- Fact 1: Dyslexics are better business owners.
- Fact 2: Managers are horrible business owners.
- Fact 3: Only 1 percent of corporate managers in the USA are dyslexic.
Those are the facts that are implied in this well written article from the New York Times: Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia. Although I appreciate the wonderful research that author Brent Bowers has put into the article, I’m not really surprised by the findings.
First we need to understand what dyslexia really is. It’s not a mental disorder as most people are wrongly inclined to believe. The fact is, dyslexia is more of a neurological anomaly. Anyway, this post is not to discuss the subject of dyslexia itself. If you want an overview of the topic, then check out the Wikipedia entry on dyslexia.
Getting back to the linked NYT article, there are three key weapons that dyslexics use much better than “normal” people:
- A higher willingness to delegate responsibilities
- More likely to engage in creative processes
- Preference to do rather than study
A non-dyslexic business owner is much more likely to be emotionally attached to their business. Dyslexics on the other hand, treat their businesses more like a tool. What the tool’s purpose is differs from one dyslexic to another; some use their businesses as a tool to make money, while others treat their businesses as tools to do what they enjoy doing.
Either way, they’re more likely to be successful in their businesses because they know that it will be very hard for them to get a job due to their condition. Therefore they tend to put in significantly more effort in an undertaking. The fact that dyslexics tend to work much harder and more creatively while growing up with their condition also contribute towards making them become highly driven entrepreneurs.
While almost everyone has some degree of creativity, the levels on which dyslexics operate with are significantly higher than the average person. This is not something they do by choice, but by necessity. Dyslexics know that they have problems with writing and reading. The more successful ones compensate by developing better than average oratory, visual or analytical skills. They know that there surely must be other ways to do things and thrive on finding these solutions.
For most people, the key to success is through so-called education. The fact is that most education systems in the world is significantly flawed due to the overwhelming focus on linguistic and mathematical skills. Needless to say, dyslexics aren’t really good with the writing or reading stuff.
In fact, they often prefer more hands on and practical ways of learning things. What is seen as a weakness in their school days becomes a key strength as they become entrepreneurs. Rather than perform a thousand feasibility studies and drafting countless proposals, dyslexic entrepreneurs just want to get things done! This is one skill that becomes lost as one steps up the corporate ladder from being an operative to a manager… too much time is wasted on paperwork and once it’s completed the opportunity of generating more income might be gone forever.
So if you have dyslexic children or know of people who are dyslexic, don’t be a jerk to them. Who knows, they might be billionaires in the making.