Reading is your lifeline to the world
One of the greatest individuals in the investment world, Warren Buffett, reads 500 pages a day of newspapers, reports and books. He has stated it is one of the overarching keys to his success. Mr Buffet is not alone, a number of the most successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople have also revealed their voracious appetite for reading, including Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.
But what if reading is a challenge for you, perhaps even since your childhood days? This week’s column is a narrative that explores the power of coping with or overcoming such disability, and where it can lead. To begin, let’s consider the unbearable lightness of being. It is:
• A state of mind.
• A guarantee of intelligence.
• A feeling of complete control.
• A successful implementation of a goal.
• You know what you have to do to accomplish the task.
• You know you can make your dreams true.
• You know you will, sooner or later, through sheer willpower, succeed.
Even, if you cannot read. However, you might doubt yourself, you might allow yourself to be defined by others: slow, dumb, angry, stupid, indifferent, lazy, incompetent — all of them offhand comments, but none the less brutal, internalised attacks on your self-esteem. None of the labels are really you. They never were.
It could be that you have an extraordinary memory. You remember every single thing. You can picture questions, answers, ideas and problem-solve in your head. But you cannot write those tremendous ideas down, nor articulate the results. Why? Because you cannot read.
You may cope with bouts of loss of self-confidence and personal self-worth or you feel alone until someone, a caring person, a professional counsellor says you have a solvable problem. To wit, what is happening to you can happen to anyone.
A child is born. They are exposed to their surroundings, to relatives, friends, strangers, culture, social structure, toys, books, visual, audio, physical and emotional stimuli. The tiny mind in that tiny body processes it all. Then, one day speech happens. The child has by exposure all ready tuned into learning to read in a general sense.
As a child, age-appropriate books with pictures are wonderful, but the words next to them look like squiggly worms. What is going on — shouldn’t the child be able to read the words like cat, dog, car, and more? The child knows what the pictures say in their head, but can’t identify which letter is which, or in what order; they just make no sense at all. Such simple words, that somehow just can’t be sorted out, and as the child moves into their school years the anxiety grows.
You cannot read. You can’t spell because you don’t know the words. You can’t write. You can’t begin to learn math. You can’t keep up.
Your sense of self struggles, even though your parents tell you that you are very, very smart.
The thing is — you are smart, but you have a learning disability that inhibits your thought processes. Sadly, individuals become so discouraged at learning hurdles they accept that they can’t learn, thereby facilitating a lifelong struggle to achieve personal success.
Reading professionals today know why learning disabilities are so challenging and have extensive training and experience in assisting individuals to achieve reading results. They want all of their clients to succeed. There are many reasons for learning disorders, none of which are included in the casual ignorant comments previously above. Learning disabilities traverse the spectrum:
• Auditory Processing Disorder.
• Language Processing Disorder.
• Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.
• Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit.
There are many celebrities who have learning disabilities. Are you surprised at any of the famous names on the following list? I’m not.
Oprah needs no introduction. Then there is Daymond John of Shark Tank; Michelle Carter, shot put Olympic champion; Sir Richard Branson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Aniston, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman, and the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.
Even more amazing, there are individuals who have managed to live their lives having never learnt to read. Over the years in my financial services practice I had several clients who owned and operated successful businesses but could not read, nor barely compute a column of figures. These were extraordinary intelligent people with a common trait: terrific analytical memories and an innate ability to judge individual character. They simply hired the best to read and calculate for them. They did admit to overcoming tremendous struggles in early years.
And then there are the rest of us, once children now adults, who automatically learnt to read through osmosis, mimicry, pictures, and self-motivation.
Reading is your lifeline to the world. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has stated often that the key to success is to “read 500 pages like this [educational tomes, not entertainment] every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
My mother, Clarine Harris, was a voracious reader. She was passionately determined that all her children follow her quest. We wore the Bermuda library out — our visits were so frequent.
She was a lifelong committed volunteer at the Reading Clinic Bermuda. She believed that everyone deserved to learn.
The Bermuda Reading Clinic, it’s executive director Dr Glen Faries, and the wonderful staff and volunteers are there for you. They are waiting for you to seek their help, and to take advantage of their commitment to helping you to read and be the very best that you can be.
You are never too young or too old to learn. You can learn to read. Call them today.
All proceeds from my Royal Gazette articles in the future are being donated to the Reading Clinic Bermuda in memory of my mother.
• The Reading Clinic. Link at https://readingclinic.bm/
• The Reading Habits of Ultra-Successful People. https://tinyurl.com/ycrjxs2r
• “The nine things famous people with learning disabilities want you to know.” People with learning disabilities don’t want your pity or even your help. They want you to know that LDs are what they have, not who they are. Link: https://tinyurl.com/ycfhj8ln
• Understood: for learning and attention issues. Dyslexia success stories. https://tinyurl.com/ybbxghbh
• Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All proceeds earned from this column go to The Reading Clinic. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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