What it means to be an underdog

Written by: Ellie Keen

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Gabby Douglas

What makes Gabby an underdog is her commitment to her sport. When Gabby was younger, her life was a struggle. She had a large family, but not a lot of income. In the movie “Gabby Douglas Story,” it shows that she had a slim chance of being successful. At the age of 14, Gabby’s gym was visited by Liang Chow. He helped her so much that it caused Gabby to desperately want to go and train with him. The amazing part was, she hadn't taken gymnastics classes until she was 6 years of age. She continued to strive for victory. If Gabby wanted to train with Liang Chow, she would have to move to Des Moines, Iowa. Her only option was to move in with a host family and work to be in the Olympics. He made her a champion. When she became an Olympic gold medalist, she left behind the comments about “her hair, her family, and her commitment to the sport.” This is what made her an incredible underdog. Her dedication and resilience to be the best paid off. She is awarded with a 2012 London Olympics gold medal!

J.K Rowling and Dr. Seuss

J.K Rowling and Dr. Seuss shared many similarities and differences before becoming underdogs. Both of these authors suffered from many rejection letters. Dr. Seuss had over 200 rejection letters before publishing his first book “And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” J.K Rowling received 12 rejection letters in a row, and then had to drop her book completely. She also came from a past with many adversities. Rowling was an unemployed single mother who wrote in a coffee house and drove her daughter around town. On the other hand, Dr. Seuss was employed for illustrating in newspapers, magazines, and advertising. Both of the authors weren’t expected to succeed as writers. Their combative attitude lead them to their goal. All in all, they took risks and earned their name as underdogs in literature.
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"Leverage your Underdog Status"

In the article, “Play to your strengths-steps to leverage your underdog status,” by Joanne Royston, she explains that underdogs have many different ways to succeed. The first step is to recognize that everyone is different. She says that you need to find something specific that makes you a unique individual. I also believe that this is important because we all have certain things that make us who we are. When you learn how to accept yourself, you accomplished the first step. Secondly, you have to perfect your strengths. Take what you have and “make use of that information.” After that, Joanne states, “In challenging times, the worst thing is feeling like you’re on your own. Finding a mentor who can lend an ear and help grow your skill set is an excellent way to stay on track.” This is something that will help you make it to the top and work through obstacles. For the very last step, you have to put your strengths out there. Be bold and inspire others to be an underdog. If we do that, our society might accept those who strive for success.


Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born with an extreme disability. He came from a difficult childhood, and persevered to be a motivational speaker. Nick overcame being born without any arms or legs and continues to inspire many people. There are many characteristics about Nick that make him an underdog. For example, he has such a positive attitude and defeats about all obstacles in his way. Nick takes what he has, and lives life to the fullest. He took his experience and used it to motivate others. He has also shown people that he is brave, risk taking, and doesn’t let his disability define him. Nick has shown that he wouldn’t change who he is. He is proud of who he has become and knows that there is more to him than what people see on the outside. That's what makes Nick Vujicic a very inspiring underdog.


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela had a very serious problem. He was born into a racially divided South Africa. He “knew that the best way to change the system is to be the change.” In order to fix this problem, he tried nonviolent campaign but didn’t succeed. He also strategized military operations and mostly likely never dreamed of being South Africa’s democratic president. He strived to end racism, and spent 27 years in prison for his work. When he succeeded, he accomplished more than he might have thought was possible. Coming from such an unfair and cruel background, Nelson Mandela represented an underdog. He was recognized for this this by the Nobel Peace Prize before his death in 2013.
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Work Cited

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 28 May 2015. http://www.biography.com/people/gabby-douglas-20900057.


"Top 10 World’s Greatest Underdogs." SundanceTV. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2015. <http://www.sundance.tv/top-ten/top-ten-worlds-greatest-underdogs#/1>.


"Play to Your Strengths – Steps to Leverage Your Underdog Status." - REB. N.p., 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 29 May 2015. <http://www.rebonline.com.au/blog/8014-play-to-your-strengths-steps-to-leverage-your-underdog-status>.


"Man with No Limbs, Nick Vujicic, Speaks in Indian Wells." KESQ. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2015. <http://www.kesq.com/news/man-with-no-limbs-nick-vujicic-speaks-in-indian-wells/25452480>.


"Best-Sellers Initially Rejected." Best-Sellers Initially Rejected. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2015. <http://www.literaryrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/>.