The Underdog TrapEveryone loves a good underdog story. We love the moment when the overruled, picked over, and left behind stand up and claim victory. We love when the stakes are high and the odds are stacked against us. We love to come out swinging and silence the critics.

Being an underdog, though, requires a different kind of thinking. When the 2005 Wild Card Steelers won every playoff game on the road that led them to a Super Bowl victory, they didn’t listen to the statisticians telling them no team had ever won the Super Bowl from such a lowly status. They played each game, one at a time, and gave each one their all. Yesterday’s victory did nothing for today’s challenge, but “can’t” never entered the vocabulary.

Traveling quite a bit further back, when David defeated Goliath, he was given armor to wear for protection but it didn’t fit, so he stepped onto the battlefield wearing only his shepherd clothes. From the looks of it, he was outmatched. Yet, no seasoned fighter would stand up to Goliath’s challenge. David knew the necessity of such a victory, and he knew he could do it. He believed.

Sometimes we become so enchanted with the underdogs that we stack the deck against ourselves. We talk of our inevitable defeat, we gather the naysayers and let their words wash over us, and unfortunately, we start to see ourselves through their eyes as unfavored and unable to win. We want so much to prove everyone wrong, but we’ve set ourselves up for failure. We forget that underdogs truly seeking victory eliminate can’t immediately, and they (and sometimes they alone) believe with all they’ve got.

Take a good look around you and see all that’s there, whether it’s the roof over your head, the desk you earned at work, the car you already drive, the car you want to drive, the education you continue to strive for, the man/woman of your dreams, these things that we call life are uphill climbs that we make every day, without the word “can’t” and sometimes with only belief in our pocket. Victory is yours. Hold fast to the underdog thinking, but let yourself out of the underdog trap.

Within an hour we’ll find out if a European probe was successfully able to land on a comet hurtling through space. Despite all that could go wrong, the European Space Agency made the decision to go for it anyway. In every interview I’ve come across, they state they knew they could do it, and they believe they can. That’s the kind of thinking that changes the world.

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Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler . Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing. 

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