The Power of Being Underestimated

Steve Jobs

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