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4 Little-Known Reasons to Love Being the Underdog

There comes a point in life when you get tired of looking up at all the successful champagne-drinking people at the top of your particular ladder of success, while you sit at the bottom taking warm swigs of PBR.

They say the playing field is level. But it’s not.
They say we have the same resources. But we don’t.
They think they understand. But they have no idea.

At least not anymore.

They may have understood at one point, but they don’t get it now. It’s not their fault really. They’ve spent so much time being top dogs that they’ve forgotten what being an underdog is like.

You’ve probably wished more than a few times that you could just make it already.

Haven’t you paid your dues? Isn’t it your time now?

UnderdogWell, the answer to those questions may be yes, but you better hope the answer is no. The view at the bottom is more interesting than it seems at first glance.

If you’re an underdog, in any field, at any level, you have a unique and time-sensitive perspective, take advantage of it.

Although the top dogs may one-up you on resources, connections, money, audience, and field experience, we still have some advantages. I say we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the benefits of being at the bottom: they can be the very things we need to lift us to the top.

1.) The Freedom of Flexibility

When you’re just beginning, you may or may not have a good idea of where you want to end up eventually. You may want to be a successful business owner, but what that business is going to look, feel and smell like will depend on what you experience along the journey.

That gives us underdogs a ton of flexibility. For example, I started my online business building computers, doing computer consulting, blogging on the side, then changed to web development, then to niche sites and finally to blogging full time.

You’re able to make those kinds of hairpin turns when you’re an underdog. You don’t have any weight to carry and no one is really watching that closely anyway.

2.) The Ability to Bet The Company: Nothing to lose and everything to gain

Do you realize how dangerous finding yourself in a street brawl with someone who’s got nothing to lose is?

When you try anything for the first time, you don’t have a ton of equity invested in it yet. Whether it’s a business, project, craft, or muse, you usually start small.

Top dogs on the other hand have accumulated far more weight in terms of financial equity, responsibility, and risk. So you have the liberty of playing the game as if you have nothing to lose, while your escargot-eating competitors are busy debating the soundness of decisions in committees.

You fail fast, grow fast, and learn fast. You can take more risks (as long as they’re thoroughly calculated), be more innovative, and make decisions you probably wouldn’t make if you had the livelihood of 200 families on the line.

3.) Victories Are Sweeter

When you’re an underdog, you spend a lot of time failing. If you don’t fail, you expend lots of energy working on something and getting it noticed. Much more energy than a top dog would spend.

That means every victory for you is precious. The smallest step feels like a gigantic leap. Every advance in level is to be celebrated and should further excite you.

Think of how sad it will be when you take these small wins for granted? How sad will you be when you shrug off what would have been a major triumph for you as an underdog?

Eventually you’ll become so successful that only major wins give you the same amount of pleasure. Enjoy it while it lasts.

4.) The License to be Scrappy

As I’ve mentioned before, by their very nature, underdogs can’t believe in limitations or obstacles. If they did, they’d have lost before they started.

Underdogs don’t need to play by the rules. In fact, they’re better off if they don’t since someone else has already played by those rules.

We’re not under scrutiny and we don’t need to skirt by anyone’s opinions or authority. We have no achievements to live up to or expectations to meet.

We fight for what we want and we don’t give up. Even if that means we have to be scrappy in the process.

A Call to Arms For The Underdogs of The World

Being at a lower rung in the ladder isn’t so bad after all, as long as you take the time to look around and learn. You don’t know what lessons you may miss because of your eagerness to attain success.

The eventual satisfaction of truly earning something far outweighs the immediate satisfaction of somebody giving it to you. Even if you are paying top dollar for that magic secret or insider information, nothing beats standing over your creation and saying, “I made this.”

So rock on underdogs. Stay passionate, stay strong, and never stop fighting for what you want.

Oh, and when you make it, don’t make the mistake of counting out the underdogs behind you.

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About Liz Seda

Liz is a corporate dropout turned lifestyle designer and punchy personal development blogger. To find out more, go to her blog at A Life on Your Terms and download her member-only Life Lovers Guide to the Galaxy. You can also find her on twitter at @elizabethseda.