Dear Young Dyslexic,

A number of people have asked why I end my letters with the phrase “make a bit of noise." I have always liked this phrase for a number of reasons. It is often used by Scottish folk singers to encourage their audience to sing along. In the Gaelic tradition, music and dance are at the center of the culture. They are important way of participating in the community. Therefore, participation is much more important than performance. In our culture, we are use to watching and listening to prerecorded entertainment that has been rehearsed and overdubbed. We are taught that perfection is more important that effort. I love the idea of making a joyful noise rather than music. If it sounds good that is just icing on the cake.

I believe that, at times, it is very important to be able to color outside the lines. Our mistakes help us grow and foster creativity. In talking to dyslexic billionaires, they all report failing many times. They often credit their willingness to fail again and again as one of the greatest assets.

“Make a bit of noise” also speaks to me on a very personal level. I have been told that as an infant I had a contagious belly laugh. I also know that as a toddler I was quite loud and rambunctious. My parents who wanted to socialize me, drilled the idea that ”voices carry.” They succeeded. I still laugh, but I lost the kind of laugh that starts with your belly button and courses through your entire body. It is important to know when to be quiet. However, our greatest strengths include our spontaneity, love of life, and our ability to shake things up. Occasionally, we need to go out and make a bit of noise.

That’s all for now.

Be well and make a bit of noise,

Dr. Michael Ryan




Dr. Michael Ryan