In Memory of Mike Brown: 7 Ways to Succeed in Life When You Feel Second Best

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mike brown

Mike Brown was an underdog

We all suffer in life, but clearly some of us suffer more than others. Yesterday we were reminded yet again, that we don’t live in a fair system; the ugly truth is, people from minorities are marginalized and made to feel that their existence is not as valuable as others.

Michael Brown was an innocent, unarmed teen gunned down in cold blood, and in spite of the evidence, a grand jury returned a verdict declining to indict his killer Darren Wilson.

The shooting stoked racial tensions, and this recent miscarriage of justice is only making things worse.

How do we move forward and navigate through a world where systematic discrimination has become the norm?

Any country were it’s indigenous people have been oppressed and forced to live in fear (South Africa, Zimbabawe, Australia) knows the shame of being demeaned, but nowhere on this earth is that feeling more palpable than for African Americans.

Underdogs may not act like victims, but they are victimized

Particularly when others unjustly believe that they are beneath them, for no good reason other than, they are not afforded the same luxuries as their fellow citizens from birth.

Imagine being made to feel that your achievements are only half of those more priviliged, even when you give your maximum effort; when people who never expected you to win, despise it when you do. You may get a chip on your shoulder…Likewise

Being an underdog, may cause you to give up any hope for your future

Yet you’re expected to be confident, and perform at school and work with the same competence as everyone else, as if this type of negative reinforcement won’t have any effect on your progress.

I’ll never forget the first 500 women that I met on Twitter

Some who thankfully still support today. Back then I had nothing to offer but my enthusiasm, and as much as we were into motivation, at the core, we had all experienced that inexplicable feeling of being – the underdog.

lewis hamilton

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton

There’s nothing quite like watching someone’s story from beginning to end, going through the ups and downs, rooting for them, even when the rest of the world has written them off, only for them to make a sick comeback, defeat the odds and win victoriously leaving their competition in the dust.

With few exceptions, underdogs always win through sheer determination

Johnny Weissmuller

When all hope is lost and you feel frustrated, here are a few ways you can beat the odds as an underdog:

1. Work twice as hard

Your parents said it, now we’re saying it. People won’t give you much credit for your efforts and will be quick to congratulate someone doing half as much, because they have a higher status.

Work twice as hard anyway…

Expect people to make up all sorts of excuses for why you’ve done well, suggesting everything, but the fact that you slaved your butt off and slayyyed to achieve the results you did.

2. Behind every successful person is at least one good book

You may not have received the same level of education as everyone else, but don’t let that stop you from reading in your spare time, to nourish your mind and soul.

3. Surround yourself with good people

If you grew up in a household where your parents kept stressing what a failure you are, and in the same sentence spoke highly and praised your sibling; you would become a failure, and more than likely your sibling would prosper.

Be strict about the people you surround yourself with. Choose to only hang with those who lift you higher (as much as you can).

4. Do things properly

Whatever you decide to achieve in life, no matter how minor, commit yourself to do it properly. Don’t cut corners – come correct from the outset, as laying a solid foundation will help you build long lasting success.

serena willimas

World number 1 tennis player Serena Williams

5. Develop mental strength

Remember people need you to stay in your place – especially as a woman – which means you’re bound to face more opposition than most.

People will try you, on a daily basis, in the hope of deflating you, or even breaking you, but it’s your job to remain focused on your goals, and keep pressing forward.

6. Put money aside to travel

Your perspective, may force you to view life through an “I can’t” type of lens.

For instance, “I can’t because I’m black”, “I can’t because I don’t have further education”, “I can’t because I have kids”, “I can’t because of where I live.”

When you travel to other countries, you can observe how other people live. You’ll see first hand that every culture has a different mindset.

There’s plenty to learn from places like Africa, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and India, where minorities live as a majority.

7. Celebrate yourself

Know your worth and celebrate your achievements with those closest to you; understand that you may never gain validation from everyone, but that doesn’t make your life less valuable.

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