In this episode I got to speak with a world known speaker on ADHD Kevin J Roberts, He’s an author, speaker, trainer and an expert on ADHD as well as a pioneer in treatment of Cyber Addiction.

We go into some of the details on Kevin’s book on Oscar Schindler in his latest book Schindler’s Gift, How One Man Harnessed ADHD to Change the World.

Kevin can be reached via his website: where you can learn about his many books, coaching and other amazing resources.

#author #trainer #speaker #hobbyist


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E202 - Kevin J. Roberts
Junaid Ahmed 0:00
This episode of hacks and hobbies, I got to speak with Kevin Roberts, author trainer, expert in ADHD pioneer in treatment of cyber addiction. And the author for the book, Schindler's gift, how one man harnessed ADHD, to change the world for the book came out on October 16, 2018, he's been interviewed on screen addiction by BBC Radio, and ABC. He's been a keynote speaker at many conferences and, and the speaker all over the world talking about ADHD. Without further ado, have a listen to our conversation. Kevin Jay Roberts. With so much content whizzing around out there, there's only one storytelling platform that helps you keep calm and stay informed and inspired

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Welcome to a new episode of hacks and hobbies. With your host. Junaid.
Kevin is so nice to meet you.

Kevin J. Roberts 1:55
Yeah, it's nice to meet you as well. I'm sorry, it took me so long here. I don't know. Apologies. This is quite a it's been quite a disruption. Luckily, a lot of my most important data was saved. So Oh, perfect. That's very important

Junaid Ahmed 2:12
data. I mean, we collect data over time, and definitely important that, you know, we have backups, and we get back to them. Because God knows all the time you spend in creating. So let me tell you a little bit about my podcast. It's, it's hacks and hobbies. And I talked about my different hobbies. And

I started earlier this year talking about my beekeeping, and I have cycling, hobbies, and many hobbies. So we just talked about these hobbies. And lately, I've been talking to other hobbyist, other professionals, other entrepreneurs and other folks, professional folks like myself, and I figured you know, what better what better way to to talk to them and get to know them, then to bring them bringing them on onto a podcast that way, you know, we have a place where we can go back to like, oh, what did I talk to Kevin about, and it's a great way to like memorialize, and I was looking at your LinkedIn profile. And I was like, wow, this guy's awesome. You know, ADHD, I feel like that I might have ADHD or, you know, some sort of, never been diagnosed. So it would be really, you know, great to actually know it from the expert in, you know, get to know what it's all about, what

Kevin J. Roberts 3:41
I'm happy to provide any insight that I can, that's what I do for a living. So

Junaid Ahmed 3:47
let's get right into it. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I mean, you have a massive following on LinkedIn. I look through some of the videos and some of the things that you've been doing in the past for the past many, many years, though, walk us through a little bit about, you know, how you got into it?

Kevin J. Roberts 4:05
Well, I got involved in ADHD because I found out in my mid 20s that I had ADHD, I was working at a school for gifted children. And I developed sort of a pension for working with gifted children who had different learning issues. And I, I noticed that a lot of the children that were being sent to me in my role as a counselor were children that ended up having ADHD. And at that point in the mid 90s, I really didn't know much about it. But after four years, I decided to leave teaching. I didn't really know what I was going to do with my life. And people start, but people started calling me and they would say things like, you know, we heard you turn this kid around, and you help this kid Can you do that for my child. And so that began a career of ADHD coaching, working with young people that have this condition. It's a, you know, a lot of us are creative, a lot of us are imaginative, but with those skills, we have some challenges and some liabilities, whether it be organization planning, time management, persistence, or simply handling the details of life.

Junaid Ahmed 5:17
I mean, listening to just what you just explained that I'm like, wow, I have a lot of those issues myself. So going on your own. And then so you started going back and helping these additional people, or you just started going to schools and talking about it to get information or helping other others.

Kevin J. Roberts 5:39
Well, I started helping the school children. And then from there, I moved into working with people in college. And now I have somebody in medical school, somebody who's working on a PhD, I have two firefighters. Yeah, so my mission is to help people that do suffer from ADHD, overcome those challenges along with finding their true talent, their mission. And so I've written a number of books on this topic. Okay. The theme of my books, basically, is, you know, if ADHD people can configure their lives with the right set of supports and circumstances A can be magically successful, and do things that can change the world for the better.

