When I was just a little Aspienaut, before I started working for NASA (New Autism Spectrum Awareness) I didn’t realize how lucky I was to be an Aspie. In these regular posts I’m going to explore and explain just how lucky we are to see the world the way we do. Aspieness can be a challenge, and make our lives extra difficult but the key word in this sentence is extra and this is why:
For many, it seems very hard to understand what makes us Aspies different from them but it’s actually quite simple: Most people who are not on the spectrum are very interested in (and focused on) people and relationships. On the other hand, we Aspies are focused on things. By things, I mean literally everything else. This means that we are less preoccupied by people and can see the world outside the context of people more clearly. This is why we become great scientists, writers, musicians, artists, computer experts and much more besides.
We have the extra focus and extra capacity to succeed through our ability to see things differently and not be distracted. It sounds like such a small thing but it can mean a lot. That extra can make all the difference.
When amazing Aspies like Clay Marzo, the surfer or Vernon Smith, the Nobel prize-winning economist are asked what makes them successful, they both report its the fact that the can focus for long periods on the things they are most interested in.
Be it Surfing or Mathematics it’s the extraness of their aspieness, like the extraness of yours, that means, just like you, they are extra amazing.
Don’t feel sorry for those those who are not like us, they’re amazing too. Just in a different way.
Paul C Siebenthal is a 38 year-old Aspie who was diagnosed at 25. Started blogging and tweeting last year as Aspienaut, working for NASA (New Autism Spectrum Awareness). He is passionate about creativity and helping young people on the spectrum to see just how amazing they are and how great it can be to be Wired Differently.