The need to be perfect holds many otherwise stellar achievers back from greatness. If this seems true for you consider Michael Jordon. Jordon is the Hall of Fame basketball player considered by many to be the greatest to ever play in the NBA. Over the course of his 19-year career, he scored almost 33,000 points. That’s a stellar achievement, right? But guess what, that’s only half of the points he attempted! MJ wasn’t perfect, and yet he was.
“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth
FYI – Ruth held the record for most home runs and the most strike outs—
Play or go home
Okay, so Jordon was willing to risk missing shots because soon saw that ultimately he would make at least half of the ones he attempted. Besides, he’s famous so he could afford to miss a few, right? What about you and me and our kids? We aren’t famous (yet) and we don’t have the historical data telling us that we’ll make any shots let alone half. What can we do to help ourselves and our kids keep shooting the ball?
Perhaps Jordan’s early story can help. It’s widely known that he was cut from his varsity team in high school because at 5’11” his coach thought he was too short. What’s a guy to do about that? Being cut for lack of skill is tough, but skills can be improved. Height can’t be helped unless genetics are on your side—and they didn’t seem to be in Jordan’s favor considering that neither of his parents were over 5’9”. So, being told you’re too short to play basketball might have been enough to make a kid quit if it hadn’t been for the encouragement of his parents and his passion for the game. According to an article by Melissa Isaacson, writing for ESPN Chicago, his father said, “You have it in your heart. The tallness is within you. You can be as tall as you want to be in your thinking.” No one knew at the time that Jordan would grow to be 6’6”, he had to have faith that his dreams were possible.
A Recipe for Winning
It’s easy to admire the achievements of others AFTER they’ve overcome obstacles, but that’s not enough. Admiration must translate into useable inspiration for your big challenges. Bridge the gap between admiring achievement and inspired action by looking closely at the obstacles any great achiever faced along the way. Then find the necessary ingredients that pulled that person through adversity. For Jordan I’d guess it was the support of his family, his passion for the game, and his natural talent. If, in the course of your life, you’re faced with obstacles, find these ingredients or create them. This is where Air Jordan’s greatness is truly found and where his achievements will inspire yours.
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