Junaid Ahmed 6:25
Wow, no, that's, that's absolutely amazing. So what are some of these books because I will definitely benefit from these books. Because I believe I have some of these issues myself, although, you know, I, I bring myself to focus on loaded things loaded this time that I'm working on. And yeah, I mean, probably one of the reasons why, why have 100 hobbies?

Kevin J. Roberts 6:49
Well, that would be consistent, you know, with somebody who had ADHD doesn't mean you have ADHD. Okay. Okay. But one of the things about ADHD is that a lot of us get excited at the beginning of a new idea at the beginning of a new project or adventure. And we often lack the persistence and that's because of the way the brain is designed. And we will persist through something you eat one of the very important Yeah, things that must be going on in your brain is you must have a supply of dopa mean that will stay in the synapses of your brain and won't be sort of vacuumed up real fast. You need a there because that's a neuro transmitter that allows our nerve impulses to efficiently transmit well. And people with ADHD. We get those, we get the number, the requisite amount of dope. I mean, when something is new, when something is exciting, but when something becomes boring, routine, repetitive, mundane old hat, yeah, brains function sub optimally. So, you know, a lot of people say, Well, you know, can't you just persist? Correct? You're just, you know, Porsche yourself? Yeah, well, you can to some extent, but what you're working against is the way your brain is constructed in without an understanding of the way your brain is constructed. A lot of people will struggle to overcome that challenge.

Junaid Ahmed 8:22
I mean, that totally makes sense because the more knowledge you have about something that you're facing, the better you are equipped to handle. But that situation if you're ignoring troubles and you know, just say, Oh, you just need to pray or you just need to, you know, do this or that that instead of diagnosing the problem and finding the proper solutions done absolutely. That that totally makes sense.

Kevin J. Roberts 8:53
So one of the examples that I use regularly and now I have a book brought out about it. Yeah, Oscar Schindler and Oskar Schindler was a man who save 1200 Jewish people during the Holocaust wow he failed even Steven Spielberg made a movie about him Schindler's List Oscar Schindler fail that just about everything he did before World War Two, everything he did after but during World War Two, this magical alchemy worked in his life. And so what I've done with it, the book that I wrote is called Schindler's gift. One man harnessed ADHD to change the world. And it's rooted in my belief, my overwhelmingly my overwhelming belief, one that I have extensively researched over a decade, then did have ADHD, he did have a lot of the challenges that ADHD people suffer with, including a mood issue. And yet, during World War Two, he had a combination of circumstances and support and a sense of mission that drove his this purpose that drove him to succeed. I had no idea, you know, but this I mean, just as just as new. I mean, I never got to see the movie Schindler's List, mainly because

Junaid Ahmed 10:11
around the time that it came out, I was in a different country. I mean, I grew up in a different country

Kevin J. Roberts 10:15
dropping Iran.

Junaid Ahmed 10:17
I actually grew up in Saudi Arabia.

Kevin J. Roberts 10:19
Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah, very interesting. Boy, what a what a, what a culture difference. It is, it is. So I want to know something interesting.

Yes? Arabia?
Absolutely. They have a high Saudi Arabia has a higher incidence of ADHD than, than most other countries. It's, yeah, in fact, I've been at conferences where I have been approached by Saudi folks who wanted me to come to Saudi Arabia and speak I've never managed to make that happen. But I had the idea has been bandied about

Junaid Ahmed 10:50
Yeah, so I grew up in Saudi from age seven to 19 and then I came to the states so you know, it feels like it was a change of you know, culturally very different countries right growing up we didn't have cinema or theater and I didn't I didn't know you know, I didn't know any different so I was like you know, I guess that's the norm but when I came here then now I see and I see the contrast different but it didn't affect me as much because even when I was here in the states you know I was surrounded by a lot of family members right so I didn't have to you know go it alone kind of thing I mean a lot of lot of times you hear these immigrant stories and they had to start over because they didn't have the support system or didn't have the you know the family structure to give them the support and you know mentorship and stuff so that's something you know I I didn't feel a lot of difference in in that coming over here but you know over time you see you see the differences like okay and I'm always looking for the bright side of things you know what the grass is greener on the other side or or basically the good good and everybody so maybe I didn't notice it I didn't pay attention to that part of life growing up over here but as I grow older you know I wrote this article like advice I would give to my 20 year old self around the time when I came here I was like you know you got to follow your passion and now now I look back at that and think about I think about that and I say you know if I had the proper mentors the proper support system that would you know be in line with what I wanted to do it's never going to be the case but maybe I would end up differently but you know I have no no regrets whatsoever

