Do you ever feel like you’re underestimated?
I’ve felt like this most of my life. I still feel like it today. It’s a strange feeling. Sometimes our ego wants to tell us we’re better than we are.
Other times imposter syndrome takes over and we accept we’ll never amount to anything. I’ve learned being underestimated is a superpower.
The daily experience of an underestimated person
People think I’m poor.
I wear Nike shoes with big holes in the toe part of each foot. I wear 5+ year old clothes that are mostly out of fashion. My t-shirts have no brands. I drive a mediocre 8 year old Honda Civic.
My neighborhood is basic. When a friend dropped me off at home, they were underwhelmed by my house. It’s small, old, not well-kept, and lacks many basic luxuries like air conditioning. The bathroom is the size of a closet. The taps make loud noises and leak.
My wife and I go out for a meal about once a month. It’s usually a takeaway restaurant, and I pick up the order to avoid Doordash delivery fees. I use the free versions of Spotify and Youtube with ads.
I often get treated as a second-class system, yet I’m secretly a quiet millionaire.
Most days I quite like this reality. It’s nice to have no fame and loads of privacy. Other days I get upset. Sometimes I want to buy a Lambo just to shut up all the critics in my life who think I’m a loser.
Dreams nobody believes in
Throughout my career I’ve copped a lot of sh*t.
I always wanted to be a writer and own an online business. I started writing while working in finance. At the start nobody knew. A few years in I amassed an enormous following on LinkedIn and it was hard to deny.
Still, colleagues thought I was some wannabe thought leader. They laughed at my picture quotes. They told me I only got paid in ‘likes.’ One boss even told me my writing would never lead to a best-selling book.
When I entered the startup incubator at my bank employer, I got laughed at once more. The ideas I presented were tool wild, they said. I got told to be realistic and just design a better credit card.
At one point I tried to get a full-time gig in the incubator as a manager. I was laughed out of the interview. They ended up choosing a Harvard MBA guy who’d never built startups like I had.
Whenever I told the story of how I walked away from a successful startup at 26 with over 100 employees, colleagues just thought I was making it up.
They dismissed the difficulty it takes to work on a business since you’re a teenager & have it become a giant in the eCommerce space. These were the glory days of payment gateways, eBay, websites, SEO & online shopping.
It was all useless experience, apparently.
What being an underdog taught me (that applies to you)
Being underestimated is an advantage.
It removes your ego and makes you want to prove everyone wrong. It makes you want to even the score, prove a point, and work harder.
So that’s what I did. I put the blinders on and built a writing empire and 7-figure online business.
Underdogs have often faced many tragedies in their lives — they’re what can define us to strangers and critics. I’ve found these rock bottom moments to be extremely useful.
Rock bottom provides the opportunity for a comeback.
When you’re underestimated, you naturally think differently. You have some extra motivation that a normal person doesn’t have. When people instantly dismiss you, it’s them, in fact, that are missing out.
I have some great skills, stories, and experiences. Strangers often never get to hear them because they dismiss me based on false perceptions.
This means only the humble and intelligent people will ever scratch the surface of who I am. And they will get all the benefits on offer.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’ve been looked over, ignored, or falsely attacked. My advice: don’t let it define you. The average person is so busy with themselves that they don’t have time to understand you.
A quiet life — where people have low expectations — is a good thing. It relieves the pressure and lets you focus on your goals. It’s also easier to wow people when 99% of them think you’re useless or going nowhere.
Being a main character in the game of life can be overrated.
Sometimes it’s fun to be a background character and let all the noise and attention go to the big dogs who overshadow the underdogs.