People love to be inspired. It’s what draws us to stories of underdogs, great achievers, and even, to an extent, celebrities. We love to see how regular people just like us can succeed against all odds.
Storytellers often try to cash in on this audience appreciation for underdogs, but we can easily miss the foundational element of an underdog story: empathy. The reason the audience becomes entranced by the story of an underdog is not because underdogs are fundamentally attractive; we are entranced because we empathize with them.