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Are Dyslexia and Wealth Linked? Study Finds Individuals with Dyslexia More Likely to Be Millionaires

A study by the Tulip Financial Group found that self-made millionaires are more likely to be dyslexic. A significant majority of the 5,000 self-made millionaires in Britain reportedly struggled in school. The results come from a study commissioned by the British Broadcasting Company 2 (BBC2) for its series The Mind of A Millionaire.

In an attempt to learn more about the minds of millionaires, a team of psychologists and business experts, spent a day testing a group of entrepreneurial millionaires. They were put through a series of tests.

40% of the 300 millionaires who participated in the more comprehensive study had been diagnosed with dyslexia. Adrian Atkinson, a business psychologist who worked with the research group, noted that “Most people who make a million have difficult childhoods or have been frustrated in a major way. Dyslexia is one of the driving forces behind that.” (The Sunday Times, October 5, 2003).

Ali Bazley, of the British Dyslexia Association suggests that dyslexics who struggle make up for it by being more creative, and looking at the bigger picture. “People with dyslexia, are often very good lateral and strategic thinkers.” (Express & Echo, Exeter, October 8, 2003.)

Another reason individuals with dyslexia may do well is the fact that due to their academic struggles they often find themselves outside of the mainstream social groups in school. Feeling alone, they compensate by spending time exploring ideas, learning new strategies, and working to find a model of success.

Sir Richard Branson, a billionaire and the head of Virgin Industries, made his first million by the age of 18. He is dyslexic. Walt Disney, and Donald Winkler, former CEO of Ford Credit, are other very successful people with learning disabilities.

What else did the study find about millionaires? Millionaires know that mistakes are OK. They know speed is the key to business advantage and they work within their strengths. Rene Caraylol, a business adviser and another member of the research team stated “They don’t do failure, they redefine it. Failure for them is a learning experience that will enable them to be even better. If they fall over, they just come straight back up again. I have never met such a bunch of optimistic people. Everything is an opportunity, the glass isn’t half full, it’s spilling over.” (Sunday Times, 10/5/03)

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