Success in life is almost always built on the lessons learned from past failures. Adversity fuels us to achieve goals we never believed were possible. While some people believe that Davids only defeat Goliaths in fairy-tales, research shows that underdogs beat the odds much more often than we suspect. In an interview with Business Insider, Malcolm Gladwell reveals the premise and assertions of his new book “David and Goliath”:
Gladwell says that through his research he found that “‘Goliath’ only wins 66 percent of the time — which is first of all astonishing — so 34 percent of time someone who is one-tenth the size of his opponent wins. That blew my mind.”
Underdogs who win refuse to compete by the same standards as their opponent; instead they use an entirely different strategy that exploits their stronger opponent’s weaknesses. In business, this is essentially the judo strategy, or a way of disruptive innovation.
Gladwell also talks about how some of the most innovative people are underdogs who, usually through trying life circumstances, don’t struggle with the “over-prediction fear,” or the belief by most people that terrifying events will be worse than they really are. This mindset frees people to be more creative.
On the other hand, prestige, he says, is constricting, and “the best thing you can do mid-career is start over.”