akira M.:
Sorry?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Multiple opportunities or multiple interests.

Akira M.:
Multiple opportunities, indeed, to basically explore, and it’s very simple. It’s like putting a camera right in front of your face while you’re just living your daily life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now you use the term influencer, you’d like to be an influencer. Can you tell us what that means?

Akira M.:
It’s like showing people your daily life, but also being able to influence, share a path to other people where they can follow you,

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Show them what you’re doing with the idea that they will go and do likewise.

Akira M.:
Yes, likewise, and also be able to learn from my experiences.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
By the way, that noise you’re hearing is a rain shower that’s coming down on the skylight. So don’t think we’re suddenly having an avalanche here. It’s just a little rain, little rain drops fallen on our heads. The idea that you’ll share your personal life up close and personal with others in the idea of influencing them.

Akira M.:
Yes. I think of what I’m doing as not as a job or anything that takes hard… It does take… I’ve put a lot of effort into editing my videos, shooting content, and listening to what the viewers want, and trying to communicate with the viewers. But I think this to me is more like something I want to do, and I don’t feel like it is a job or it’s something that I should do or I want to become famous out of it. I want to make something out of it, but not to become famous or to share my lifestyle in a boasting way, but to be able to share my experiences as I said.

Akira M.:
It’s very complicated and interesting. It’s a very weird feeling when I’m sharing my content in a very different way. Since I have ADHD, I can really shout at the camera, and a lot of people tell me for what I do… A lot of people can’t talk the same way to the camera. They’re shy or that I want to express myself, and that’s what I feel what is important for me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Having watched some of these, you really do come across with tremendous energy and vigor and vitality, and it’s so genuine. You’re clearly not trying to put on a performance so much as just be sort of a heightened version of who you already are.

Akira M.:
Yes, of course. I always want to get that energy out in the ADHD world. It’s hyperactive energy-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Hyper energy is a good term. Hyper energy.

Akira M.:
I always have a lot of energy and being able to share that energy with other people and transforming it into a different way, it’s absolutely incredible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. You’re channeling it, which is always the goal in ADHD. We have a lot of energy, but now you’re channeling it into this creation that you’ve made. How many of them now, how many YouTube…?

Akira M.:
More than 10, probably, I think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the point is you’ve just started, you only started this a few weeks ago, right?

Akira M.:
Yeah. I started it about three, four weeks ago. I shot my first video for my new channel. I’ve done a couple of other things before, including being on other people’s channel. I think when I saw that video, when I was on this person named Karen Foo’s, who is an influencer in Singapore, channel, I saw that I had a lot of energy and then I realized that I can really share that energy with other people which made me have more of a reachable, realistic dream and get a bit more of a bigger idea of what I want to do personally.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So she inspired you when you saw yourself, you saw this part of you coming out, you didn’t realize you had such presence, huh?

Akira M.:
I don’t think she inspired me. I think I inspired myself to become more of myself, basically to express myself. I was maybe I can really express myself in this way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. So seeing yourself inspired yourself. That’s pretty cool. I’m sure listeners are wondering, how do we get to see Akira in action? Let me just give you the website is lilbitalife.com. I’ll spell that for you. L-I-L-B-I-T-A-L-I-F-E.com. Lilbitalife.com. On the website, you can be redirected to the YouTube channel, as well as Instagram. I love the way you described it. You said you saw yourself and you saw this energy that you had inside of you, and you wanted to find a medium where you could share that and you’re doing it, and you’ve only been doing it for three or four weeks.

