MJ. Air Jordan. His Airness.
It’s been more than twelve years since fans have seen him on the court doing what he did better than anyone. (Jordan retired from the basketball court in April 2003.) His job was to make baskets and collect rings, and he did well, becoming a legend in the process.
Michael Jordan won the NCAA championship playing for the University of North Carolina in 1982. He joined the Chicago Bulls in the NBA in 1984, selected #3 in the NBA draft. He entertained people with his incredible jumping ability and his plays during his first years in the league as a young star. And he quickly became an artist of the air, creating visual memories for the ages.
He was a competitive beast on both ends of the floor and kept improving every single year, making the game look effortless when it wasn’t. He won three consecutive NBA championships (1991, 1992 and 1993), retired to take on more challenges, and came back to the Chicago Bulls in 1995 to win another historical three-peat (1996, 1997 and 1998).
Jordan was part of one of the most iconic teams that ever existed, Team USA or The Dream Team. He played in the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, teaming up with basketball icons Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley, among others. These men changed the essence of basketball forever in the summer of 1992. MJ is also a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and put NBA basketball on the global stage in an unprecedented way.
Outside basketball, he’s also a successful and productive business career. He’s his own brand of sneakers, the always-cool Nike Air Jordans. In 2015, Jordan became the first billionaire athlete in the history of sports. And of course (everyone who was born in the late 80s or early 90s knows this) he starred as himself in the most awesome and raddest movie ever made.
Now the million (or billion!) dollar question:
How did Jordan achieve such unprecedented levels of success?
He Never Quit
In every business you open, in every project you’re about to start, in every obstacle you may meet along the way, consider Jordan’s words and be stubborn enough (watch out) to realize nothing good comes easily. Give it 110% effort, and push forward regardless of the obstacles in front of you. If then the project fails anyway, damn! at least you know you tried.
“If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit.”
Flaws aside, you are who you are. Embrace your individual strengths. Don’t waste your time beating yourself up over things you can’t control, believe you can do it and trust yourself more. Appreciate your nature, and visualize that you can achieve the goal you’ve set out to do. Because if you won’t, the truth is that nobody will.
“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”
He Believed in Himself
Everything seems too difficult before someone just does it. There is no need to preach cheap philosophy to just realize we’re far greater than we think we are (even if we’ll never play basketball like Mike). Unveil your goals wherever they’re hidden and focus 100% on them. Step by step, you’ll get closer, and begin to see they’re not such impossible goals after all.
“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
He Was Smart
Simply believing in something isn’t worth much without deliberate action. You must plan, organize, and mobilize the necessary resources to get things done. Ask for help if you need it, and surround yourself with likeminded people who are striving towards their own goals. Having the right tools for the job will always increase your chances of success. Don’t be the runner without running shoes or the writer without a pen.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
He Failed, Failed and Failed Again
How many rejection letters have you got in your drawer? (Stephen King got a few, too) Or can you believe that Michael Jordan once upon a time was rejected by his high-school basketball team (maybe he wasn’t)? Everyone fails when working toward a goal. But the more you brush yourself and keep going, the better chance you have at eventual success. And yes, “keep on trying” means every single day. Use the pain as your motivation, because goals are only accomplished through consistently repeated actions.
“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.”
Basketball is Michael Jordan just as Michael Jordan is basketball. And he’s probably the greatest athlete of all sports (Magic Johnson’s words, not mine), and the only one who was, still is, and will always make you to believe you can fly.
“We all fly. Once you leave the ground you fly. Some people fly longer than others”