Harness the Power of the Underdog
We don’t speak of the underdog too often. We speak about the powerful, the influential, the idea-makers, game-changers – the world class leaders. That is, unless the underdog becomes famous, then we talk about how amazing they are because they’re not underdogs anymore.
If you are an underdog, you should be grateful. If you feel like your vision, your idea, or your call are in obscurity and that no one is listening – I have good news for you. You could be in one of the best places in life. You are a secret weapon. Why? Because you will do things differently than everyone else. You will work harder. You will do what others will not. And, with persistence and hard work, you will eventually emerge from the crowd, your vision will become reality, and you will live your passion.
I love underdogs. That’s why I’ve spent much of my life helping widows and orphans. It’s the ‘weak things of the world that confound the wise.’ And I also love researching why certain people find ways to achieve extraordinary results.
“When you are an underdog, you are forced to try things you would have otherwise never attempted.” – Gladwell
People who come from the shadows into the limelight of all apply certain principles responsible for their success – and you can too. Take Howard Shultz for an example, now a billionaire. He grew up in the projects in Brooklyn before he founded Starbucks. Or, J.K. Rowling, a single mother in England who was living in abject poverty and was laughed at by publishers for her crazy book, Harry Potter. Or a little soccer team most people had never even heard of until this year that most people can’t even pronounce called Leicester City.
This is one of the most unlikely stories in history to have a Cinderella ending. Leicester was one of the worst soccer (futbol) teams in the English Premier League (EPL). They were far down the soccer chain in 2008 and relegated to the 3rd division. Unlike Manchester United or Chelsea, most soccer fans didn’t even know there was a team called Leicester.
But they did something amazing. They made it in to the English Premier League from the 2nd division last year – just barely. Their hope this year was to just win enough games to stay in the 1st division of the EPL. This would have been an amazing feat on its own because they were competing with teams like Manchester City whose team costs were 7 times higher than theirs. On top of that, it had been 21 years since any team besides Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United won the title. But defying all of the odds, they won the Premier League title last week – their first title win in their 132 year history. The odds? 5000-1.
HOW DID THEY DO IT?
You may not be a sports fan but there is something every single one of us can learn and apply from the wisdom of the underdogs.
#1 Creating a Positive Environment Changes Everything
Leicester’s coach is 64 years old and came out of obscurity to coach the club. His name is Claudio Ranieri and he takes positivity very seriously. He stated, “I am a positive man. I work hard and believe in myself.” And he was laser focused at creating a positive environment for his team. Cultivating habits of positivity have a way changing everything – thoughts, actions, and attitudes. It can single-handedly transform your life or the life of a team.
#2 What You Do Every Day Determines Your Success
I have stressed this principle many times in my writing. Show me what you do every day, and I will be able to tell whether or not you will fail or succeed. We must have routines. Ranieri believes strongly in this idea, “You must train with the same intensity as you intend to play come matchday. “That is our way. If we slow down, it’s not Leicester, it’s another team,” he says. Having daily routines is extremely important to your success. To find out more check out this post and this post on motivation and routines.
#3 Never Underestimate the Power of Consistency and Small Wins
What happens if I create a routine and I fail? Answer: you wake up the next day and do the same thing. If you want to write a book, you don’t sit down and write it in a week. You create a routine where you write 500 words a day no matter what. Some days you won’t feel like it. Some days your writing will suck and some days it will be great. But each day you sit down and write is a WIN. You will look back after 3 months or so and your will have written your book. The Leicester coach used this line from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “IF,” which I think is brilliant, “Victory and defeat has the same face.” You just keep focused and keep going.
My suggestion? I would get out a piece of paper or pull up a new Word document right now. Reorg your life. Create a simple strategy to revamp your day that has the power to transform your life. If we learn anything from the people who have succeeded it is this: THERE ARE PRINCIPLES TO SUCCESS. There is no hidden genius, no secret sauce. There are just simple ways and routines successful people practice that are different from others. Apply the principles like the 3 I’ve mentioned above and you can begin to recreate your life on your terms, focused what matters most to you – your vision and passions.
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