Exceptionalities should be celebrated

Richard Branson relaxes on Necker Island while using an iPad
Image by Jack Brockway
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 20 November 2017

I recently wrote about A Level results day to encourage those who didn’t get the grades they wanted to remain positive. After all, the alphabet runs from A to Z, not A to C.

I received a reply from a businesswoman, Mary Iusso, who opened a cupcake shop that provides opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome and “other exceptionalities”. On the shop’s website it says they “bake to advocate” and the shop showcases their capabilities to customers who come in and enjoy their desserts. 

I completely agree that just because you are different does not mean you can’t do well and achieve things in life; in fact looking at the world in a different way to everyone else is a strength and should be praised and encouraged. I have never looked at my dyslexia as a disability; like Mary said, it is an exceptionality and we should celebrate these exceptionalities in ourselves and others. 

Everyone has something valuable to bring to the table and exams often don’t measure many skills that the world needs such as reasoning, leadership, kindness, exploring, influencing and communication.

A young Richard Branson at school holding a small trophy
Image by Virgin.com

I was lucky to have parents who let me drop out of school to start a business. They could recognise what I was interested in and good at (it wasn’t school) and I’m grateful they had faith in my abilities. Don’t let what you can’t do define you but instead pursue and work hard at what you can do.

This quote from Einstein is very fitting: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Best of luck with your business Mary and team, and here’s to all of the exceptionalities out there.