Day #225:The Benefits of Disadvantages

In the book David and Goliath:Underdogs, Misfits and the art of battling giant, author Malcolm Gladwell introduces us to why our understanding of ‘disadvantages’ is wrong.

Gladwell explores how the things we consider a ‘disadvantage’ such as dyslexia has helped most people achieve things ‘normal’ people would only dream of. Using the story of David from the bible, Gladwell shows us how from history, people who have certain disadvantages have used them to their advantage. David was a shepherd boy untrained in the art of war coming against against Goliath who is a known champion and hero of the Philistines. It’s no surprise today if we think of big companies or big teams going up against a small company or team, we expect the big team to win because they have superior resources.

However, in cases where smaller teams or companies have gone against bigger oppositions and have refused to play by the generally accepted rule, the small team or company have always emerged victorious.  Think of the tales of the Hare and the Tortoise. The tortoise could never win the hare in an open race.He had to invent his own rules.

The trick is to identify your ‘disadvantage’ or weakness and figure out how to adapt the accepted rule to suit you. In cases where under dogs try to play by the rules of the big guy, the big guy always wins.David would never win against Goliath if he came with spear and sword. Instead, he came with a sling.

The big guy doesn’t understand the world of the under dog. The big guy believes too much in his strength. Thats the benefit of disadvantage. It takes the pressure off you and allows you focus on using ideas someone with ‘advantages’ or ‘normal’ people woyld never think about.

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