Today society faces the issue of being blind to the assets of being an underdog; someone who is viewed as least likely to succeed due to a learning disability or a manifestation of ideas too far from the mainstream. Although this may appear irrelevant, this mentality can harm the way unlikely successful people see themselves.
In order to address the problem, we must first identify that singling out people is a problem. Secondly, we must change our mentality and realize the benefits of having to overcome our huge fears. Finally, as a society, we must use our differences to our advantage and learn how to make the most of our difficulties.
When society unfavorably points out an individual’s differences, this mocking can be humiliating and leads to underdogs losing faith in being able to rise above their challenges. The way underdogs see themselves is dependent on how society treats and views them.
The problem that society creates when scrutinizing underdogs is that they become self-conscious and more afraid of taking risks. Not taking these risks can cause them to no longer strive for their goals, no longer reach a fulfilling life experience, and in the worst scenario, make their lives fall apart.
Although surprising to most, one of society’s most respected medical careers, neurology, is full of professionals who were once diagnosed with some sort of learning disorder. In a speech to her peers, neuroscientist Sharon Thompson-Schill discovered this fact when she posed the question of how many of them were at one time diagnosed with a learning disorder. Half of the hands in the auditorium went up. Society would never imagine that such gifted people could have disabilities that they needed to work around.
The importance of addressing the misconception that brilliant people cannot have impediments is that it demonstrates that they were able to turn those struggles into success factors that turned them into the brilliant doctors that they eventually became.
Another place where underdogs’ strengths are seen is the workplace. Dr. Anna Akbari analyses that these ‘desirable difficulties’ are extremely salient in the workplace because they build a stronger yet more respectful person. Underdogs can understand the value of hard work, so they are less likely to take things and people for granted and more likely to express appreciation.
The Outliers by Malcom Gladwell explains that innovators and entrepreneurs are meant to be creative in addition to having the ability to challenge their own ideas. If an innovator has an exceptional proposal, but lacks the discipline and the endurance to finish, the project is just simply a dream. Underdogs are also known to be the persistent types of people who will continue with projects until they are finished through using their creative minds and ideas.
We need to learn to see the advantages of being the underdog. If we can change the view of society, then the so called underdogs might be able to accept the idea that being an underdog is a strength and stop letting others discourage them. This setback in our culture causes people to focus on being judged and become engulfed in society’s negative views of them.
Additionally, we must realize that what is said to you and about you does not define who you are. We need to learn not to limit ourselves because of what others expect and realize that we all deserve more than we think. As author Johnny Weissmuller once said, “With but few exceptions, it is always the underdog who wins through sheer willpower.”