What should you do when people underestimate you?

Be grateful. Seriously.

Because although it may seem daunting at first, being underestimated is often a blessing in disguise.

This article will explain how, and it’ll show you five reasons why being underestimated, or unappreciated, can be a good thing.

A mindset lesson

Truly successful people have learned to either ignore the negative events in their life, or turn them into positive events.

And all it takes is a mindset shift.

It’s easier to think like everybody else. It’s easier to simply complain, whine, and say “why me”.

But the truth is that almost anything that happens to you (including the way people see you) can be interpreted as a gift, even if rationally it doesn’t make sense.

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it.

Charles Swindoll

Normally, we all would think of being underestimated or undervalued as a negative — a situation in which we have less power, less resources, and less chances.

But being underestimated doesn’t actually mean anything unless we choose to attach a meaning to it. Nor does it have to discourage us.

Being underestimated is a gift

Being underestimated can be a good thing because people’s attention can make you lose focus. When you are underestimated, it’s easier to experiment, make mistakes, and just be yourself. It also trains you to not base your self-worth on what others think. 

So from now on, see it as a gift. When those around you don’t understand your value, use it to your own advantage.

Because once you change your mindset, being underestimated does have advantages. I can think of five, and I’m going to list them below.

If you can think of other advantages, please leave a comment at the end and share your thoughts with us.

Benefits of being underestimated

1. Extra motivation

When people around you don’t appreciate you as much as they should, that gives you a massive dose of motivation to succeed and keep working on your task.

Sure, it can be encouraging to be surrounded by people who recognize your skills. But it can also prevent you from growing.

Because if everyone around you says you’re the best, then what’s the point in becoming even better?

Being underestimated gives you the opportunity to stay focused, to not be distracted by other people’s attention.

It feels great being appreciated and valued, but it can also distract you from your real goals; it can lead you to think you’ve already reached your potential.

2. Freedom to be yourself

I’ve seen it countless times — somebody makes it big, and all of a sudden their personality changes. But not in a good way.

I’m sure you can think of a few celebrities or influencers who used to be truly unique, and then felt the pressure to conform and do and say things to simply please their audience once they became popular.

And here’s the second advantage of being underestimated: if you don’t attract other people’s attention, you can truly be yourself.

Because to be fair, we are all susceptible to the way other people see us.

If we are underestimated, then we might have to remind ourselves to keep going and ignore what others think of us. No big deal.

But if we are overestimated, overvalued — that’s when it becomes really difficult to be ourselves, because after all, all that attention feels good, and we’re so afraid of losing it.

3. Mistakes aren’t as painful

We’re all afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes make us feel uncomfortable.

But they’re also one of the secrets of growth, success, and fulfillment in life.

Besides giving you the freedom to be yourself, being underestimated also gives you the freedom to experiment and try new things.

And it doesn’t really matter if you fail, if you’re awkward, if things don’t go to plan — because there is much less pressure.

If you’re underestimated, people basically expect you to make mistakes. And since mistakes make you grow, it works in your favor. It increases your chances of success.

4. Mental strength

As long as you base your sense of self-worth on what others think of you, your self-worth will be very, very fragile.

You must learn to have a healthy self esteem regardless of what people say and do to you. That’s what makes you mentally strong.

Now, being appreciated doesn’t really help with that. Seeing likes on your social profiles won’t help you be as independent as possible.

Being underestimated, on the other hand, is an opportunity to see what it feels like to be ignored, to be overlooked, and you’re going to have to develop a strong mindset to keep going.

It’s easy to feel good when everyone cheers you. If you can feel good when others ignore you, that’s when you know you are mentally strong.

5. The surprise factor

Say you own a business, and you create a product, and you start selling that product. Which outcome would you prefer?

  • Your customers expect a great product; it then turns out your product is good enough, but not as great as they thought
  • Your customers expect a good enough product; then the product surpasses their expectations

Obviously, you’d choose the latter.

Similarly, when you’re the underdog, when nobody really believes in you — that gives you the opportunity to surprise them, to make people go wow.

It gives you the opportunity to surpass any expectation, and that feels amazing both for you and the people around you.

Final thoughts

At times, others may underestimate your talent, skills, and worth.

But you decide whether that’s going to stop you from growing or not.

Anything that happens to you can be turned into fuel. Being underestimated allows you to:

  • Have extra motivation
  • Be yourself
  • Make mistakes without pressure
  • Learn to not care about others
  • Overdeliver

Psst — don’t forget to check out my collection of quotes about being underestimated!

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to share your own thoughts on the subject, please leave a comment below.