1 Gogami

Underestimating Others Essays About Life

Note: This is a guest post by Alex Mangini.

Adversity is a crazy thing. It comes in many forms, and at some point in your life — you will have to find ways to overcome it.

Think of the last time the odds were against you. Maybe you were considered the underdog in a sporting event, or were told that your goals in life are unrealistic. Whatever the case may be, the only thing that’s important is how you overcome these problems.

Some people thrive on adversity and use it to fuel success. Then, there are those who can’t carry that weight and let it bring them down. In my opinion, facing adversity and being underestimated is one of the best ways to reach success.

I heard a great quote a while ago that really sums things up:

“One of the best opportunities you can be given in life is to be underestimated.”

Powerful stuff, right? When you think about this quote and tie it together with your own experiences, I think you will find it to be true.

Go on right now and think about a time when you were underestimated, and try to remember how you took advantage of that opportunity.

After that, focus right back on this post. I want to tell you a quick story about a man named Steve Jobs.

How Being Undervalued, Heart Broken and Getting Fired Can Help You Take Over The World

Steve Jobs changed the world, no question about that. He helped revolutionize the computer industry and change the way we integrate technology into our lives through his company, Apple.

Not only that, he inspires people to become the best person they can, and has shown that it’s possible to be successful no matter what happens to you — good or bad.

“…sometimes life’s gonna hit you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005

As successful as he was, he didn’t get there by doing nothing. He didn’t get there with everyone believing in him, and he certainly didn’t breeze through everything.

He was dealt quite a few major blows throughout his career, but I’d say the biggest would be:

  1. Fired from Apple in 1985 — the company he created.
  2. …essentially fired for being himself
  3. Betrayed by people he loved multiple times
  4. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004

These are all harsh things on the outside, but on the inside — true motivators for success.

It was not easy by any means, but Steve used all these events to fuel his burning desire to create great products and build a lasting company.

He had doubters throughout his career, and of course had to deal with the fact that his own company didn’t want him in 1985. A very short time after he made Apple one of the most successful companies in the world, he was diagnosed with an incurable cancer.

What downers, right? Not for Jobs. He experienced some of the worst tragedies a person can face in their lives and took more good from them than bad.

After hearing probably the worst news of his life in having cancer, he came out with his best work, including the iPhone and iPad.

It’s sensational to think that the worst of events can bring out the best in you.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005

There’s More to it…

Listen, being underestimated can be a great thing for you. Having doubts thrown at you and your ideals questions — all good things.

But there’s so much more to it than that. Thriving off of pure negativity is bad for you and what you set out to do.

As a matter of fact, if you face more negative reactions than positive, you may want to really sit back and think about what you’re doing. As powerful as negativity can be to help you, it only goes so far until it starts hurting you.

With that being said, never try to make people underestimate you — just be you.

It’s also important to never forget to have supportive relationships with others. The people you surround yourself with are the ones who will make or break you as a person.

“When I was 17, I read a quote that read something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I’ve looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address 2005

But It’s Not About Them

Remember, you are your most important critic. If you can’t get yourself motivated, then how can you expect someone else to?

Love what you do, and only do what you love. But most importantly: learn to be you.

How Has Being Underestimated Helped You?

I’d love to share my stories with you, so be sure to reply to this post in the comments section and share your own stories. Can’t wait to hear them!

PS: To those who wonder, it is not typical that I have no bio or links to a guest blogger’s site. But since this guest chose (?) not to reply after at least two email requests by me to come over to answer comments, I figured his links and bio should be removed. If you’re interested in guest blogging, please read the guidelines on my “Contact Me” page just under the header. I look forward to hearing from you.

Flickr Credit: skitty25

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Don’t Underestimate Yourself

“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is ‘out there' —as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ~Byron Katie

You can do just about anything you set your mind to. And just about is plenty good for accomplishing more in life than you have time to accomplish.

Yes, there are some things in life that we won't ever be able to achieve. I will never be a professional ballet dancer no matter how diligently I train. You may not get the specific job you want because the employer won't hire you. You may go after something with every confidence that you can achieve it, and then something unexpected prevents you.  Of course severe physical or emotional illness can hinder you. But these are the exceptions. The rule is that there are millions of things you can accomplish.

When I coach clients, they often revert to the fallback position of over-examining their emotions. Emotions are important and have their place, but they are a smokescreen to taking action. I try to refocus the client on action. Positive action always makes you feel better.  Even one tiny forward movement can be enough to turn around your entire outlook.

Here are some common feeling-charged thoughts that try to divert you from action:

  • It's hard. I can't do it.
  • I'm too lazy. I just don't have the motivation.
  • I don't really need to be doing this thing. I'm fine the way I am.
  • I'm feeling down right now. I can't do anything when I feel this way.
  • I can't afford to do that.
  • Something bad might happen. People won't like me anymore. I'll make them mad.
  • I failed at this before, so clearly I'm not capable.
  • I don't deserve this. I'm just not good enough.

I wish I could tell you that these thoughts had enough truth in them to merit inertia. But that's not the case. There are millions of goals and desires for which you have the ability, intelligence, resources, and stamina (mental, physical and emotional) to accomplish.

It may not be easy.

It may not always be fun.

You might fail the first time and have to start again.

But most of the time, with the proper research, training, planning, preparation, and consistency, you can do what you set out to do if you really want to do it.

That's the key: you have to want it enough to turn your back on comfortable excuses and scary feelings. You have to admit that they don't really have the power to stop you.

When you are standing naked in The Land of No Excuses, it can be intimidating. Invisible eyes are on you saying, “Ok, now you actually have to do something.” But it can be exhilarating too.  Maybe you no longer have excuses not to do something — but now you have a good reason to do anything. The world is your oyster.

My friend and client Stephanie has lost 140 pounds in the last year after a lifetime of obesity. She's launched her own business and is trying many new things that weight previously prevented her from attempting.

Leo, my friend and partner for The Habit Course, has built his entire business and blog around taking action. He's become  pro at creating good habits and dropping bad ones. Look at what he's accomplished.

The beautiful Diana picked up and moved to Italy to follow her dream of owning and running a bed and breakfast. In spite of a period of severe anxiety, she figured out how small actions could keep her moving forward. She used her anxiety to focus her creativity rather than being victimized by it. She is now living her dream.

Author, speaker, and master coach Steve Chandler awakened to the truth of his own abilities during a workshop with the amazing Byron Katie. He overcame a victim mentality, reinforced by alcohol abuse, to become one of the most sought-after speakers and coaches in the country.

If you are reading this and thinking, “Yes but . . . ,” I invite you to dismiss those two words from your vocabulary. Of course you have difficulties, special circumstances, limitations. We all do. But don't underestimate yourself. There are plenty of things, millions of things,  you can do, so focus on them.

There are unlimited resources to help you do what you want to do. You can Google just about anything and find out how to do it for free. There are books, courses, workshops, mentors, teachers and coaches available to help you. This post isn't about giving you the resources — you know where to find them.

This post is a reminder of the truth. Don't underestimate yourself. You can do just about anything you really want to do.   Most excuses don't hold water.

You are now standing naked in The Land of  No Excuses. It's time for action. What are you going to do next?

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