Underdogs don’t always win. They’re not supposed to. The odds are stacked deeply against them and to pull it off would be a miracle. That’s why we root for the underdog. That’s why it’s so powerful when they do win.
Enter Hollywood. The underdog myth is so prevalent it would be easy to think that underdogs always win. That they’re supposed to. All it takes is heart and a three-minute montage of effort set to a catchy rock tune. Suddenly the hero is as masterfully adept as the villain who has spent a lifetime at their craft.
It makes for a great story. Who among us can’t identify with feeling outclassed, mistreated by jerks, held down by the cruel and incompetent boss, played the fool by circumstances beyond our control, or being the victim of an unjust world? We’ve all been there at some moment.
Then the credits roll and we return to the real world. A place that can be as mean, vile, nasty, and indifferent as it can be beautiful, loving, caring, and inspiring. And we try to muddle through because we don’t have the answers and the world is bigger than us and feels overwhelming.
When a movie ends, it ends. There is a happily ever after or at least a resolution and a stopping point. In real life EVERY MOMENT IS A NEW BEGINNING and we don’t know how it ends because it is always beginning again.
We take actions and we make choices and we don’t know if it’s the right one or not. What career, what job, what city, what spouse? We will never know what might have been, only where we are now. And we’ll never know if today’s decisions are right until tomorrow (and sometimes tomorrow is a long ways off).
That’s what your employees are feeling. Your customers. Your boss and your kids.
Everyone wants to be the hero of their story. No one thinks they are the villain. And we all feel like the underdog.