If you’re dyslexic you have a superpower. That sounds so patronising doesn’t it? Like someone is just trying to make you feel better about what many consider a negative quality. So here’s the positive. Here’s your superpower if you’re dyslexic:
10% of the population have dyslexia
20% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia
40% of UK millionaires have dyslexia
Right Brain Problem Solvers
Dyslexics tend to have dominant right brain activity. That’s the side that’s busy with big-picture thinking, patterns and simply seeing things differently. In the business world, particularly when you’re an entrepreneur, that can indeed make the difference.
They tell you that if you are dyslexic then you’re going to struggle, certainly at school and probably after. What they didn't tell you is that you're more likely to succeed in the long run.
I am mildly dyslexic. I struggled at school and was frequently told that I could do better.
But I was lucky – at the age of 14 I found the tools and techniques that suited me to pass exams. Nothing special, simply memorising all the information that I needed using mnemonics. And working very long hours. And a desire to get the very best results in my school.
Graham once had to interview a man called Dave Richards. At the time he said:
‘I’m very dyslexic. At school I always underperformed, always the one told you could have done better. I suppose that in itself was a driving force, to find something you could prove to people you were good at.’
The interview at his second home right on an idyllic bay by the sea in Cornwall. In the drive was his new Aston Martin. His boat was on the water out the front, his helicopter in the field behind. At that point he was Chairman of the famous motorsport engineering company he’d founded – Prodrive. Oh, and he was, at the same time, Chairman of Aston Martin.
He made something positive out of his dyslexia. He couldn’t read long reports and couldn’t sit through endless PowerPoint presentations. So he ensured that no document that came to him was more than one page long or at least had a one-page summary on the front.
It must have killed some of his managers, but it is a very successful discipline.
For me, I ended up leaving school a year early to go to University where I achieved two undergraduate degrees at the same time and have three (and counting) books published on Amazon. I still find writing and reading very tiring, but it’s become an asset because I accepted that I was different to most people and used that to my advantage. And I haven’t even started on all of other advantages that dyslexia has given me in business.
Win The Race
Dyslexia may be an issue at school, it may mean you leave school somewhere at the back. But life is a long race. And dyslexics have a track record of catching up and powering past their fellows. They’re often the winners.
Written in partnership with Graham Scott - an award author, publisher and staff writer who has been writing professionally for four decades.
Dyslexic executives see the world and its connections very differently from their colleagues – a rare and special advantage.