Dyslexia, A Noun, a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but do not affect general intelligence. Disorder Noun an illness that disrupts normal physical or mental functions. Normal Noun conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. Therefore I am not normal? I have difficulties? I have a disorder? But what about the benefits that I receive from my same diagnosis that are not listed in how my disorder is defined? What about my advantages as a out of the box thinker? What about my enhanced comprehension via listening? My ability to visualize things and to grasp concepts quickly? Or creativity? Why does having a defect of the DCDC2 gene mean that I will be defined as having a disorder when instead it could be a superpower? For a lot of us when handed a challenge our first instinct is often to look at the negatives. I definitely do a lot of the time. But what if we turned that around and thought hey what can I get out of this? How will beating this challenge actually be awesome?
For a long time, I really struggled with the idea of having a mental “disorder” as some would call it. It was really hard to be put in this box of being dyslexic and having something wrong with me and I couldn’t see that there was anything wrong with me at all. One of the hardest things was overcoming the stereotypes I was labelled with, the idea that I wasn’t as smart or as good as the other student let alone the fact that I had reports saying that I was reading at the age of a 9-year-old at 14. It was always a challenge but looking back on that now without that challenge I would not be the same person I am today.
I know you are probably sitting there thinking “hold on a minute, this really doesn’t sound like a superpower” well, to be honest, it really didn’t feel like one back then either. This all changed one day in year 11, we had a speaker come into class, his name was Matt Strawbridge. He stands up in front of us all and tells us about his life, the same old, same old story of struggling at school and being dyslexic. Until one day he was fed up with struggling and watching younger kids struggle he created a program called dyslexic potential. Through this, he not only helps dyslexic students to work through their struggles in school and excels to their highest potential but I think more importantly he gives them role models of people that have broken through the stereotype and overcome their struggles at school to find what they excel and find their superpower. He goes on to talk about how Albert Einstien was dyslexic and he’s regarded as one of the smartest people of all time. Or Henry Ford who founded ford motor company and developed the first industrial assembly line. When you look at just two of the amazing dyslexics out there you really have to sit back think, man that really must take some complex thinking and ideas and it did. These things were made possible because of their advantages from dyslexia, like Henry’s big picture thinking that helped him to understand the complicated prosses of engineering a car or understanding how to make the production of the car so much more efficient. Einstine used his skills in problem-solving to understand some of the most fundamental physic problems. So really without dyslexics, this world might be a very different place.
This one talk changed my perspective of my “disorder” a lot. Finally I understood that just because I wasn’t the best at somethings didn’t mean that I couldn’t do them it was just going to take a bit more effort and hard work. I realised that I needed to change my perspective and instead of looking at this “disorder” as a barrier I needed to look at as a new opportunity, something that I could grow from and be better off for. Just like Einstein and Ford I needed to find a way for this disorder to help me kick butt. I think in a lot of ways this can be applied to any barrier we face big or small because it’s so easy to get knocked down and feel defeated by things put in our way. Really its all about perspectives. If you look at a challenge and pick all of the difficulties you are going to have with it. Then 100% its going to be difficult. So instead turn it around and look at the opportunity you will get out of this challenge. The mind is a powerful thing and when put to it you really can do anything. And yeah I know this is all cliche but anything really is possible when you put your mind to it, put in the hours and the effort.
We all need to stop defining things based on the negative aspects of them and turn around and start finding the superpowers of them. Change your perspectives and look at things from a positive angle as hard as that might be. Because not often do positive things come out of being negative.
So whats your superpower going to be?