Virginia Bianco-Mathis
University professor, author

Virginia Bianco-Mathis

Business department chair of management programs at Marymount University and author of two books on executive coaching.

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Despite All Odds

Q: Exactly thirty years ago, a bunch of little known players from the United States scored a stunning upset over the Soviet hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Why do we find these kinds of success stories so compelling and what can we learn from them? What are your favorite David vs. Goliath upsets?

We seem to enjoy underdog stories because they embody the universal theme of getting ahead--despite all odds--through sheer determination, hard work, and persistence. Such stories give hope to our dreams and perpetuate the notion that any of us, no matter how down and out, has a chance to succeed in this chaotic world.

Most of the time success seems out of reach, meant only for those who already have an advantage--the biggest, brightest, most beautiful, most connected, etc. Underdog stories, such as when the little known men's basketball team from George Mason University made it to the NCAA Final Four, make us smile. We get a sense that the balance of fairness in the world has been reset.

Every once in a while the little guy wins. So we keep on truckin'.

By Virginia Bianco-Mathis  |  February 20, 2010; 8:11 PM ET  | Category:  underdog miracles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: An underdog win gives us hope | Next: Hope For Us All

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