Don’t let your differences discourage you!
It is estimated that over one third of entrepreneurs in the U.S. have some form of learning disability. We have prepared for you a list of successful entrepreneurs about whom you might not even know that they have learning disabilities. But before we proceed further, do you know what a learning disability really is?
What is a learning disability?
We might have heard the term learning disability many times but do we know what it really is? A learning disability is a brain condition that makes it difficult to comprehend or process complex information. People diagnosed with a learning disability are despite this condition able to learn and process information, just in a different manner. Therefore, we could rather describe this condition as a learning difference.
The Most Common Types of Learning Disabilities
- Dyslexia: Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading abilities and related language-based processing skills.
- Dyscalculia: This disability affects one’s ability to understand numbers and solve math problems.
- Dysgraphia: Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities such as spelling, handwriting, and trouble putting thoughts on paper.
- Non-Verbal Learning Difficulties: These are difficulties that are affecting one’s ability to interpret facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal cues.
- ADHD: ADHD is a disorder that can involve problems with focusing and paying attention, hyperactivity, and more.
- Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia affects the ability to move and coordinate and can affect a person’s speech.
- Asperger’s Syndrome: Asperger’s Syndrome is not necessarily a learning disability, rather a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. People with Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulties with relating to others socially, their thinking patterns and behavior can be rigid and repetitive.
Learning Disability And Success
Were you diagnosed with one of the learning disabilities? Do not panic! Embrace your difference and turn it into your strategic advantage. For example, researchers found out that there is a connection between ADHD and entrepreneurship. Are you trying to think what the possible connection might be? Let me help you here. People diagnosed with ADHD have traits that help them in overcoming obstacles and becoming successful. These traits include – but are not limited to – risk-taking, high energy, tenacity, preference to multitask, resilience and passion, and many more.
Would you like to hear more from an entrepreneur with an ADHD superpower? Then listen to this amazing talk by John Torrens:
5 Successful Entrepreneurs With Learning Disabilities
Did you know that the following entrepreneurs were diagnosed with a learning (disability) advantage?
Richard Branson – Virgin Group
One of the most successful CEOs, Richard Branson, was diagnosed with dyslexia. During his student’s years, teachers thought he is not succeeding in school because he is lazy. The truth was that no one knew Richard had a learning disability called dyslexia. Looking back at those days, Richard says that his difference taught him how to delegate tasks he was not good at. On the other hand, it helped him to focus more on the bigger picture of his business.
Max Ash – Max’is Creations
Max was a 13-year-old full-time student when he founded his business Max’is Creations. Max always loved to play with food. His passion turned into something innovative when he created The Mug with a Hoop. It is a coffee mug that has a basketball net attached to it. The special mug comes in many different versions including football, soccer, and hockey. With this unusual mug, you can shoot dry cereal into milk or marshmallows into hot chocolate, possibilities are endless. Max started to sell his inventions on Amazon and he did not forget about other young people with learning disabilities. Five percent of the profit from each of Max’s inventions goes to charities and nonprofit organizations.
Bram Cohen – BitTorrent Inc.
Superpower: Asperger’s Syndrome
Bram Cohen is the founder of BitTorrent Inc., a company that created a peer-to-peer sharing system that allows the distribution of large amounts of data across the internet. Very few people know that this famous entrepreneur has Asperger’s Syndrome. Bram has difficulties navigating social conventions but the unique way how his brain works helped him to approach problems from a very different perspective. Bram is sure that this ability helped him to be a better entrepreneur.
Daymond John – FUBU and Shark Tank
Daymond is most known as one of the savvy business executives, so-called ‘sharks’, from the TV show Shark Tank. However, fewer people might know that Daymond launched his own business, an influential clothing line called FUBU. And that all despite his learning disability. Daymond received many prestigious awards such as Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year and Crain’s Business of New York Under Forty Award. At school, Daymond would excel in maths but would be struggling with languages. Reading and spelling were unbelievably hard for him. Looking back now, Daymond encourages people with learning disabilities to excel in what they are good at and do not let the one area of weakness define their lives.
David Neeleman – JetBlue Airways
Superpower: Attention Deficit Disorder
The Founder of JetBlue, David Neeleman, had major difficulties with focusing on tests in school. It was only many years later that he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). David might have not been able to focus in school, but his passion would help him to launch one of the American airlines, called JetBlue. And his success did not stop here. David created the breakthrough electronic ticketing system, now used by many other airlines.
Reaching your dreams is always possible!
No matter what learning difficulty were you diagnosed with, believe in yourself and you can reach the stars! There are no obstacles on the way to our dreams, the only obstacle is that imaginary one in our head. Everything is possible, we just have to find a way how to do it.
Need more inspiration? Here you can find 8 young entrepreneurs to get an inspiration from in 2022!
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