It is natural to gravitate towards activities we excel at. If you are good at throwing a ball, it would be of no surprise if you work on perfecting it or up the ante by joining, say, a baseball team. And, it is also natural for us to avoid activities we are bad at.

Yes, we repeat the mantra “practice makes perfect”; but nobody likes humiliation.

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. 

Surf, not sink

What did he do? He 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, and their first app is the Dyslexia Toolbox

It is a multi-faceted mobile app, designed to help with areas where those with dyslexia struggle: font style, color, and size; letter order; dates; and organization. 

It certainly may be worth checking out for many students and adults struggling with the day-to-day challenges of dyslexia.


Smith continues to inspire. He has given TedxYouth talks (check out “Barrier or Hurdle?”); he sees both the challenge and the opportunity that dyslexia offers him, choosing to run with his strengths, while not letting his weaknesses hold him back.


“The greatest thing about having dyslexia 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,” he was quoted as saying in a Huffington Post article

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

Create: 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 story.

Key Takeaways:

See challenges as opportunities
Be positive role models
Build up prerequisite skills a child needs
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