Seeing things differently
It's not always a limitation
For as long as I can remember, I have seen things differently. What I mean by this is – text, numbers, even symbols get jumbled. Most know that this issue is known as dyslexia, but after years of fighting the issue, I don’t really see it as all bad anymore.
When I was young, at some point in elementary school, I was told that I had a reading comprehension problem. I had to take special classes and I had to do different summer reading than everyone else. This was due mainly to the fact that letters and words were jumbled up for me. It started with small things – with letters being backwards or upside down. Eventually, sentences were hard to discern unless I read them numerous times. This made me fail a lot of tests, but mainly it was embarrassing. I was told that I was dyslexic but no one ever taught me the complexities of the situation.
I went most of my life denying any association with this issue. Until I realized that this limitation allows me to see things differently, not only for bad but also for the better.
Dyslexia is defined as:
a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.
I knew the definition at an early age. I remember looking it up in my home set of the Encyclopedia Britannica – yes I am that old. I was always hopeful due to the fact that it does not affect intelligence, but I was still discouraged when forced to read aloud in public. The turning point for me was when I learned that Jonny Ive has dyslexia. One of the worlds most famous designers has the same issue as me. I then started looking into other people with my issue. I soon came to realize that many successful people had or have dyslexia. Richard Branson, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, hell – even Tom Cruise!
I then started to think about what dyslexia does to my mind and why people with the likes of Einstein were able to achieve what they have. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that dyslexia gives me the ability to see and interpret things differently. Because of this I not only see words differently than most, but I see the world differently.
I credit my limitation to helping many of my skills and maybe even my intelligence. I have never been tested for IQ but I know from experience that I am the most sought out person in a room if someone is looking for an answer or a creative idea. I have always been able to retain mounds of knowledge, craft story with intricate detail, and artistically create almost anything. I know this is due to my perspective that is directly connected to my dyslexia. I have learned to really appreciate it.
Recently, its downsides have popped up too. I have been interviewing for jobs. Whenever I get to the technical interview, I fail. I know this is due to my seeing things differently than them. I blow the creativity sections out of the water, then bomb at the analytical stuff. Sucks, considering I am applying for product management. I would switch roles, but people need to see flashy portfolios and years of experience. If I just thought like them or could perform on the spot I know this would be different. It takes me a while to wrap my head around certain ideas, and I cannot do that on the spot. Unfortunately, this is how the tech space thinks hiring is to be done and they don't account for the outliers.
Generally, I appreciate my limitation, as it has allowed me to think differently than the clones around me. True, I cannot read something in public that I have not read dozens of times prior, or pass standardized tests/ interviews, but I am better for it. If you have dyslexia, don't focus on the issues you have, look towards the things it has allowed you to do. It might have done more for you than you think.
In other news, after years of use, dozens of hours building with it, and spreading praises far and wide – I am finally a Notion ambassador! This might not mean a lot for someone that does not love the product as much as I do, but this is cool. I have applied three times and finally got in. Basically, I have access to the Notion ambassador community directly now and have the ability to help the general Notion community at a higher level. I look forward to seeing what opportunities it sets in motion for me.