Skip to main content

Daymond John of Shark Tank achieved fame long before his seat on the reality show panel. Building his FUBU apparel brand from the ground up, John has previously shared that his empire was the result of hard work. In a recent Instagram post, the fashion mogul got personal on his rocky road to success.

Daymond John on the panel of 'Shark Tank'
Daymond John of ‘Shark Tank’ | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images/Tony Rivetti

Daymond John’s Instagram post reflected on high school days

The Shark Tank star posted a vintage picture on Instagram last week, revealing to his followers that his school experience was less than stellar due to a late dyslexia diagnosis.

“See this kid?” John captioned the throwback photo of himself.⁣ “He grew up thinking he wasn’t smart enough because he didn’t discover he had dyslexia until he graduated high school.⁣ He failed time and time and time again⁣.”

The FUBU founder was apparently subjected to naysayers when launching his now-iconic brand, yet stayed the course in the face of adversity. John encouraged his followers to do the same.

“He got made fun of, doubted, and mocked for choosing to pursue an industry that was different than the status quo of everyone around him⁣,” John shared, adding what turned his life around. “He worked over 80 hours a week to make his dreams come true. And he knows that if he can do it…so can you.”

‘Shark Tank’ star played to his strengths

In an interview with Yale University Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, John explained that his strengths in school were with numbers.

“In math and science, I would excel,” he said. “I could look at something quickly and get high grades, A’s and B’s.”

John didn’t realize that his difficulty with reading and language arts was due to dyslexia. Without the diagnosis, John assumed he just needed to work harder.

“Literally, I couldn’t spell the word ‘because’ for 4 or 5 years,” the Shark Tank investor shared. “I wouldn’t know how to spell my middle name, Garfield. When I read a book, I got tired.”

The fashion mogul soon discovered how to play to his strengths, and developed a plan for himself to succeed in school. John ended up getting an education in the business world in the process.

“The work around and being dyslexic was first of all, I was more of a visual person,” John said in a 2015 interview with LinkedIn. “I can see the end goal happening. Also, when I went to school, to not have to go to English and the place that I had challenges with. I was a killer in math, I was a killer in science… I went and I started a co-op program where I would work one week in high school and then I would go to school the next. What did that do? It put me at First Boston as a messenger out here, and I started to realize there was so much business being done and what was happening.”

Daymond John shares a bond with his ‘Shark Tank’ co-stars

Shark Tank stars Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary have also been open about having dyslexia. O’Leary was diagnosed at the age of 6, where Corcoran didn’t discover she had dyslexia until her son was evaluated.


‘Shark Tank:’ Daymond John Says Mark Cuban is Willing To ‘Gamble’ on Deals

Like John and O’Leary, Corcoran looks at dyslexia as a unique form of motivation which keeps her on her toes.

“What an advantage this so-called weakness is,” Corcoran told Entrepreneur. “Dyslexia and its insecurities… It sure is challenging mentally, but it sure can keep you motivated, make you money and get you places nobody else is going to get.”