Why being the underdog is a good thing

Over the last few weeks it’s hard to miss LINsanity.  Jeremy Lin has become so popular that even the casual basketball fans and non sports fans have become enthralled by him.

My dad said it best when I asked him if he was a new basketball fan since he’s become interested in how the Knicks do each game.  He said, “I’m not a fan of the NBA, I watch because of Jeremy Lin.”

Why are we so captivated by this man?

It could be because he’s the ultimate underdog story.  People love rooting for the underdogs and seeing them succeed.  Throughout history, we have rooted for David when facing Goliath.  Just look at the stories that captured our hearts – Rudy, the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team, etc.  Even the American Revolution was fought by the “underdog” revolutionaries.

All these stories there is someone (or a team of people) who don’t “belong”.  He/she/they are perceived to be inferior or not quite as talented or equipped to face the opposition or certain challenges.

But somehow, these people are able to accomplish the impossible and live their dreams and win.

There are a lot of ups and downs when being the underdog.  Quite frankly, when things are tough it down right stinks.  I’ve definitely felt like the underdog many times in my life and each time was incredibly difficult and challenging.  But I learned so much along the way that I have started to appreciate all the challenges on my journey.  So much so, that I’ve come to realize that being the underdog is a good thing and believe we should keep the underdog mentality alive.

Here’s why.

1. Staying hungry pushes our boundaries.  Steve Jobs told the 2005 Stanford graduates to “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”  I couldn’t agree more!  When we are the underdogs, we are hungry for success (whatever that may be for each of us).  We have to push ourselves outside of our boundaries, our comfort zone.  It’s like the whole concept of little fish in a big pond.  Underdogs are always the little fish, but there is lots of room to grow.  So set big goals for yourself.  Once you’re goal is reached, you can set new ones to continuously expand and grow.

2. Perseverance builds strength.  In life, there are many challenges we must face.  Part of it is a growth process.  But having perseverance and the “can do” attitude helps us overcome these obstacles.  Naturally, when we are underdogs, we get lots of opportunities to hone in our perseverance skills.  So instead of thinking a challenge is to great to overcome, be an underdog and look for new openings and ways to continue your journey.  The hard work really pays off.

3. They believe in themselves and their dreams.  Underdogs believe in themselves, that they can accomplish the impossible.  They believe in their dreams and their abilities to fulfill them.   That confidence will take you far.   Just look at Jeremy Lin.  He had a dream to play in the NBA.  Did he have lots of barriers? Yes!  But he believed in himself and worked hard to fulfill his dreams, even when it meant taking steps back and going into the D-league.  He believed every step he took would make him a better player.  It certainly paid off!

4. Enhances our attitude of gratitude.  When you’re an underdog, nothing is handed on a silver platter. This means you work hard.  But when you succeed, you’re much more appreciative of what you have accomplished.  For me, when I accomplish something, like developing {the JOY depot} for example, I’m so amazed and grateful for all the wonderful people who have helped along the way.  Specifically for {the JOY depot}, I’m so very grateful to all of you who have embraced the site – from the likes, to the subscribers of {the JOY not}, comments, blog contributors, etc.  I don’t take any of this for granted and am truly honored to have you join this journey.

So be the underdog and make the impossible possible! 


About the JOY Coach

Minling Chuang

Minling is the founder of {the JOY depot} and is on a mission to help new entrepreneurs start their dream business. She spent many years working on branding strategies for top brands like Lean Cuisine & Nestle Toll House and launching multimillion dollar products. Now Minling's passion is to help people create profitable businesses they love! She is also a Kundalini Yoga teacher in Venice, CA. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. And if you want to start your own business, book a clarity session with Minling.

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