Recently some people have got the idea that psychological disorders are a shortcut to success, from Richard Branson’s dyslexia to Michael Burry’s Asperger’s to whatever Mark Zuckerberg has.
But there’s another way to look at the issue.
NYT’s Benedict Carey shows how becoming an executive is actually a coping strategy for someone with a severe mental issue.
For instance, Keris Myrick, a woman with schizoaffective disorder, became a CEO so that she would have control over her life:
Her overall strategy combines a heavy work schedule, regular reality checks with colleagues, sympathy from her dog and the option to bail out for a few days if needed — in luxury.
In the office, she can ask for a reality check anytime, given that most of the staff members have had their own struggles. “I’ll just say, ‘Excuse me, but is anyone hearing what I’m hearing?’ ” she said. “And if the answer is no — O.K., it’s no. Here it’s possible to do that and not worry about it.”
She travels a lot to conferences, and when she is back in California she keeps her schedule as full as possible. Her mind runs on high, and without fuel — without work — it seems to want to feed on itself. Her elbows usually tingle when that is about to happen, she said, and she will often play number games in her head. If she needs to, she will make a quick phone call.
Myrick isn’t successful because she has a psychological disorder. Rather she manages her disorder by living a successful life.
People like Myrick are changing how psychologists recommend treatment.
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