Kevin J. Roberts 13:02
well you know what so people ask me well you know Kevin if if you think that Oscar Schindler had ADHD how how on earth could he have done what he did and it gets very much Junaid to what the point that you're making? Yeah, he had several factors. First of all, he found something that roused his brain saving human lives. That's a big one. That's what turned him on. And he had the courage and the risk taking the underlying risk and risk taking nature that allowed him to feel comfortable in that setting of intensity. Yeah. And, uh, or and. And he found his mission saving human lives. But he also had a number of other factors. He had support. Oh, yeah, he had some of the finest businessmen in Krakow, who just happened to be Jewish slate, we've lost Kevin, I think he might have had some problem with his computer, he was telling me earlier, so Oscar Schindler to you know, get back. We were talking like me have that sense of mission. He had the underlying sort of impulsive and risk taking nature, which is part and parcel of ADHD risks taking Yeah, without without a person who was well who enjoy taking risks, he wouldn't have been able to save the people that he say, Wow, that's amazing. Okay. You know, to clarify, basically, you know, during the, the, the Holocaust Yeah, that the Nazis killed a lot of Jewish people, but they all would you use Jewish slave labor. Okay, so Oscar Schindler had a factory in crack out Poland. And he employed Jewish people to work in his factory. They were slave laborers, can it but most factory owners didn't really care too much about their workers.
Yeah, but you did.
And so he treated his workers humanely. And when he started to realize that when the Jewish folks were being deported, yeah, that they were actually being sent to their death. Oh, wow. So this is when in the summer of 1942, when he learned about this. This is when he began to increase his efforts to keep his workers safe. And eventually he bribed dozens and dozens if not hundreds of Nazi officials to move his factory when they were because the not the Germans were going to shut it down because the Soviets were getting too close to Poland. And instead of just letting his workers be shipped off to Auschwitz and murdered like so many millions of others Yeah,

Junaid Ahmed 15:45
he look

Kevin J. Roberts 15:46
at it is personal expense and with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of German marks he bribed Nazi officials to let him save his workers and so 1200 people we're alive at the end of the war who would most assuredly have been murdered but see in order to do that he risked his own life because anybody saving Jews could have at the very least been sent to a concentration camp yeah a master of deception he was a master manipulator and these are skills that we often see an ADHD years because when you if you're an ADHD person Junaid your school and your finger pointed and you get yelled at you learn a lot of us, me included. We learned a lie. We learned to deflect. We learned to make up stories that happened to him. But during World War Two these capacities honed in school became gifts that he used in the service of saving human lives. That is, that is just amazing. I mean, wow, I need to go see this movie. Yeah, I would I would strongly recommend. Yeah, watching the movie. It is a it is an absolute masterpiece. Yeah, and if you want to learn this, the story of the psychological makeup of Oscar Schindler, you can go to Amazon. com and put in Schindler's

Junaid Ahmed 17:08
gift and that mode ahead of you. Okay, good in my basket. I'm going to tell

Kevin J. Roberts 17:13
you some I spent about 10 years doing the research for this book. Wow. I've been to Poland a dozen times I've been to the I've been to the Czech Republic several times. And the book itself is not a dry history, but it's written in a very narrative style that I think is pretty easy to read. Okay. Oh, it's a good way to learn the Schindler saga and I certainly would recommend the movie is being rereleased on December 7 Oh really? okay and I certainly recommend going to see it in the theater much more powerful

Junaid Ahmed 17:48
no absolutely it totally makes a difference how you watch the movie and man this is this is really amazing I mean I was told about ADHD and and I just never you know paid attention to like maybe I need to take a look at that but a lot of the things that you're mentioning you know i mean i think my son might have it you know and he might have gotten it for me I don't know but I see a lot of things I mean he's getting yelled at by both of us myself and my wife and I see those deflections you know I see those things happening so

