It’s that Cinderella team that upsets the entire bracket. It that wild card that surprises everybody. It’s that least suspected success story that defines the life of an underdog. Usually referring to some sort of sport or competition, an “underdog” is a person or group who is generally expected to lose. Regardless of their level of talent or skill, no-one believes in the underdog in lieu of the favorite.
Being in this position can be quite discouraging, and many an underdog has lived down to the expectations. However, for some of us, there is an advantage to being counted out before even starting. I know it feels good to have a lot if people in your corner, and it is motivating for people to believe in you; but being an underdog can be motivating as well.
No one should believe in you more than you. You know how hard you’ve worked to get where you are. You know your skill set better than anyone. Even if you’re in the trenches alone, you still have the God-given ability to win.
In 1 Samuel 30, David was counted out. The people who had been following him and supporting him, turned on him, thinking that he wouldn’t be able to recover from current circumstances. But, despite the naysayers and complete lack of support, David decided to encourage himself (verse 6). David didn’t wait on anyone to pat him on the back, he reached around and did it for himself.
Have you ever tried to pat yourself on the back? I’ll admit, it’s a little uncomfortable. Your arms were meant to reach forward, not backwards. But God gave you the ability to reach back just far enough to tap your shoulders. And that’s enough! We you think back, you should remember how you’ve always survived and thrived under adversity. You should remember that God has even worked your losses for your favor. You’ve got to encourage yourself.
So I don’t mind being the underdog. I see it as an advantage. My friend Eric Akin once said that excellence means giving them more than they’re expecting. If they aren’t expecting much, then I have the privilege of blowing them away. Make excellence your goal and winning will always take care of itself.
So let them doubt. Let them talk and speculate. Let them count you out. They don’t know what you know, neither can they see what you see. You’re a winner, and everyone wishes they had bet on the underdog once he is standing in the winner’s circle. Just reach back and encourage yourself.
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