Not being an avid fan of The Apprentice, I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed the final last Sunday.
Usually, the contestants are a bunch of shiny suit, footballer tie wearing phone salesmen with zero creativity, organization or ‘business acumen’ to use a well worn expression. And this season was no exception.
Sales of buzzword bingo cards must have hit the roof as the nation sat down on a Tuesday evening and crossed off Jim’s self promotional cliches. But there was one notable exception…
Tom (Pele-something, I am writing this on the central line and can’t look it up for lack of Internet) was the eccentric, geeky, well spoken, unshaven but most importantly dyslexic winner of Lord (of the email-phone disaster) Sugar’s £250,000 investment.
Now in all probability Tom’s chair will swiftly turn back into a nail file (which I am told by an expert in the field of getting a manicure is over designed, as one should file each side of the nail toward the point) as Sweet Heart (sorry Sugar, sorry Lord Sugar) will surely want to capitalize on the existing success and get himself into cosmetics as he so passionately announced.
Having photographed previous winners in the past. I am well aware that the prize received is always a disappointment, but that is to be expected of reality TV.
The point of this post is to celebrate and congratulate Tom, not on his win, but on his superb description of how dyslexia helps him to achieve his goals.
Being dyslexic myself (nothing unusual for a photographer) I have often been uncomfortable with the tag ‘disease’. I was rubbish at school, not much better at university but have excelled in employment. To me, dyslexia is just a rearrangement of a persons skills and thought processes. Not an inability to do something, but the immense ability to think like no one else. It’s just one part of the huge diversity of human existence that in retrospect we love, but label and condescend every day.
Tom described his ability to form three-dimensional models in his head for any given challenge, rotating them in his own personal augmented reality and examining their pros and cons to find the most appropriate solution to the problem. Something that took me 25 years to realize not everyone can do.
The force feeding of information that traditional schooling promotes just serves to alienate anyone capable of working it out for themselves, there’s nothing like being told you can’t do something their way when left to your own devices you could probably prove them wrong (Ego alert!).
To sum up these ramblings I wrote on the tube. Dyslexia can be a skill in it’s self, not a disability or dunces hat, but an alternate dimensional view on knowledge and information and problem solving that I hope more “able-headed” businesses will embrace, support and exploit.
As such I will now edit the ‘skills’ section of my CV from “Adobe creative suit, Microsoft office,welding etc.” to just “Dyslexic”.