Theo Paphitis is considered one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs, thanks to having helped revive several brands. The magnate has said however, that he may not have reached the level of success he's now attained, if it wasn't for a learning difficulty he's had since he was young.
Speaking to BBC radio 5 live's "Wake Up to Money" show, the serial businessman revealed that in spite of how painful it was, "dyslexia was an advantage" for him as it drove Paphitis to always look for an answer to any given issue.
"If I hadn't have had dyslexia, I'm pretty certain I wouldn't be here today, because I wouldn't have gone down the path I went down," the entrepreneur told the BBC.
With dyslexia estimated to affect at least one in 10 people, according to Dyslexia International, a person with the learning difficulty can often face challenges concerning spelling, writing and reading. Paphitis is just one of many leaders who have spoken about their dyslexia, with Richard Branson, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley all having recently commented on how it affects their livelihoods.
A report published by EY and charity Made by Dyslexia this month indicates, however, that dyslexic individuals "hold a unique set of skills " that are crucial to the future workforce. Such talents include creativity, complex problem solving, and cognitive flexibility, which are seen as "increasingly valuable" to a labor force that's becoming ever more advanced and digitized.
For Paphitis, he credits his desire to problem solve as an ability that's helped drive him in business.
"Even as an 11-year old, I can remember quite clearly, learning to get round the things I had to do and finding another solution. Whatever it was, I had to find another solution," he said.
"So, it really gave me that confidence to be able to tackle anything in business — but not from an arrogant point of view or a false confidence. But a confidence of 'How hard can it be?'" The entrepreneur added that his method was to "look at the problem, break it down, (and) find a solution to it."
During his career, Paphitis has restored several retailers and in 2015, he launched the Theo Paphitis Retail Group, which includes popular U.K. brands, Robert Dyas, Boux Avenue and Ryman. Annually, this combined group serves more than 28 million customers, and has over 350 stores, according to the group's website.
Paphitis is also recognized for having starred in the U.K. version of "Dragons' Den," a reality TV show which sees entrepreneurs showcase their business idea to a panel of investors. Both the U.K. show and "Shark Tank" are based on the format that originated out of Japan.
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