October is Dyslexia Awareness Month so I decided I needed to produce another blog post to help actively raise awareness. My last post, which I wrote to help people with learning difficulties who are starting college this year has been very successful thankfully and was shared by many colleges, people with an educational background and others who felt the need to contact me and give me great feedback, I would like to thank everyone for the help in spreading the word about my blog posts.
The more people who know about my blog posts the more people I can help and that was the sole reason I started this blog was to help those who need it most. I was trying to decide what topic I would cover in today’s post and then while flicking through the internet I came across 3 interesting facts which triggered an idea in my mind. The facts I stumbled across are as follows:
- 10% of the world’s population are dyslexic (that’s 1 in 10 people)
- 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic
- 41% of prisoners are dyslexic
These figures were quite shocking to discover and left me with so much information to digest. I did a bit of research on these figures and it turns out the 3 facts are in fact true and not made up. This information was backed up on several sites such as The American Dyslexia Association and The International Dyslexia Association.
Each of these facts is so astounding they each deserve a dedicated blog of their own to discuss so today I will talk about just one of these. I have decided that since its Dyslexia Awareness Month I will focus on the positives.
Behind the numbers of dyslexic entrepreneurs
I have come across hundreds of blogs before where people list dyslexic entrepreneurs in an effort to motivate others. I think these blogs are great, but there is so much potential to make the blog more personal and realistic.
If you tell a child who is suffering from all the difficulties of dyslexia that it’s ok as Albert Einstein was also dyslexic it’s not really going to make any difference to them, they still have their difficulties and may be failing exams left, right and centre and it sounds like a pointless comparison. That’s why I decided this topic could be approached in a slightly different way.
Since 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic that gives you the potential to be a highly successful individual. This fact won’t remove your difficulties and won’t make education any easier for you but it may help you focus yourself a bit more.
I have wrote several blogs previously on the different types of supports available in school and college to help you combat your difficulties and I have spoken about learning techniques and coping techniques I use to overcome my dyslexia and dyspraxia on a daily basis. It is these techniques along with your supports that will help you get through education.
But another interesting fact to bear in mind is, dyslexics often excel more than others at connecting ideas, thinking outside the box, 3D thinking and seeing the big picture and we tend to excel in areas of art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales, sports and anything where creative and unique problem solving skills along with the ability to think outside the box come into play.
Interest = easier to study
With this in mind it may be worth your while experimenting in these fields, see if any of them take your fancy or if you appear to have an undiscovered talent for any of them. If so I would advise choosing subjects in school which focus on this area and then possibly doing a degree in that area.
If you find you seem to be naturally good at science based topics and you enjoy it then choosing, physics, chemistry and/or biology as 2 or 3 of your subjects in school might be a good idea. Due to your interest in the areas it becomes slightly easier to study as you enjoy the topics. By doing this it helps you to focus yourself on areas you seem to have a natural talent for.
As a dyslexic you have the ability to solve problems others can’t as our brains work differently, we are used to receiving setbacks so if the first attempt doesn’t work we will try and try again until we find a solution to a problem.
If you’re a dyslexic who has found an area you are good at, be it engineering, art, business or science and you are getting the supports you require there is massive potential for you to join the 35% of entrepreneurs that are dyslexic and even increase this percentage.
Inventions and entrepreneurship
I know from looking at the statistics that my blog receives views from all over the world, especially the UK and USA, but since I am Irish and the majority of my readers are Irish then I’m going to use Ireland as my example.
Ireland is a small country with a population of just 4.59 million people but for such a small country with such a small percentage of the overall world’s population we have a history of success when it comes to inventions and entrepreneurship.
Coloured photography was invented by an Irish man by the name of John Joly in 1894 and he managed to change the way we look at and record the world around us. The Cure for Leprosy was discovered by an Irish man by the name of Vincent Barry.
He was researching Irelands tuberculosis problem to see if he could find a cure when he came across something he called compound B663. It was this compound which was later used to cure millions of people suffering with the horrible disease.
