Today marks Michael Jordan’s 51st birthday.
Growing up he was one of my heroes. I remember getting a Chicago Bulls indoor basketball set as a kid and just loving it!
What he said inspired me to try, but I never did become any good at basketball. His words however stayed and I still enjoy the benefits of his wisdom in my work with artists, musicians and businesses.
Today i’d like to share some of those words with you as well as how it has shaped my view on the world.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
No matter how great we are, we’re going to fail. Dare to fail. Learn from it. Keep going. You will succeed.
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Persist. Keep working at the problem. You will find a way to move forward.
“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”
When people say: “You can’t do that!” the only answer is “Just watch me!”.
“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”
Malcolm Gladwell recently wrote a book about this called “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants”. Pick it up. It’s enlightening.
“There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.”
Sports, music, business… Whatever the arena people all have different styles, tastes & influences. This shapes them and makes them unique. Like everyone else they have their strengths and their weaknesses.
“Limits, like fear, is often an illusion.”
Our perception of what we can do often limits us before we even try.
“I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent.”
Again, we all have our influences. For Jordan it was David Thompson, Walter Davis & Jerry West just to name a few. Who and what we choose to emulate becomes a part of who we are.
“When I was young, I had to learn the fundamentals of basketball. You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.”
In “Monsters University” we get to see this illustrated in a good way. You can have all the “natural talent” in the world and not amount to much if you don’t put in the hard work required.
In earlier posts i’ve covered a bit of stuff from the fact that it only takes about 20 hours to learn the basics of a new skill. That it takes about 10,000 hours to get to level of “mastery”.
The truth is that some people need more time. These people have more hurdles or less natural traits for their chosen field. Some people need less time. These people have less hurdles or more natural traits for their chosen field.
This is covered really well in David Epstein’s “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance”.
We’re all naturally good at different things. We have our strengths and our weaknesses. Even Superman has his kryptonite.
When we find our strengths and build on them. When we find that thing which we can give that gives us even more in return. When we find a way to inject the universe with our power.
Then we flow like air.