Success Essay Sample: Michael Phelps

What Is the Secret of Success of Michael Phelps?


Michael Fred Phelps II or “the Baltimore Bullet” is the most decorated Olympian of all time. His international titles and record-breaking performances made him the most successful swimmer in the history of this kind of sport. But was it easy for him to get started and stay the course to achieve success? He managed to transform his weak points into his assets. When Michael was in the sixth grade he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a syndrome that changes people’s lives and it’s up to you to surrender or overcome it.

“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common and well-recognised behaviour disorder that affects millions of children, adolescents and adults” (Barkley, 2015, p.51).

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are the basic characteristics symptoms that influence our behaviour. This syndrome can’t be cured, but appropriate education, supervision and support can lessen its impact on our day-to-day life.

Michael Phelps’ career is a prominent example of successful struggle with ADHD. Going in for swimming helped him become more focused and concentrated and gave him a good outlet for uncontrollable bursts of energy inherent to children with ADHD. Michael fell under the influence of his coach Bob Bowman who learned to deal with Michael’s difficult behaviour. He encouraged Phelps set a goal and organize his everyday life. “At the age of 11 my coach told me I could make the Olympic team in four years, so I said ”Okay, I want to make the Olympic team, so that’s what we’re going to do.” And I started training for that. I went five straight years without ever missing workout. Every single day. 365 days a year” (“Superstar Interview: Michael Phelps”, n.d.). Michael’s achievements helped him improve his self-esteem and overcome anxiety. Children with ADHD often move from one task to another without completing, but now Michael was rewarded for his efforts.

Michael Phelps became a very goal-oriented person and his obsession to swimming made away with his ADHD. Learn to cope with ADHD and success is in your hand!


Barkley, R.A. (Ed.). (2015). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment (4th ed.). New York, NY: the Guilford Press.
Superstar Interview: Michael Phelps. Retrieved from

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