Wishing for dyslexia

The Rush, Stuart Bush Studio Blog
©Stuart Bush The rush 2016 oil on canvas 50 x 70 cm – SOLD
I recently read a book by Malcolm Gladwell called David and Goliath. The theme of the book highlights how we are misled about the nature of our advantages and disadvantages.  Gladwell explains that it isn’t always correct that our disadvantages preventing us being successful in life.  “We have a definition in our heads of what an advantage is — and the definition isn’t right. And what happens as a result? It means that we make mistakes. It means that we misread battles between underdogs and giants. It means that we underestimate how much freedom there can be in what looks like a disadvantage.”
 
In chapter four, Gladwell starts with the question, ‘You won’t wish dyslexia on your child, or would you?.’ Gladwell explains that when you’re dyslexic to overcome reading and writing issues, dyslexics really have to work extremely hard. That extra effort to compensate for your disadvantages develops into new advantages.  Malcolm says, “If you take away the gift of reading, you give the gift of listening.”  In my case rather than listening I developed the gift of seeing.
 
While battling with comprehension as a dyslexic, I had to concentrate extremely hard. I learnt to look harder and more deeply while fighting to understand and comprehend what I was reading.

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The usual strategy for learning to read is to be able to break down words and understand each syllable. Enabling the reader to form the words by saying the sounds. I was told by a psychologist when I completed a dyslexia test that I have learnt to memorise thousands of words whole.  For this strategy to work, I have developed an advanced visual memory to compensate for my weakness.  To me, this makes a lot of sense as I am not good with reading and spelling words I am less familiar with.
 
 
I believe that what Gladwell talked about in his book is very interesting. I think this idea broadens as Gladwell noted and is the reason why many dyslexics end up becoming artists. Through seeing and thinking thoroughly, they continue to struggle to understand the world.  Dyslexics are often resourceful individuals, and they continually look for a solution. Dyslexics develop and build an advanced visual memory, they start to notice what others ignore.  
 
This happens to me, I start to ask questions when I notice something I find interesting. I ask, has anyone else observed this?  If they have, surely they would have painted it or draw attention to it another way.  I continue looking around to see if anyone has in case I have overlooked it and missed it.  After a while, I began to trust that these things that I have noticed have probably been ignored.  
 

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Then I start the journey of processing these things of interest. Looking at them even more profoundly. I play with them in my head and in a sketchbook turning them into a variety of outcomes in order to see what works.  The hardest part is to look and see if I can turn it into successful artwork.  This is really what an artist’s role is, to think deeply about what hasn’t been noticed and draw attention to it.
 
Gladwell highlights this fact in the book, “An extraordinarily high number of entrepreneur are dyslexic about a third…There are two possible interpretations for this remarkable fact. One is that this extraordinary group of people triumphed in spite of their disability. That they are so smart and so creative, that nothing, not even a lifetime of struggling with reading could stop them. The second more intriguing possibility that they achieve in part because of the disorder.  That they learnt something in their struggle to be at an enormous advantage. Would you wish dyslexia on your child?”
 
George Bernard Shaw, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world,  The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Therefore, all progress relies on the unreasonable man.”
 

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Dyslexia isn't going to stop me

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