Akira M.:
It’s really hard to explain this energy. Of course, I think you’re one of the people who know this energy most in this big world, or it might be small world. It depends on how you see the world, but I think you have the best idea of this energy, and for me, it was kind of a click to be in my passion type of thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s so wonderful. One of the analogies I use is, think of Niagara Falls and that’s ADD, but until you build a hydroelectric plant, it’s just a lot of noise and mist. But when you build a hydroelectric plant, then you can light up the state of New York, and I think this has been, for you, your hydroelectric plant. You can take the incredible Niagara Falls energy that you’ve got and turn it into beauty, turn it into art, turn it into a form that will influence someday millions and millions of people because you’ve done this in only a few weeks, and at age 15, and you have this tremendous power that you’re unleashing so wonderfully well, and it’s just going to grow and grow and grow. I’m so thrilled for you. I’m just going to say the website again, because I really hope listeners will go and see what I’m talking about. Lilbitalife.com. L-I-L-B-I-T-A-L-I-F-E.com, not case sensitive, lilbitalife.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. For the past three months I’ve been taking a new supplement called OmegaBrite CBD, and listeners know that brite is spelled B-R-I-T-E. So it’s Omega B-R-I- T-E CBD. As I’ve mentioned before, OmegaBrite CBD was created by my good friend, Dr. Carol Locke, graduate of Harvard Medical School, and her company OmegaBrite Wellness. They’ve been making the number one Omega three supplements for the past 20 years. Well, Carol and her team decided to break new ground and having set the standard for purity, safety and efficacy in the world of Omega threes, and they brought that same commitment to excellence, to their new CBD supplement.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I take it myself. It helps me with my reactivity, my impatience. It kind of just puts a smoother edge. In no way is it a buzz or a high, anything like that, it’s way more subtle, but it’s a very noticeable, subtle effect, and one that I’ve come to really appreciate as I take it every day. So, all right. Get OmegaBrite CBD online @omegabrightwellness.com and now Distraction listeners can save 20% on their first order by using the promo code PODCAST 2020. That’s PODCAST 2020, go to omegabritewellness.com and order OmegaBrite CBD. You’ll be glad you did. Just as I am.

Akira M.:
What else would you like to say to the listeners, Akira?

Akira M.:
One thing I’m really grateful, with ADHD, is that it allowed me to have these incredible ideas that were just life changing for me and helped me to grow in certain ways that a lot of people can’t grow in.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Say more about that.

Akira M.:
For the first part, I think ADHD really helps me because I can really be creative and think of video content, if we’re talking in the influencing world, video content. Even just in the moment, that when we’re recording, it’s just a spark that comes to me and I know what to talk about. It also helps me to hyper-focus, and when I like sit down and edit my videos, I need to send this out online by tonight, and it just helps me to hyper-focus and I just sit down and get to work, and it takes me a couple hours, but it would have taken me a couple of days if I don’t have that ADHD power within me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the deadline.

Akira M.:
Yeah, go ahead.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, and the deadline helps.

Akira M.:
Yes. The deadline really does help because it allows me to know when to do it, and so I can know what time, the timing for me to hyper-focus and really get into it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I love the way you said, there’s the spark and then, and your voice changed, you said, I know what to say. That’s the magic, you know what to say. It just comes to you and that’s what’s so wonderful about this condition when you learn how to manage it, and you’re a great example of someone who’s learning how to manage it so very, very well.

Akira M.:
I love how you said manage it. I’ve seen a lot of people with ADHD who can’t focus and you can’t sit in a classroom, and say I learned this and this today because they were so dis focused that they couldn’t understand what the teacher was saying. One kid who was sitting down, playing with his hands and couldn’t focus to what my teacher was saying. But I think why this content helps is because it’s a passion, as I said, and when I get to focus onto my passion, as I said, it’s a spark.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Then it becomes a roaring fire.

Akira M.:
A big roaring fire, for sure.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, I hope the listeners are smiling as broadly as I am, because it’s like seeing the beginning of a life of genius, and you are going to bring us all along with you, Akira.

Akira M.:
I think that this is definitely just the start for me and for me, what I believe in, my ideas are just out of the box, extraordinary, and very creative. This is not me coming. It’s not me who’s telling me all this stuff to myself. It’s other people who have told me that these ideas are creative and I have to give a shout out and a thanks to our team. I think that really helped me to focus on what I need to do, and for me because sometimes people with ADHD can’t understand certain things. I think that’s when my team really comes to help. And it’s just unlimited ideas all around, and this wasn’t just YouTube, and influencing is not just one of my biggest ideas. I’ve had a couple other big ideas, inside my mind, of course.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you want to mention them or not?

