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The 3 Biggest Myths About Dyslexia for Entrepreneurs

We’ve learned a lot about our brains in the last twenty years, and that’s great news for entrepreneurs. Neuroscience, psychology, and nutrition studies have taught us how to make the most of what we’ve got, cognitively speaking, and reach our full potential in business and life.

One of the most important findings came in 2007 from Julie Logan, a researcher from Cass Business School in London: nearly 35 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs have dyslexia. Logan suggested that dyslexic children grow up learning from failures, figuring out creative solutions, trusting their instincts, and knowing when to delegate tasks, all essential skills for successful entrepreneurs.

Yet despite these positive findings, there are still three big myths out there about dyslexia. And if you’re an entrepreneur, understanding why these myths are so wrong could change your life.

#1 Dyslexia is Just About Reading and Writing

Most people think about dyslexia as just a reading and writing disability—somewhere between the pages and your brain, words get turned around and meanings get confused. That’s what makes school so challenging and why so many dyslexics feel anxious about reading, spelling, and other writing tasks.

But dyslexia is about a lot more than just reading and writing. Almost 75% of my patients have other conditions—everything from allergies to ADHD—that make daily life more challenging. That’s why dyslexia is not just a learning disability; it’s a multidimensional spectrum of neurological, physical, psychological, and emotional issues. And the severity of those symptoms can vary from day-to-day or even moment-to-moment.

#2 Dyslexia only Affects Kids in School Settings

Tech entrepreneur Leana Greene wrote on HuffPost Parents about her own struggles with a learning disability and how parents can help their kids with dyslexia. What struck me most about her story is despite being such a successful entrepreneur, Greene feels a familiar “childhood panic attack and sweat” filling out a form at her doctor’s office without spellcheck.

Just because you’re done dealing with school doesn’t mean you’re done dealing with dyslexia. If you’re a dyslexic entrepreneur, chances are you’ve learned to use creativity, risk-taking, and intuition to your advantage. But you’ve also probably worked really hard to hide your dyslexia because of painful past experiences.

One of my patients, another successful entrepreneur, told me that when dyslexic people accomplish something, they don’t see themselves as accomplished as other people. The marathon of starting a business is hard enough. With the heavy weight of dyslexia on your back, it’ll take a lot more blood, sweat, and tears to cross the finish line than your competitors. And no matter how times you succeed, the dyslexia always stays.

Every person’s brain is unique, but many dyslexics are traumatized from the daily struggle—especially in their childhood—of feeling stupid, scared, ashamed, and deeply aware of being different from their peers. The repeated stress and trauma of always being in “fight or flight mode” can actually change your brain’s wiring over time, and that can keep you from reaching your maximum potential.

#3 Dyslexia is Irreversible

One of the hardest parts of dyslexia is feeling like you’re stuck with it for life. So far, at least in the USA we’ve treated dyslexia like we do ADHD, depression, or anxiety—we medicate the symptoms or find other “workarounds” to compensate.

But what if you could actually reverse your dyslexia?

Well, you can, and these three steps will help you start.

First, assess all of the ways your life has been affected by dyslexia. Not being able to explain yourself, not understanding instructions, confusing right and left, feeling misunderstood, and feeling like you have to tiptoe around problems are all dyslexia-related issues. Addressing just the reading or spelling isn’t going to solve the big picture of how dyslexia affects your life.

Second, open yourself to the idea that change is actually possible. With all the great advances in brain science technology, you don’t have to just believe change is possible—you can actually see it. Understanding that brain functions like eye tracking, auditory input glitches, and timing errors can actually be rewired and reprogrammed opens up exciting new possibilities for you and your dyslexia.

Third, look for help where the professionals use a “systems approach.” This is a fancy way of saying that many different brain and body systems contribute to dyslexia. Your brain, much like the engine of your car, needs the right fuel to run effectively and efficiently. So have someone take a look at your nutrition, brain chemistry, exercise habits, and other roadblocks (like allergies or toxins).

Don’t worry; you won’t lose your creativity.

By using these steps and overcoming these myths, you can turn your brain into an even stronger learning and decision-making tool, a supercomputer instead of a PC. And because your brain can work for you instead of against you, you’ll have energy left over to design bigger and better businesses.

Dr. Phyllis Books, neuroscientist and paradigm buster, has perfected a fast track way of dissolving the obstacles around dyslexia, while enhancing creativity and productivity for entrepreneurs. Call her at 512 331-0668 to schedule a consultation to see if you might be a candidate for her Dyslexia Reversal Intensive.

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