We often view the rich and famous as distant and untouchable. People with an incomprehensible lifestyle that the average person could not begin to relate to! This disconnect may cause us to disregard one simple fact. The most successful people… are just that; people. It is important to remember that no one is immune to life’s challenges. Mental health is not an exception to this fact. Although success can seem utterly unattainable to those with mental health issues or learning disabilities, the reality is that even those we look up to may have faced similar obstacles. Several of the world’s most successful people have proven that a person’s potential is not limited by any psychological struggle or diagnoses. Here are six individuals who have triumphed in their chosen fields, proving success is attainable regardless of your mental health status.
Tommy Hilfiger is one of the world’s most successful fashion designers with a net worth of $450 million. What you may not know is that he struggles with dyslexia and has found reading and writing difficult throughout his entire life. However, this world-famous designer has actually credited his success to his dyslexia, as it allowed him to think outside the box and ultimately create a brand that was unique and distinctive for its time.
Swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all time, an accolade he earned despite his ADHD diagnoses. From a young age Phelps channelled his hyperactivity into swimming, an activity that provided him with relief from his incessant fidgeting. His educators utilised his interest in sport to aid his learning by including references to swimming during lessons where he found it difficult to focus. Phelps went on to compete in the Summer Olympics for the first time at just 15 years old, and has set many records since.
Sir Richard Branson
Founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson has accumulated a net worth of over $4.8 billion. Branson has been open about his struggles with dyslexia and has even attributed his success to his diagnosis. Despite dropping out of school at age 15, Branson went on to become one of the world’s wealthiest business magnates, with an interest in a variety of business ventures including the aviation
and communications industries and even in commercial spaceflight. Sir Richard has a strong belief that those who suffer from learning disabilities possess “the skills of the future”, and that their imaginative minds make them the perfect candidate for a flourishing career in business.
Widely known for his role as Harry Potter in the popular book series and film franchise of the same name, Daniel Radcliffe suffers from a mild form of dyspraxia. With his diagnosis, Radcliffe always found school quite challenging, and this was one of the main reasons he pursued a career in acting. Despite the aforementioned adversity, the actor went on to play the lead role in all eight of the Harry Potter films, which grossed $7.73 billion in total. Today Radcliffe continues to act, and has even branched into a career on Broadway.
Aly Raisman is a world-renowned gymnast best known as the former captain of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games. Raisman has recently opened up about her past OCD diagnosis, and admits that she still struggles with racing thoughts and catastrophic thinking. Although she has since retired from gymnastics, Raisman is now a bestselling author and uses her social media platforms to spread positivity and OCD awareness. Despite her condition, Raisman has managed to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle, and has even taken part in new activities outside of gymnastics such as tennis and golf.
Some may know Selena Gomez as playing the role of quirky teenage wizard Alex Russo in the Disney
Channel classic Wizards of Waverly Place, while others may recognise her for her renown musical prowess. Despite reaching high levels of success in both the TV and music industries, Gomez has been open about the role her mental health has played throughout her life in the spotlight. Having struggled with anxiety and depression for several years, Gomez was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She has said that understanding her diagnosis and its prevalence has significantly reduced any fears she may have had regarding the effect her condition would have on her life and career. Since being diagnosed, Gomez has continued acting, releasing music and even created her own cosmetics company, Rare Beauty. Through this business she has launched MentalHealth101, a wellness initiative which promotes and supports mental health education, and advocates for increased financial support for mental health services within the wider education system.