Akira M.:
Sure. This is one thing, I think it was a great idea is that back in Singapore, I started a car washing business and I think this helped me to create my content with YouTube, because this helped me learn how to advertise, promote, marketing, and also, well mainly those, but how to hyper-focus and get that work ethic going. I just washed cars, but I knew how to advertise. I knew how to market and I knew what to do, which helped me raise about $6,000 in the week and a half, two weeks. It was absolutely incredible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you’re like 12 years old doing this?

Akira M.:
Oh no, It was just a while back in this year when I was 14.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. 14. But you hadn’t gone to business school obviously. So you just figured out how to-

Akira M.:
I haven’t gone to business school, but I feel like I was always in a business school, especially because my dad was an investor and I learned a lot from him, especially investing business and how to… He wasn’t that much of a marketer, but my brother was, and he also did really help me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So your brother and your dad helped you?

Akira M.:
Yeah. To get that business work ethic and all this other stuff, that led to many different platforms and ideas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re a born entrepreneur, as most people with ADHD are, and you’ll be having ideas for the rest of your life. You mentioned at the beginning, your family was wealthy, but you also had a fair number of hardships that we don’t have to get into, but I want listeners to know you didn’t have it easy. There was money, but there wasn’t other things that kids need and you have continued to grow and develop, and you’re very resilient. You’re a brave young man, and you keep the ideas coming and now you’ve got this new thing going, it’s wonderful to see, but I respect you so much for having persevered and maintained your optimism.

Akira M.:
I just have to say, I’ve watched a couple of episodes from Distraction, and I think the listeners have to listen to what he’s saying, because ADHD is not, as he said, a curse. It’s like a super power, something else. I think a lot of people think of it as a curse, and that’s when they are misled to ideas that are not helpful, and I think they should fight for their passion which can lead them to so many great things. Because a lot of people with ADHD, I think have great logic and I just love how wonderful ways it can go. Wonderful, different ways life can take you with ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s so wonderful. The way you put it, and so glad to hear you know that at your age, 15, and help people to not buy into the deficit disorder model. Yes, it presents challenges, but it also comes with extraordinary superpowers, and like we said, once you learn to manage it as Akira is doing, then you can light up the world, be an influencer par excellence. Akira we’ve come to the end of our time. I can’t thank you enough for joining us and your team that helped you join us. I wish you could see me smiling right now. It’s a huge smile and I’m sure our listeners are smiling, too. Just to remind you to go to Akira’s website, lilbitalife.com, L-I-L-B-I-T-A-L-I-F-E.com. You can get directed there to the YouTube channel as well as to the Instagram. My friend Akira, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me on Distraction.

Akira M.:
Thank you for having me on. It’s been a pleasure of mine and fight for ADHD because it’s really worth it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It sure is. Thank you so much. Remember listeners to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We need them. We thrive on them. We love them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Email us please, @connectatdistractionpodcast.com. That’s [email protected] Our wonderful guest today, Akira, my friend, 15 years old, but boy oh boy, he is going to set the world on fire, developing the passion that his superpower, otherwise called ADHD, has given him. He’s just at the start and he’s already so far ahead. It’s a great gift you’ve shared with us. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the brilliantly talented Scott Person. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now from Distraction.

The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega three supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online @omegabritewellness.com.

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The Pandemic Is Forcing Us To Get Creative

The Pandemic Is Forcing Us To Get Creative

We’re all living in a world of “instead,” as Dr. H puts it. The most obvious one being you stay home, instead of going to school, work, etc. Over the past few months we’ve all had to improvise and adjust our plans one way or another just to navigate daily life. In this mini our host explores some of the “insteads” he’s experienced lately, and asks listeners to share their “insteads” in turn.

Please share your “insteads” with us! We will feature them in a future episode! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Episode photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today we have a mini episode in our series of mental health checks that we’re doing each week as the pandemic continues to roll along. And we all like it or not, roll with it. Today I want to describe a phenomenon that I call the world of instead. We’re all living in a world of instead. Each day we have to think up, dream up, discover, create, improvise insteads. The most obvious one being you stay at home instead of doing whatever you used to do. Go to work, go to school, go to the store, go to the movies, go to the restaurants, go to the hair salon, whatever you may have planned to do you have to do something else instead. And this is posing quite a challenge to our ingenuity and imagination. But ingenuity and imagination are qualities we Americans are famous for, as well as those of us who like me have ADHD, which is not a deficit and not a disorder but a trait. And an abundance of attention not a deficit of attention. The challenge is to control it.