Kevin J. Roberts 18:19
well they happen automatically you know Oscar Schindler okay um. You know people who are sort of professionals in the field and you know regularly encounter ADHD yeah they when I make this case to them they'll often say well what do you know about his school years well sure Oscar Schindler hated school he lied in school Yeah, he was kicked out of school for cheating when he was 16 and that's something that a lot of ADHD people do what we often are really bored with and not engaged Yeah, by the way that school is taught in some of us will turn to cheating and Oscar Schindler was called Schindler the swim because of these tenants sees and he also because he was a risk taker, one who needed intensity to feel fully alive. He raced motorcycles with an automobile racer, and he did work for several years as a spy. Because that's a that these are very intense, even adventure is pursuits and that's what he needed to feel fully alive. No, absolutely. That is so true. So do you think hobbies help with ADHD issues? Or can they, I mean, because I'm a strong believer of having hobbies and, you know, engaging your mind in different ways then you might have imagined and so is this one way to deal with something like this, or Well, I have to have a hobby and that's one of the reasons I messaged you and wanted to talk about your show because, um, yeah, I I get bored you know, even like, you know, I I work with kids now, and young adults and adults and you know, my work is very meaningful and I hope people every day but I also get bored doing the same kinds of things. And so I have to have hobbies and you know, we're talking about my book. Yeah, I started writing as a hobby. Oh, wow.

Junaid Ahmed 20:19
And this is this is Chinglish gift yeah well yeah but I you know, that wasn't my that's not my first book but my first show was a hobby I just like oh what the heck I'll just you know I'll start writing and it turned into something else so I think that some of us hunger and long for a deeper experience of life and deeper meaning. Oh absolutely. And I think a hobby you know finding something to through wish to channel your passion it is a really important thing for those of us who might you know maybe we feel bored you know in our life maybe we don't feel challenged yeah um I think as a way to turn that situation around and I wholeheartedly support and by the way Yeah, you know, I'm when I filled out the form that you asked me to fill out to be on the show you what is one hobby I'd like to pursue, and I put like a piano but, you know, the real truth is, I don't have the time to do it right now. But I'd love to be a beekeeper. Oh my god. You know, beekeeping is so amazing and and it's it's mine common because you're sitting there watching these, these come in and go out and then you'll see that as soon as they land on the board, you see them do a little dance and then you'll see some other bees just hanging upside down and they're walking like backwards up basically telling other bees, hey, you'll go find pollen over here or you go find nectar over here. So there it's really amazing. And I got into it because my son has allergies, seasonal allergies, as well as food allergies. And we heard from one of the allergist at you know, if you have local honey at helps a lot with the seasonal allergies. Sounds like all right. Does. That was my mission. Okay, I'm going to get to that point where I can be a beekeeper. So finally, this year I pulled the trigger and took a class and learn all about them and eventually got to be keeping you know, beehives and setup so I'm hoping to harvest a lot of honey next year in spring. That's that's basically around the time where you have harvest, you know, hardening and bees. Basically they have a six week life span. The worker bees, the queen bee might live a lot longer, but they're basically collecting honey so they can survive the winter.

Kevin J. Roberts 22:45
Yeah, well, I've always found bees. Fascinating. Yeah, and I'm one of those people that bees seem to be drawn to, you know, if I'm outside with five people. Yeah, I'm the one that the bees will mature. And I just land up me. And the only time I've been stung in my life by was when I got in my car, and there have been a window open in the summer. There must have been a beyond my seat that I slammed into when I said okay, but other than that, they

Junaid Ahmed 23:14
don't sting me. Nice to just hang up. Hang around you is pretty amazing. Yeah, yeah. One One of the things that accelerated into me becoming a beekeeper was this company out in Australia developing this thing called Flow Hive. And it helps with the extraction of honey. So much easier because you don't need to. Yeah, I've heard about this. Yes, I have heard about that. You just put you put your honey jar right under the spout. And, you know, honey just flows out.

Kevin J. Roberts 23:44
Yeah, that's really wonderful. I you know, one of these days. Um, yeah, you know, when I have some more time I mean, right. Wow, I'm, you know, I'm busy with, you know, writing and then you know, doing stuff like not, you know, talking to you. Yeah, yeah. Um, I do this a lot because I want to get the word out on my books. And that's almost a full time job in and of itself. Oh, absolutely. So, um, you know, but maybe when I when I'm in my retirement years I'll I'll keep some Bs and because I do love it

