“See what every long shot, come from behind underdog will tell you is this. The other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds maybe stacked against you, fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where PASSION has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clock starts ticking. Just remember out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say, and the experts may think, and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling uncle. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, WE GOT OURSELVES A GAME!’ -Jim Schlossnagl
“I was never supposed to play in college, let alone the NBA, so I always feel like I had something to prove.  No one ever expected me to be here, so that feeling of being an underdog is ingrained in me.  It’s a natural part of my consciousness”-Steve Nash

A Change in Perspective

Personally, I have never been the favorite.  I was never the elite athlete, the popular kid, or the valedictorian.  I used to hate this fact.  Since I was not at the top, I felt like I failed. I used to think something was wrong with me.  I would look down on myself.

As you can imagine, I didn’t accomplish much with this thinking.  Even more, I developed some anxiety and depression.  I felt unworthy to ever accomplish anything great in my life.   My confidence and therefore, performance faltered.  I missed the mark more often than not.  I was in a deep hole.

Sometime, I do not remember when, I realized that I can see my situation in a different light.  So what if I am not at the top?  Ok, maybe I am not the star athlete or the person everyone wants to be around.  What good can come out of my situation?  It took awhile, but I figure it out. I am the underdog!  I am the Little David.  I may not be the favorite, but I have a chance!  Once I shifted this thinking, I made some new realizations.  I would like to share why being the underdog is an awesome position to find yourself performing.

Underdogs are Hungry

Take many success stories you know and study their history.  Michael Jordan was an underdog.  He was cut from his high school basketball team. Did that stop him?  Nope.  He practiced and worked and developed his game to shine in the following year’s tryouts.  The rest you know, is history. Jordan has become known as one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. Throughout his 15 years the NBA, Jordan played as an all Star in 14, won 5 MVP awards, and won 6 NBA championships.  Talk about a comeback!

You know the story of Oprah Winfrey.  She got fired from her first job in TV after 7 months.  Her manager told her that she was “unfit for TV.” She took her experience and began a TV show that birthed a billion dollar empire.   Now, she is one of the most powerful women on the planet.  She seems to be everywhere- TV shows, commercials, awards shows.  All because she did not let one negative event get her down.

Finally, consider Ed Sheeran.  Ed came from simple roots in rural England. .  He took up guitar at 11.  Ed moved to London at 14 with his guitar and backpack of clothes.  Ed played songs in the streets and small gigs for years.  If you look at him, you initially might not consider him A-list material. He has unkempt hair and dresses very casually.  Currently, he is one of the most sought after musicians and sells out arenas all over the world.  All of these people worked their tails off to reach the pinnacle of their industry.

Underdogs are Humble

Most underdogs come from simple roots.  They grew up outside of stardom and developed a humble sense of self.  Lebron James is a perfect example.  Lebron grew up in Akron, OH.  James had a difficult childhood.  His father was not involved in his life and his family moved in and out of apartments in the projects of Akron.  James found basketball as his escape and thrived in the sport.  He joined the NBA straight out of high school.  Throughout his NBA career, James has won 3 NBA championships, won multiple awards, and won 2 gold medals.  Once Lebron secured his popularity, he stayed down to earth and personable. You can notice that anytime he does interviews or posts on social media.  He has even given back to the community that made his childhood difficult.  James has funded millions into the Akron school system and stays involved in the community.

You know Warren Buffett.  You know that he is one of the richest men in the world.  Did you know that he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska?  A rural city in Nebraska is nowhere near the center of industry.  And yet, Buffett found a knack for the financial industry early in his childhood years.  He graduated from business school in 3 years and worked at several companies and continued buying and selling stocks.  Warren assumed control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965.  he has built that company and accumulated $84 billion.  Buffett still lives in a ranch style home in Omaha.  He recently announced that he will donate most of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.  Talk about a charitable guy!

Tom Hanks has been described as “America’s Dad.”  He is beloved in the industry and by his fans.  Hank grew up in California with his father and sisters.  His father was a cook.  Hanks began his career performing in a summer Shakespeare camp when he was a teenager.  Throughout his career, Hanks has grossed close to $10 billion at the box office worldwide.  He has won several awards for his work and has been named ‘Best Actor in the Industry” in 2019.  Beside form his fame and success, Hanks has supported 30 plus charities.  Also, he has been known to stick around after stage performances to meet with fans.  Definitely a down to earth individual.

Underdogs have a small, but mighty support system

Think about all the inspirational sports movies you have seen- Rocky, the Karate Kid, Mighty Ducks, or Major League. Do you know what they have in common?  These athletes and teams were 1) the underdogs and 2) has a small group cheering them on.  Underdogs don’t need the masses to love them.  They don’t need crowds cheering their name.  They simply go out there and give it their all.  They rely on the support of their most loyal fans.  They don’t get caught up in being the most popular individual or team.  In the end, they do become legends.  But, that is just a product of being an underdog.

I can speak to this in my personal life.  I have never been the most popular individual.  I have never had crowds or gaggles of people wanting to meet me.  But, I have had a core of friends, families, and supporters that keep me grounded and motivated.  They are there through thick and thin.  They show concern and encouragement no matter what. They are especially there for you when you are at a low point.  These supporters never waiver or leave.  Find those kinds of people and you have already won.

What can you take away from this?

You may have challenges in your life.  You may have not been successful in your efforts.  Maybe life ha not been kind to you.  Instead of taking this as a negative, see it as an opportunity.  Challenges in life allow us to grow and develop.  See yourself as an underdog.  Believe that you can be resilient and overcome any obstacle in your life.  Take on the persona of an underdog and you will be unstoppable.



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