The Underdog Effect

Dec 20, 2019

I’ve always been drawn to the underdog mentality.

There’s something special about a person, a team, or an organization defeating the odds and overcoming obstacles.

Throughout history, underdogs have been the movers and influencers who left the most lasting legacy. Take David and Goliath for example. Everyone loves the idea of a smaller, weaker person defeating a stronger, more qualified individual.   

So why is it so difficult when we actually find ourselves as the underdog?

You can probably think of a time in your life or an area of your life when you felt like the underdog. If so, you know it isn’t easy. It involves hard work, persistence, and determination that often goes completely unnoticed. Though society tends to glamorize the underdog, there is nothing enjoyable about being overlooked. 

Maybe that’s how you feel right now. Maybe you’re finishing out the year disappointed that you didn’t do more. Maybe you’re the underdog in your organization, your family, or your team. 

The truth is, none of us are successful in every aspect of our lives. Nearly everyone starts out as an underdog early in their career. We all feel like underdogs in one way or another. 

If you are entering the new year with a sense of inferiority in an area of your life, embrace it. Lean into the underdog mentality and fight the urge to compare yourself to more successful people. 

The truth is, we’re all a lot more capable than we might think. Who cares if you haven’t received the same accolades or success or recognition as someone else. That means nothing unless you let it mean something. I think we should all spend a lot more time looking at our own potential rather than comparing our situation to someone else. 

Here are just a few reasons you can celebrate being an underdog this year. 

Underdogs work hard. They don’t succeed by simply stumbling into success. Being an underdog means working hard and operating without any guarantees. Be proud of that and let it motivate you to work even harder this year. 

Underdogs take risks. More than any other person, underdogs have the unique ability to take calculated risks toward their goal. They have nothing to prove and everything to gain. If you are the underdog, lean into this opportunity to dream bigger and accomplish more than anyone else. 

Underdogs learn to appreciate the process. As the underdog sets out to achieve their goal, they get to fully experience the process of reaching their unique version of success. Yes, it’s very important to keep your eyes on the goal, but don’t forget to look around and take in the experience while you’re in the thick of it. 

As this decade comes to a close and we start a new chapter, I hope you can begin to appreciate the areas of your life where you feel like the underdog. Instead of running from these areas or hiding them for fear of embarrassment, what if we leaned into the underdog mentality? I have a feeling that we would all discover greater opportunities and potential than we could ever imagine.


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