Junaid Ahmed 24:20
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so the first step to get to it is to contact your local beekeepers I'm sure there's a local beekeeper club where you live there actually i i'm i'm in touch with one of the members just because you're okay was a friend of mine already Oh perfect. Yeah so and and after I started keeping I've been hearing from other folks around me like my neighbors neighbor reached out to me she's like yeah I totally want to keep bees as well and some of the some of the den leaders in the cub scouts they were in there like we absolutely want to be the beekeepers as well you know what where do we start how do we get get into it but I absolutely love talking to you I mean this ADHD in the books and the stories of Schindler it's just amazing I had you know, there's I was thinking to myself telling myself you know, the world is who way much you know way bigger than we become comfortable in it and it's necessary to reach out to people and reach out to individuals that are doing work in areas that had no idea about right and so this is this is amazing thank you so much for reaching out

Kevin J. Roberts 25:36
well it's my pleasure and you know I love to chat again absolutely you need to get to the last minute or something don't hesitate to give me a call

Junaid Ahmed 25:45
perfect I mean and I just want to say you know I really love your perspective on hobbies being helpers because and I jumped through hobbies because like you said you know when you first get into something brand new you know you you have that those those just chemicals this dope I mean just rising up in the urine in this higher state of understanding things and you just basically dig right in and and I feel a lot of that but with this podcast and Nabil have been consistent because I could talk to a lot of new people so you know that the persistence plus hobby keeping, they'll come together. So where can people reach you

Kevin J. Roberts 26:33
want to talk to me my my website is w w w dot Kevin Jay Don't forget the J. Kevin Jay Roberts. And it's not it's not Yeah, okay. And they people can contact me through my website. My direct email is Kevin at Kevin. Jay Kevin at Kevin Jay Roberts. Now perfect.

Junaid Ahmed 27:00
This was this was really awesome talking with you. And I'll definitely reach out and, you know, talk more with you. Because, I mean, I enjoyed our conversation and learning more about ADHD. And the other one more thing that I wanted to, you know, touch upon was cyber addiction. And I see a lot of that in little kids when, you know, they don't want to be in front of those screens and doors, laptops or tablets and phones. And a lot of people have seen, you know, they'll just hand over their smartphone because they don't want to their kid to, you know, be screaming and it's days it's, it all starts as a pacifier. Right. And then it becomes much more than that.

Kevin J. Roberts 27:43
Well, and, you know, one of the things that I am concerned about that relates to your focus on hobbies. Yeah, and, and, you know, I, my first two books were on cyber addiction screen addiction is that a lot of us, you know, we screen and computers and our phones, these are very easy Yeah, and convenient tools to pursue entertainment. But in the long run, they're ultimately not that fulfilling. And I'm not sure that they lead to expanding us as human beings. Absolutely. And so I strongly encourage families to pursue common interests and activities that do not involve the screen because it helps to lead to a healthier and more balanced life. And I think that what, you know, when we have families sitting at a dinner table, people using their phones, it distracts from, you know, building connection, maintaining connection, yeah, wondering our brains to be interacting and interconnected to other people. So, you know, my first book on that subject was called cyber junkie escape the gaming and internet track and then my second one is called get off that game. Now, the healthy the essential Family Guide to healthy screen behavior, you know, both of those are geared towards helping people achieve balance, you know, if you're going to have a hobby Yeah, nowadays, gosh, darn it, you know, try to do it away from the screen either have it be something that you know, get you involved interacting with other people or things to beekeeping interacting with the natural world? Oh, yeah,

Junaid Ahmed 29:18
absolutely. Because you're out there, you know, hours on end and we get phone calls like Are you done with Debbie keeping? Can you come in and help me? Yeah, absolutely. So,

Kevin J. Roberts 29:29
where can my listeners pick up this podcast?

Junaid Ahmed 29:32
Absolutely. So the podcast is available on all of the platforms Apple Google Spotify, and working on getting in on I Heart Radio as well and it's called hacks and hobbies. com or you can look up hacks and hobbies on on Facebook as well as Apple podcast and Google so it's available and most platforms

Kevin J. Roberts 29:57
are it will sounds great Junaid it's been a pleasure talking with you and I look forward to connecting again in the future. Absolutely great talking with you Kevin. Thank you so much. Thank you. Take care.

Transcribed by

Junaid Ahmed has been a user experience designer for over 15 years. As a UX professional, he uses the user-centered design philosophy to come up with solutions. Trust the system, it works!

“People say that we only live once, but I believe in living every day!”

Junaid has been interviewing people from all walks of life on his podcast Hacks and Hobbies.