Shark Tank's "Mr. Wonderful" Breaks Down In Tears, Reveals Past Struggles Most Don't Know About
LifeAspire Staff 3/30/2017
Growing up, Kevin O'Leary struggled in school. It wasn't just a few poor grades or bad test scores, but a crushing feeling of failure because of one thing.
Known now as Mr. Wonderful from the hit television show Shark Tank, Kevin, 61, can look back on his trials and tribulations in the classroom as a child and see how they shaped him to be the cutting edge business guru that he is today. Kevin O'Leary may have a tough exterior on the show, but during an interview with CNN he showed a softer side while talking about his childhood.
Kevin battled dyslexia as a child, which left him frustrated and depressed. He couldn't read or keep up with classmates in schoolwork, Kevin confessed. It left him with low esteem and no confidence in himself or his abilities. His future looked bleak.
"I was dyslexic and very, very much so. It was very challenging for me. I couldn't read at an early age. I was really wondering if I was ever going to make it ... those were very tough times. I was failing. There was a lot of panic in my own family."
But Kevin's biggest fan, his mother, switched him to an "experimental class" taught by child psychologists Dr. Margie Golick and Dr. Sam Rabinovitch. That class and those two individuals helped him defeat the dyslexic challenges he'd been facing and "turn his life around," he said. They even taught Kevin to view the learning disability as a "super power."
As he grew up, Kevin was surprised to learn of many other people--particularly business leaders--with learning disabilities. Cisco's executive chairman John Chambers, JetBlue airlines founder David Neeleman and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson have been outspoken publicly about living and learning with dyslexia. Shockingly, investment mogul Charles Schwab was not given a diagnosis of dyslexia until he was 40. Even Kevin's coworkers, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John, have dyslexia.
"I meet lots of dyslexic people today and I get to encourage them. It is a super power. That's what I say to them."
In fact, Kevin said individuals with dyslexia often develop into successful business people. That's because dyslexia offers them a different perspective when examining something.
In a book he recently penned, Cold Hard Truth, Kevin said the two specialists who worked with him as a child taught him to read backward, in a mirror and upside down. He realized it might take a different approach, but he could indeed read. That alone helped him find his confidence again.
"You have to put it in your own mind that this is not an affliction that will negatively impact your future. It shouldn't in any way diminish your self-esteem or be considered something that is going to hurt your chances to be successful at work or in life. Dyslexia just doesn't do that and there's no evidence in history that it does.
It's just that it affects math and reading scores early on, and so what? That's something you can get around. Never give up and never let dyslexia hold you back. It's a gift."
Here's Kevin interview on the subject that brings him to tears.
Kevin believes that having dyslexia has allowed him to develop into an intuitive business tycoon. Do you know of other outstanding people overcoming the challenges affiliated with dyslexia?