The Underdog Complex

This week I read an article about the distribution of luck throughout our lives. It opined that the success we realize isn’t a result of anything special that we have done, but rather, a unique inheritance we have been given from our childhood upbringing. This inheritance works the same way you think it would, some of us are given a more sizable inheritance than others which translates into increased luck.

  • Were your tender years filled with awkwardness and angst?
  • Did you struggle socially?
  • Did your parents play a back burner role to your life?
  • Did you tight roll your pants and live to tell the tale?

The truth is that some of us had a super sucky childhood, and a vast amount of that suckage was out of our control. For others, it’s the social hierarchies that are playing a terrible role in our society today. Equality is a struggle. This inheritance can have an impact on the amount of success we see as adult, and can decrease our chances of luck. In short, the odds are stacked against some of us to begin with.

In this case, the article specifically mentioned Kylie Jenner, and her supposed success at such a young age. The question is whether she would have had such a lucky break were it not for an already elevated inheritance in life; cash, and a whole myriad of acquisitions some of us will never quite attain.

Can Kylie really be “self-made” if her parents made it before her? Or is she lucky?

Luck can be called something else in life. It can be called privilege. The amount of luck we have can equate directly back to privileges we had in our upbringing, and continue to have in adulthood.

Think of it as a footrace with the tortoise and hare. Sometimes you’re given a head start in order to weight the average. The other person is a better runner than you are so have at it you tortoise. No matter how early you start, the hare will almost certainly catch up, but sometimes they nap and you’re given a chance. They have reduced their luck with that nap. Think of luck in real life terms, though, luck can be anything from access to education, availability of healthy food, to the involvement of parents in our youth.

That is how life has been for some of us, the underdogs. Underdogs started early, and  struggle to catch up or to even win, but occasionally we get ahead. To the underdog, it’s not even about winning, it’s about doggie paddling our way through life just to make sure we aren’t sinking or swimming. This, my friends, is the underdog complex.  We see ourselves as behind and constantly trying to catch up.

This site will focus on how to help you catch up. How to get ahead without compromising who you are by helping others. The underdog has specific characteristics about them.

  • They care about others.
  • They want to help others.
  • They don’t want to be an asshole to get ahead.
  • They believe in equality.
  • They pay it forward.

As an underdog, getting ahead will not come naturally, but it can happen.

I can help.

Why? Because I have gotten ahead, and not by being a jerk, but also not by resting on my inheritance or hoping that my luck kicks in one day. I also don’t feel the need to win the race against anyone else, this is a one person race, it’s for you alone underdog.

This site will include blog posts such as this one, while also giving you access to real life interviews of other underdogs, the ones who got ahead and the lessons they have learned.  It will include collections of stories, career advice, and real life examples to help you grow. What it will hopefully give you is confidence to create your own road map to bring change in your career when the odds are stacked against you.

Here’s the truth: You don’t need an Ivy League education, nor do you need to have tons of money, all you need is a leg up and sometimes a helping hand and some direction given. To be honest, the hare doesn’t even have a role in this, it’s all tortoise all the way. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about the ways you can hack your luck and get ahead without having to lie, and cheat your way forward. It can be done, I promise.

Stay tuned in two weeks when we post our first interview with Bridget Cogley.


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