The Dark Horse

At what point in your life have you felt like a dark horse? Maybe you feel like one right now. Actually, I do. As I continue to struggle with the endurance test of looking for work, I’ve come to feel more and more like a dark horse as I network, plead for informational interviews, grovel for low paying contract work just to get my name out there, and submit innumerable resumes and cover letters with zero response whatsoever. Yeah, I think that pretty much qualifies me as a dark horse.

What aspect of your life lends itself to this overlooked, dismissed spectre? Do you see it as a secret advantage? One person observed of me, “You’ve been under-estimated all the way along; that’s a very powerful position to be in.” Or, does it feel more like a perplexing frustration? Years ago, when I couldn’t secure any interviews for summer positions, a law school counselor described me as “an undiscovered diamond.” (It was a nice image, but her help didn’t extend to anything more concrete.)

What publicly unacknowledged talent or dismissed contribution or simple rebellious streak lurks within you? At some point in our lives, we all experience this feeling. When did it happen for you? What did you do about it, if anything? How have you incorporated this into your own, personal myth?

While there are elements to the Dark Horse experience that can feel disappointing, there is a certain amount of concomitant excitement—sort of like Clark Kent without his cape. We know what power and spirit dwells within us, even if others can’t see it. I imagine some Dark Horse candidates cross over into Feeling-Like-A-Fraud territory, but that’s not what I’m aiming for here. Is there a snort of anger with a Dark Horse? Yes, I reckon there is. After all, the rationale behind the horse being dark is because people don’t see it; and everyone wants to be seen. Or, rather, for those who expect to be seen, instead, to pass unnoticed feels like an affront. Does what I’m saying make any sense?

Of course, the entire gestalt of the Dark Horse rests on the premise of requiring the acknowledgement of others. But, at the end of the day, Re-booters know that they need to be self-evaluating, self-motivating, and independent from such third party assessments–a popular refrain here at Dignitary’s Retreat. Had we achieved perfection of those self-evaluating qualities we’d never feel like a Dark Horse because it wouldn’t matter who “sees us”! Hah, well, perhaps I’ll get there in a future lifetime because, in this one, I’m not so self-sufficient.

So, what about you? Where do you stand on this Dark Horse business? What has been your experience with it? Did it anger or frustrate you when it happened? Did it spur you on (ha ha) to action so you’d be seen? Did it make you question yourself? Or perhaps you felt secretly powerful? Maybe something else entirely? Where are you today?


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One Response to “The Dark Horse”

  1. Patrick Ross Says:

    Your statement in bold is a great takeaway. But I also liked that you have held on to people telling you that you are underestimated. That’s a third party assessment worth cherishing. Hang in there!

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