In any case in my world, in my practice I’ve discovered Zoom. I barely ever used Zoom and now to see patients, I can’t see them in person. So we tend to use Zoom. And there is a special Zoom that is HIPAA compliant and so it’s secure and safe. That’s how I’m seeing patients instead. Some of them prefer the telephone or FaceTime, but most of them I see on Zoom and that’s my instead. It turns out there is something called Zoom fatigue. There’s something about that medium that is more tiring than in person conversations and so I’m learning how to deal with that. But then there are all the other insteads. Where do you eat instead of a restaurant? How do you get your food instead of shopping regularly as you used to? Do you order in? Do you have deliveries? And how do you get your mail? Well that still seems to be delivered.

How do you get your exercise? My wife who was an absolute gym rat can’t go to the gym. So she’s built the gym in our living room and she runs around the living room and is doing burpees and jumping jacks and squats every other day from our living room. So instead of the gym she has our living room. Maybe the most challenging instead is the question of employment. And if you don’t have an obvious instead, it’s pretty dismal for those people who can’t work and don’t have a skill that they know how to market in order to generate income. That’s pretty oppressive. And my only solution that I can offer is not to worry alone, to talk to other people, to brainstorm. Don’t hunker down in isolation. Try to reach out to other people. You don’t know what you’re reaching out for other than a connection.

And in that crucible of connection new ideas will spark. Guaranteed new ideas will spark. And you may find as a photographer client of mine found another way of generating business, it is in using your imagination that you will find a vast array of insteads. Necessity is the mother of invention. And we’re all up against it now. Necessity is asking us to really create some useful insteads. And that’s the silver lining. I know it’s sort of Pollyannaish to talk about silver linings in this difficult time. But I think that is a genuine silver lining that we are of necessity. Being asked to dig deep with our excavation tool called imagination. And the beauty of imagination is you never know what you’re going to find. It’s like Forrest Gump said about the box of chocolates, “You never know what you’re going to get when you stick your finger into one of them.”

So stick your fingers into your imaginations. Stick your fingers into that box of chocolates and see what you can come up with. See what insteads you can come up with. We’d love to hear your roster of insteads and we will absolutely devote a show to reading them and talking to you about them. So if you have some insteads send them along. Email us at [email protected]. It’ll be a wonderful show if we can collect a bunch of your favorite insteads. What do you do today instead? Well, that’s it for me for now. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the inestimable wonderful Pat Keogh. And our producer is the brilliant, delightful and extremely imaginative Sarah Guertin.

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Unlock Your Potential By Finding a Creative Outlet

Unlock Your Potential By Finding a Creative Outlet

Overscheduled lives can be especially stressful for those with ADHD. That’s why carving out time to be creative is extra important for neurodiverse brains. In this mini, Dr. H responds to a question from a mom about her son’s busy schedule and whether or not it is inhibiting his happiness and growth.

Do you have a question for Dr. Hallowell? Write an email, or record a voice memo on your phone with your question and send it to [email protected]

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Learn about our sponsor, Landmark College, HERE.

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Boost Brainpower By Blending Creativity and Difficulty

Boost Brainpower By Blending Creativity and Difficulty

Finding a creative outlet with the right amount of difficulty is a key component for success and happiness in life. This week, Dr. H speaks with Will Quie, a sophomore at Oberlin College in Ohio who also happens to be a phenomenal guitar player and fellow ADHDer. They talk about the importance of creativity and finding the “right level of difficult” to engage your brain, as well as the regular adjustments Will makes to give his neurodivergent brain what it needs. 

Hear more about Will and his experience from his mom’s perspective in an episode we aired a few weeks ago: Surviving the Brilliance and Blues of ADHD.

Got a question or comment? Record it using the voice memo app, or write an email and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is a production of Sounds Great Media. This episode was produced by Sarah Guertin @sarahguertin, and recorded and mixed by Pat Keogh. 

This episode is sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Support Distraction by clicking HERE to learn more about the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Check out this episode!

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