“A winning mindset can transform an underdog into a champion.”
– Assegid Habtewold
Once upon a time, oh so long ago there was a young shepherd boy who was given the task by his father to take roasted grain and bread to his older brothers.
The time: around 1020 BC.
The backdrop: Israel was at war with their menacing enemy; the Philistines.
Upon reaching the front lines of the battle, the teenage boy heard insulting taunts coming from the Philistine’s ominous champion warrior; Goliath.
Word on the street was that Goliath was a beast of a man possibly more than 8 feet tall. The Champion Goliath was covered in bronze armor and wielded a sword, a javelin, and a spear. If that wasn’t enough, he also had an armor bearer who went before him; shielding him from danger.
In contrast, David, the teenage shepherd boy, possessed tremendous faith, relentless courage, and had 5 smooth stones in his pouch.
Sounds like a true underdog script, wouldn’t you agree?
As the story goes, David took one of the smooth stones and slung it at the giant. Hurled like a skilled shot putter, the stone hit the bullseye and struck the Champion on the forehead.
One focused shot was all the Shepherd Boy needed. The towering Goliath immediately fell face down to the ground.
On that historic day, David, the underdog, became a legend.
Well, Goliath goes down in history, no pun intended, as the name given to overpowering circumstances we encounter in life.
What Giant Are You Facing?
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some exceptional character traits underdogs possess. I hope to encourage you to build these character traits so you know how to fight like an underdog when you find yourself in overwhelming circumstances.
Grit and Guts
No doubt about it; underdogs never give up. They are gutsy and won’t let anyone or anything stop them.
They may be outnumbered in many arenas of life but their mindset is stronger than all the opposition they face.
The Spirit of the Underdog is one of resilience; they have learned how to overcome self-imposed limitations, failures, and misfortunes.
To increase your grit and gut levels, you must push yourself beyond your comfort zone. I normally tell people to expand their comfort zone by building their power zone. This is ideal but life is not; many times we are abruptly and violently pushed out of our comfort zone without our permission.
Underdogs learn how to embrace these unexpected changes and grow. Here’s where your thoughts come into place.
Gritty people know how to control their thoughts
Think of a Seed
What seeds are you planting to help build a gritty mindset?
The starting point to developing a resilient mindset is to be intentionally aware of the seeds you are planting in your mind.
Neuroscience has proven that the brain is capable of performing at much higher levels than what was previously thought.
How does this affect you?
It means that you can push yourself past what you “think” you can. Your brain will believe what you tell it albeit truth or lies.
The Science of Changing Your Mind
There is a principle in Neuroscience that says nerve cells that fire together wire together.
Let’s say you’re thinking the same defeating thoughts over and over again. Consequently, you’re making the same decisions over and over again. These circuits interconnect deeply together and become hard-wired in your brain.
Your thoughts and behaviors become habits and before you know it, you are just going through the motions.
Researchers believe that up to 95% of most people’s thoughts, beliefs, and reactions are done at the subconscious level.
In essence, this study shows that most people sleepwalk through life; but not underdogs.
Underdogs show up to win; they don’t just go through the motions.
People who have learned how to control their thoughts upscale their brain’s hardware to make new healthy connections and consequently their brains fire differently.
Without even knowing it, their brain’s neuro pathways disconnect from the old negative thinking and rebuild healthy, positive neuro networks.
A grandiose process that starts with one thought
Underdogs are Passionate and Courageous
Underdogs have tremendous drive; they are tenacious and never give up hope. This comes from both their passion and courage.
Passion and courage are intertwined. Passion is fueled by your belief system; the deep convictions that tug at your heart.
Courage is birthed out of passion. The things you are most passionate about ignite courage to give you the strength to stand up for what you believe in.
Underdogs have a heightened level of passion for their cause which fuels a relentless courageous spirit.
Together passion and courage ignite much-needed motivation to persist when you are weary in battle.
Have you ever noticed the energy of someone who doesn’t quit?
One consistent trait that underdogs have is motivational energy.
This energy defines those who have mastered the art of tapping into a sustained motivation. This keeps them inspired and helps build much-needed momentum. It can do the same for you.
Underdogs have a Committed Work Ethic
Without a doubt, underdogs always show up without excuses and hands down outwork their competition. They are known for putting in more than what’s expected.
A strong work ethic shows you are fully engaged in what you are doing and is crucial to your success. Your work ethic may be the difference between you being an average performer to being a champion.
“Somewhere, someone is practicing, and when he meets you in a head-to-head competition, he will beat you because he’s more prepared.”
– Larry Bird
Former All-Star professional basketball player Larry Bird who won 3 NBA championships and 3 consecutive MVP awards was known for his unrelenting dedication to practice.
He would wake up extra early every morning and practice 500 jump shots before school. He did this through high school.
Larry mentally committed to excellence. His discipline, dedication, and determination are to be admired.
Your willingness to work hard or lack thereof is the barometer of how dedicated you are to your cause.
The Spirit of the Underdog
Why do we love the underdog? The Spirit of the Underdog inspires us, gives us hope, and encourages us to keep on going.
Wouldn’t it be great if the underdog always won like in the movies? Think Rocky Balboa, Mulan, and Spiderman to name a few.
In life, the underdog doesn’t always win every battle but they never lose because they win the war.
They know they are champion warriors, not because of the end result but who they become in the process.
That courageous young shepherd boy who slew Goliath went on to become the King of Israel. Kind David lost many battles; personally and as the ruler of a nation.
He did, however, win in life and so can you.
My goal is that this blog post would embolden renewed courage in you when you face your Goliaths; your overpowering circumstances.
When you find yourself feeling defeated, I hope you too tap into your tremendous faith, relentless courage, and use your powerful resources (5 smooth stones) to slay your giants.
That is the true Spirit of the Underdog.
Never give up,
Always remember – Nothing is Impossible
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