I didn’t grow up in an “under promise and over deliver” community. In my hood, it was more fake it ’til you make it. Not once did I see even the smallest boy in the neighborhood back down from a challenge or the youngest girl admit she was in over her head. No, if you wanted respect aka “street cred” you let it be known that you were up to the task regardless of the obstacles. We carried that mentality into the streets beyond the curbs of our suburb like parrots on our shoulders: feathered hype-man pushing us to stretch the boundaries of our abilities. Ultimately, most of us burned out internally or set fire to those around us. Either way, we were irreparably scarred.
Those who survived learned a valuable lesson. There is nothing wrong with being underestimated. In fact, it’s one of the laws of power. Let ’em think you can’t do it. Let ’em think you don’t deserve what you have. Let ’em think you’re fulfilling a quota. My favorite is to let them think you are down for the count. Then, stand and deliver an intellectual uppercut. Bring it hard, on time and under budget. It’s so much easier without the pressure of unrealistic over-expectations.