|Strong mind, strong words can help conquer dyslexia
Starting with Spielberg
“It was like the last puzzle part in a tremendous mystery I’ve kept to myself all these years.” This is how Steven Spielberg described his dyslexia in an interview with the Web site “Friends of Quinn.”
Meeting Rick at the Drug Abuse Alternative Center
Spielberg’s comment reminds me of a gentleman I met years ago. Let’s call him “Rick.” His story is so encouraging. I do seminars at the Drug Abuse Alternative Center for the County of Sonoma. It was at the center where I met “Rick.”
Now…Rick was a scary-looking dude…very large…over six feet… tattoos everywhere, using language I had never even heard before, much less say without feeling very guilty.
“I’m really angry!”
After my first workshop, he approached me visibly shaking…attempting to keep his temper in check, looking down at me with a silent fury in his eyes, he muttered through clenched teeth “I’m really angry at you, Mr. Campbell!” (Well…that’s not what he REALLY said, but if I used his actual words, The Community Voice would never let me write for them again!)
“Err…why is that, Rick?”
“Because all of this is (!#&8!.) I’m dyslexic and learning impaired, so none of this will ever work for me. Plus, I have no idea who my father is and my mother will probably be in prison the rest of her life. And I’ve been physically abused in ways you couldn’t imagine. And then you stand there and talk about how we can ‘make our mind our mentor.’ Well, not me…I’m too damaged!”
Who has dyslexia?
I looked at him for a moment, and asked him to look at a PowerPoint slide with me. I found the slide, which listed names like Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Leonardo De Vinci and Winston Churchill, all of whom were dyslexic. It also listed Oprah Winfrey and Larry Ellison, president of Oracle and the third-richest man in America. Both Oprah and Ellison came from very destructive backgrounds.
And yet they said…
As he read the names, I told him all of these had dyslexia, or had been abused. And yet, every one must have said, “Even though I’m dyslexic and I am damaged, I can still do this…I can still do that! It may take longer…it may be harder…It may not be as good…but I can still find a way.”
“I never felt like a victim.”
In his interview, Spielberg himself said, “I learned to read two years later than my classmates, which made me subject to teasing and caused me to dread school.” It was that bullying which inspired his 1985 movie ‘The Goonies.’ I was a member of the goon squad.
Spielberg went back to college in his 50s to complete the Bachelor’s degree he abandoned in 1968 to pursue filmmaking and confessed he takes more than twice as long as most of his peers in Hollywood to read books and scripts. But he finished his interview with “I never felt like a victim.”
Your brain believes everything you tell it
I then looked at Rick and said, “You know Rick, when you say, ‘None of this will help me,’ you’re absolutely right. It won’t. But the reason it won’t is because that‘s what you’re telling yourself, and your brain believes everything you tell it.’
It was then that his eyes began to soften (thank goodness!) and he became very still. Finally, in a very quiet voice, he uttered, “You mean, Mr. Campbell, it comes down to what I tell myself about myself.”
“Yes, Rick. For the most part….it is.”
Three months later
Three months later, I was loading food into the trunk of my car at our neighborhood grocery store when Rick came bounding out of its door and blasted straight for me. “Oh my God….he’s found me. I’m gonna die!”
He picked me up and then put me down (thank goodness), and said “D’ya know what’s happened, Mr. Campbell?”
“No, Rick. What?”
“I got a night shift job here keeping track of their fruits and vegetables, and their system was ‘really bad’ (not his actual words). So I got some clipboards, fashioned some worksheets and created an inventory system that works so well, they’re thinking of automating it.” And how did all this begin in Rick’s life? It began when he chose to change what he said to himself about himself.
An application just for you
The discovery which Rick made is the basis of “Cognitive Psychology.” You see, all of us have thousands of self-images – how you see yourself as a mother, a father, a student, a teacher, a cook, etc. And do you know what forms those self-images? Your self talk – what you choose to tell yourself about yourself. That’s it.
You see, everything you are today is based on what you tell yourself about yourself today. So change what you say to yourself about yourself just as Rick did, and your brain believes you without question.
And do you know when you can begin changing that self-talk? Today…now! Isn’t that exciting?
And do you know what your brain will do? It will do everything it can to make what you say true in your life. Wow!
Steven Campbell’s videoed seminars are now on-line, five days a week. Go to anintelligentheart.com for more information.