Michael Jordan is a legend. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. He had talent, he had support from family, friends, and mentors but all that would have meant nothing if he didn’t bring the ingredient of hard work to the table.
Since you’re reading this you’re probably striving towards your own visions in business and in life like Jordan did on the court. Whether you follow sports or not you can learn a great deal from the man.
Here are 3 lessons from Jordan’s life which you can apply in your own pursuits:
1. Use anger for motivation
Anger has a bad reputation. And it makes sense. It’s associated with most of the violence and conflict in the world when used destructively. However, people are motivated in different ways; some through pleasure and others through pain. But by redirecting your pain to propel you in business, you’ll get to expand your energy reserves.
Jordan never forgot. All the disappointments stored in his memory were used to nurture his anger and, like steam in an engine, drove him to put more time and energy into practice.
When he failed to make the team, when competitors wronged him, when he lost key matches, Michael Jordan remembered. And, instead of letting it be, he merged these events to strengthen his resolve to dominate the court more than all his competitors.
The greatest stories in history have heroes who eventually get blocked by an opponent, but after time, they flip the dilemma and cut away the threat while strengthening themselves in the process.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha
Who’s the antagonist in your life story?
Is it those who doubted or cheated you? Or is it something internal like a frustrating plateau you’ve reached? Most people just tolerate the frustration, but by channeling that pain to dismantle your problems and strengthen your resolve, you’ll gain more energy to reach new levels in life.
2. Dominate your specialty
Jordan was keen on basketball and baseball in his youth. His heart laid mostly in the latter, but after sensing greater potential in the court he paved a career in shooting hoops. Over the years he refined his skills and reached an unmatched level of mastery. But then, after the tragic death of his father, he retired to return to baseball; his first love.
Jordan jumped into the minor leagues with immense passion but lacked a vital element the other baseball players had in their favor, experience. He soon learned he’d bitten off more than he could chew and returned to basketball to continue his reign.
What’s the specialty you can dominate?
Jumping around too much or trying to be the best at everything costs momentum and focus. It has its place when experimenting, but most of the time, chasing many ideas at once makes it hard to specialize. Even variety businesses like Amazon or Wal-Mart have their strong points.
Knowing your company’s specialty will set you apart. Jordan had his tenacity, confidence, ability to ‘fly’ and more. And you too can harness your own. You just have to uncover it.
Simple ways to start include: inspecting the patterns behind your past achievements, and running tests and analysis on yourself, key team members, and your overall business. Gaining this data will reveal which strengths you can work on and what kind of people you can search for to balance out your weaknesses.
3. Focus on what’s important
At one time after becoming a star, Jordan was invited to play a friendly game in Germany where he prepared in a shoddy old military base bathroom. Any star would have scoffed at the situation and refused to play. But Jordan didn’t complain.
He knew what he was there for and played with the same spirit he carried in his professional games. Michael Jordan cared more about doing his job and getting results than making excuses about the environment he was in.
What environment will you push through?
After a few wins, it’s easy for entrepreneurs to hook themselves to new favorable circumstances and expect them to last forever. But the danger is when they get stuck and refuse to adapt when the environment suddenly changes, which can lead them astray.
Amidst the sweeping changes in the world, it’s the shrewd entrepreneurs who survive by proactively responding. There are a thousand paths to your end goal, and if one leads you astray, you can simply switch to another to carry on in the right direction.
“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” – Mark Caine
There are numerous sporting heroes you can learn from but Jordan was in a league of his own. And by studying the effective actions he took in his career you can gain valuable lessons to drive changes in your own life
In what ways have you driven yourself using strong emotions? And which strengths do you see yourself dominating in the world? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.