Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dyslexia: Is It Closely Lined to Creativity?

Good news for those who can spell, the answer is no. It appears that more dyslectic people simply elect to work very committedly in the non-linguistic creative professions.

To be successful, dyslectic people actually have to work harder to overcome their linguistic challenges.

Fortunately, the best predictor of anyone's performance is not their IQ or personality, it is the amount of time one spends on a particular task.

Dyslexia is hereditary and, fortunately, one can learn to live with even severe dyslexia. A dyslectic person may not be well suited for teaching English or working as an editor in a publishing house, however, it does give them a distinct advantage in other creative professions.

Having struggled with reading and writing, the dyslectic person has failed early and often, thereby teaching them to persevere.

As Winston Churchill, another famous dyslectic and creative individual, noted: "Never give up - -never, never, never give up."

What then are the advantages, if any, of being dyslexic in overcoming challenges? The early age confrontation of apparently insurmountable challenges teaches the dyslectic person to persevere in the face of difficulty and failure.

They learn early to look at problems from multiple angles and use other skills to succeed.

Dyslectic people often colour-code information to aide their learning, using three-dimensional drawings to solve algebra problems and come up with intricate mnemotechnical cues to improve retention.

Working on small creative tricks to overcome challenges may help make them better prepared to solve problems.

It has been said that "luck is when opportunity meet preparation" and dyslectic people could thus appear to be "luckier" problem solvers.

Are people who are actually good at spelling be at a disadvantage? 
Since reading, writing and arithmetic are given a high priority in most school systems and IQ and other standardised tests favour people with linguistic skills, perfecting what one is being rewarded for can narrow one's development in other areas where there was also the possibility to excel.

One of the secrets to life is to avoid repeatedly chastising oneself over what is not done well.

A dyslectic may never become the best speller; however, a person can live happily with being mediocre in this area and simply delegate the more demanding writing tasks.

Being content with being average in one area, dyslectics are freed up to invest the over 10,000 hours required to become an expert in another area.

They can then leverage their inborn abilities and turn those abilities into a strong competitive advantage in an area in which they excel.

The Creative Economy may be the fastest growing segment of the Western World and creativity is now, more than ever, the source of this progress.

By encouraging people early on to find and grow their unique natural abilities to innovate and appreciating them for what they create, rather than for what they consume, we will have created yet another novel way of spelling success.

Credit this article to Soren Petersen


  1. Hi Ken,

    Interesting assertion that dyslexia is not linked to creativity. I don't 100% agree or disagree, but would be interested to know what data you're using to support that claim


    Patrick Wilson

  2. Thanks for your comments Patrick. Is it a post designed to stimulate discussion. I will check back on the source data for you. Ken

  3. The views published in this post belong to Soren Petersen.