Believe it or not even the Submarine was invented by an Irish person. John Philip Holland of County Clare, was the first person to successfully launch a submarine back in 1881. He successfully invented a boat that would work under the water and by 1900 the U.S. Navy was formally commissioning the production of submarines.
Louis Brennan of county Mayo in Ireland was the inventor of the guided missile. This stealth torpedo was used as a costal defensive mechanism. Brennan is also credited with inventing the first helicopter however his prototype crashed and burnt in 1925.
The list of things invented by Irish people throughout history which changed the way the world operates is endless. We have a gift for being creative people. Now with all of the above in mind think about what you, as an Irish person with Dyslexia could achieve in your life time with the right support and guidance.
As Irish people we have a history of being highly successful inventors and entrepreneurs and changing how things are done, and we know that 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic so as a dyslexic Irish person there is a very strong possibility that you will one day go on to invent a world changing creation.
Now that isn’t to say non Irish dyslexics have less of a chance, in fact the 35% of entrepreneurs that are dyslexic is a global figure not an Irish statistic but you get where I’m coming from.
Money is not everything
I would urge people to work in areas that they are good at or have an interest in even if it might not be the highest paying job in the world. If you really are good at it then you could soon find a way to turn it into a profitable venture for yourself.
You may be the next Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and proven dyslexic, or Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand with an estimated net value of $5,000,000,000 and the cherry on the cake, his dyslexia affected him so badly he was told throughout education he would amount to nothing and eventually he dropped out of school but is now a household name.
How many times have you been told you would amount to nothing as someone didn’t understand your difficulties? You could be the next Steve Jobs, another genius dyslexic who has changed the face of the world and the way we communicate, he had a gift for telling us, the consumer what we wanted and we agreed making Apple one of the highest grossing technological companies.
I could continue to list dyslexic entrepreneurs until I’m blue in the face but I’m sure you get the picture.
Dyslexia is a gift….
Dyslexia and dyspraxia may be with you for the rest of your life and they may cause you considerable amounts of difficulty but they are not going to limit your achievements if you put your mind to it.
I heard someone say recently “Albert Einstein was dyslexic, could you imagine what he could have achieved if he wasn’t dyslexic so”, I felt embarrassed for this person as they had missed the point completely, Einstein didn’t achieve all he achieved despite being dyslexic, he achieved all he achieved because he was dyslexic.
Dyslexia is a gift which comes with many setbacks. You may not be able to read very fast or very well. You may struggle to spell every second word and your hand writing may be illegible. Many things may take you 10 times longer than others to do and that’s not an exhaustive list of the setbacks / difficulties caused by dyslexia but despite these there is still plenty of upsides to having dyslexia and it is these upsides that could cause you to change the world someday.
It is these upsides that could make you a highly successful inventor / entrepreneur. It is the skills you have and the way you use your brain that differs from non-dyslexics that may one day result in your name being a household name and you won’t have achieved the success despite being dyslexic.
You will have achieved the success because you are dyslexic and you can turn around to anyone who ever doubted you because you weren’t the best in school and show them that dyslexia is noting to be embarrassed of. The only thing anyone should be embarrassed of is if they at any point in your life knocked you because of your difficulties instead of offering you the support to allow you reach your full potential.
Source of motivation
Remember 35% of the world’s entrepreneurs are dyslexic and most of them struggled through education just like you are doing now. The figures above are astoundingly high and the research into how a dyslexics brain operates is there to back up the argument that the majority of the 35% achieved success because they are dyslexic.
If they didn’t think outside the box or have the ability to see the bigger picture or the capability to continue to work on a problem until a solution was discovered then they would not be successful entrepreneurs and dyslexics bare these skills.
These figures have given me a new found source of motivation and I hope you can take some pride from them too.
Dyslexia Awareness Month is about raising awareness about dyslexia and educating people about it. I hope you can read this blog and feel proud of what you have the potential to achieve as a result of your dyslexia and as a result speak up for the 10% of the world’s population and hopefully change the image of dyslexia from being a bad thing to being a good thing with setbacks.