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How I fought dyslexia and started a successful life by Chris Mercer

Let me be clear about this. Growing up with dyslexia is not easy. It’s a huge struggle that never really ends, because there is no way to ‘cure’ dyslexia. It’s going to be with you your entire life. Even worse, the time that it’s the most difficult is when you have the fewest skills and abilities to deal with it – namely when you’re a kid. After all, what is school but reading and writing?

At the same time, for the 10% of the population affected by this problem, it’s not all bad news. Because growing up with dyslexia can be a source of strength. It was for me. How so? Well, to use a few clichés, the truth is that life is hard and nothing that’s worth doing comes easy. Dyslexia can help you prepare for that. Because if you can overcome a learning disability, then whatever life throws in your path is going to be easier to deal with.

Two things to remember
The first thing that you’re going to have to deal with is that you have dyslexia. A lot of the people I’ve met who have this condition struggled to admit that to themselves initially. They ignored the problem as best they could. The thing is, that’s not actually a good strategy because ignoring dyslexia does not make it go away.

Quite the opposite. You have to learn how to cope with this problem and figure out ways to make it easier to deal with. There are a lot of ways to do so, with some working better than others. To get the most of these strategies you have to try out a lot of them so that you can figure out which ones work for you.

Another important point to realize is that just because you’re dyslexic you’re not stupid. A lot of kids with dyslexia initially feel that way. I know I did. I thought that because I couldn’t read, I was an idiot. But that’s not true. Dyslexia affects people of all intelligence. The moment that you manage to disentangle those two ideas, you’ll start feeling better about yourself.

How to turn dyslexia into a strength
Dyslexia can become a strength if you treat it right. For me it helped me in two ways. The first way was that it made me a fighter – which made me much better to role with the punches and stand tall when life tried to get me down.

Another skill it taught me was to know what I can and can’t do. That’s far more vital than most people realize. How so? One way it helps you is that it makes you much better at delegating. I can do this well so I will do it. You’re better at this than me so you will do that. And as a result, together we’re more than our parts.

What it can also do is know when you need to use a tool. People who believe they can do everything don’t rely on tools. Those who know their limits do. And as tools can often make you far quicker and more capable than working without them, in the long run you’re far better off. For that reason I now use dyslexic fonts, Citatior, and Audible (audio books from Amazon) to read books.

A third way that dyslexia really helped me was it taught me to look at the world differently from how other people do. I look at the world as a dyslexic while they look at the world as normal readers and writers. That’s important if you want to come up with new solutions and new ideas that nobody else has done before. In this way it can make you far more creative – after all, that’s what creativity is, seeing the world differently and coming up with new solutions as a result.

Let Don’t give up
What you should never do is let your dyslexia rule you. I know, it’s easier said than done. Nonetheless, it’s true. We have to keep fighting and though we might have dyslexia we should never define ourselves by it. It is part of who are, not all of it.

Only by coming out on top can you turn your dyslexia into a strength. If you let it sit on top of you, rule you and control you, then for the rest of your life it will bear you down. Never let that happen. The world is too beautiful for that.

Chris Mercer is a writer, developer and founder of Citatior, a powerful academic formatting tool for the students, that creates high-end citations. Follow me on LinkedIn!