William Manzanares is the author of I Can’t Read.
Growing up, my dad used to tell me, “Anyone can be president.”
I believed him—until I learned that presidents read their speeches off a teleprompter. As someone who had struggled with reading my entire life, this presented a major problem. Still, the obstacle didn’t hold me back for long. I said to myself, “The only way I can become the president is if I can give my speeches without a teleprompter.”
The Art of Public Speaking
When asked about their number-one fear, more people answer “public speaking” than anything else. My greatest fear was public reading. Reading in front of the class terrified me more than any other school activity, and I avoided public reading at all costs. As long as I didn’t have to read, everything else seemed easier in comparison, including public speaking.
From a young age, I pushed myself to get into public speaking and to be comfortable on a stage in front of a crowd of people. Over the years, through trial and error, I became quite skilled at speaking fluidly without a teleprompter. With enough practice, public speaking felt natural, and I never would have developed the skill if I hadn’t struggled to read.
Their Greatest Fear Is My Greatest Strength
As I explore in my book, I Can’t Read, people who have dyslexia or other reading difficulties often turn their weaknesses into superpowers. I developed the enormously valuable skill of public speaking because I couldn’t read aloud. I took other people’s greatest fear and made it my greatest strength.
If you struggle to read, what are some strategies you’ve developed in response? Maybe you’ve sharpened your memory to remember unfamiliar words or become adept at getting verbal information from people. I encourage you to look for your strengths and further hone them. You might be surprised to discover that the traits you thought were weaknesses are actually paths to your greatest talents.
For more advice on reading struggles and developing strengths from weaknesses, check out I Can’t Read. If you’re more of an audiobook lover, you can find that version of the book at rebrand.ly/icantread. The ebook is available on Amazon.
William Manzanares IV was born and raised in the Tacoma area of Washington State and is an active member of the Puyallup Tribe. He is a serial entrepreneur, having owned and operated successful smoke shops, convenience stores, and restaurants since 2005. William is passionate about helping small business owners as well as struggling readers. To that end, he spends much of his time speaking with students about career planning and goal setting. Having grown up unable to read and struggling with dyslexia, William hopes his new book will equip kids to improve their literacy and inspire them to pursue their dreams.