It's natural to gravitate towards activities we excel at. If you're good at throwing a ball, you'll probably try out for a baseball team. That also means it's natural for us to avoid activities we are bad at. Sure, we might repeat the mantra “practice makes perfect," but nobody likes humiliation, right?


That's what makes 24-year-old entrepreneur, Gary Smith, fascinating. He identifies himself as being creative, a person full of great business ideas. Yet he also has dyslexia and struggles with writing business plans.

Pushing the limit

Despite his disadvantage, Smith wrote a business plan and started a business. He chose to the more difficult path, pushing past every limit his disorder offered him.


Smith started a business that would help others like him. He founded a software company called Brainbook, which created Dyslexia Toolbox, a multi-faceted mobile app designed to help with areas where those with dyslexia struggle. The app adjusts font style, color, size, letter order, dates, and general organization. It's an immensely helpful app for students and adults struggling with the day-to-day challenges of dyslexia.

Problem solving skills

Smith has given TedxYouth talks where discusses both the challenge and the opportunity that dyslexia offers him. In a Huffington Post article, he says he chooses to run with his strengths, while not letting his weaknesses hold him back.



“The greatest thing about having dyslexia," he says, "is our impeccable problem-solving skills which can be uncanny to some people. In my mind, I know exactly how to go forward and how other industries need to move and this is proven as I have been ‘project managing’ for a failing business recently to simply problem solve and get it running."

The greatest thing about having dyslexia is our impeccable problem solving skills which can be uncanny to some people.

Key Takeaways:

Gary Smith started a software company that has helped dyslexic people.
Smith used the positive skills of his dyslexia to become a success.
Smith is a great role model.

Parents have a unique challenge of teaching their children to persevere through challenges and difficulty with the confidence that perseverance actually works. To do so, they both need to build up the prerequisite skills a child needs and promote positive role models of others persevering in the face of difficulty and choosing to face the task that is difficult.


As you search for role models, include Smith's amazing story, and maybe see yourself or your child excelling even in the face of adversity.

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