The Formula That Leads to Wild Success- Part 1: Michael Jordan

People who back their ideas and opportunities with hard work, a positive attitude and faith are very successful. They’re the individuals we look up to and admire in society. They follow the unofficial winning formula of humanity, which they put into practice each day.

They have maximized their talent by believing in themselves, having the audacity to put themselves in the spotlight and outworking everyone while never, ever giving up. We choose people like these as role models to look up to and to inspire us. They serve as a baseline- a standard of greatness- for us to study and measure ourselves against.

Today marks the beginning of my series on individuals, who in their own inimitable way, followed this formula to overwhelming greatness. Over the course of the next two weeks, I will showcase 10 individuals who have shattered the limits of expectation to re-define greatness. Today, in Part 1, I discuss Michael Jordan, how he encountered adversity, overcame it, only to continue climbing the mountain to the top. Enjoy!

Am I Good Enough?

The next time you sit and wonder “Am I good enough?,” remember that Michael Jordan was famously cut from his varsity basketball team during his sophomore year in high school. Please, put that in perspective:

The man considered by many to be the greatest athlete of all-time was once deemed unworthy of even holding a roster spot on his high school basketball team.

As we often find in life, adversity can become our best friend. Adversity sparks ideas and provides us with much-needed motivation to work harder toward what we believe in. If we harness the energy properly, adversity can lead us to develop powerful confidence in ourselves and unbridled mental strength. In the case of Michael Jordan, this formative experience provided precisely these key ingredients which he resoundingly used to his strategic advantage.

Becoming a Star

“My attitude is if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” — Michael Jordan

Jordan went on to become a star of the varsity team during his final two years at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. He did so by practicing for hours every day, improving his jump shot, ball handling and quickness. He then earned a scholarship to the University of North Carolina where he went on to win a national championship and become the consensus National Player of the Year in his final season.

‘’I visualized where I wanted to be, what kind of player I wanted to become. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I focused on getting there.” — Michael Jordan

Jordan started to practice the mindset of visualization, imagining himself making the game-winning shot well before he stepped on the basketball court. Jordan’s imagination fueled his confidence, drive and belief in himself.

Where some players choose to shy away from being “the man” in key moments or wanting to step-up to take the game winning shot, Jordan never shied away. He drained the game-winning shot to win the national championship in college and culminated his unrivaled run with the Chicago Bulls by doing the same.

More Than Talent Alone

What made Jordan so great was that he was perhaps the most talented basketball player to ever play the game, yet he didn’t just have talent. Jordan worked as hard- if not harder- than any other player in the game. This remarkable fusion of attitude- desire, willpower and obsession with success- and hard work is what brought him to the pinnacle of his profession. We remember Michael Jordan today as “His Airness” and a winner who could do amazing things with the basketball.

But in the annals of success, for those of us who aspire to greatness, perhaps we should redefine the way we look at Jordan through the prism of this formula of success. Jordan refused to settle for anything less than the best, using his attitude, determination and faith to propel him toward a work ethic that is known around the world today. Jordan wasn’t going to let anyone beat him- he became a competitive legend in everything from playing cards to shutting down the best offensive player on the opposing team.

Faith, the underpinning of the formula that leads to wild success, can be framed as the unwavering belief in self. This mindset of faith is one that truly represents confidence at its best. While some interpreted Jordan’s confidence as arrogance, he knew that the cultivation of this mindset and the permanence of this attitude was essential to his becoming the best in the world.

Jordan believed he was the best and imagined that he was the best. His performance, over time, began to demonstrate that he actually was the best. This mindset continued to manifest itself into his commitment to excellence and becoming the best the game has ever known.

Why Jordan Succeeded

“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.”

I’ll finish with the above quote, which is one of my favorites in life. In essence, Jordan, in the prime of his career, was able to come to peace with how losing and failure helped make him the player and man that he became. It’s a stunning admission for someone who many of us have exalted to such high stature and reverence. But it’s undeniably the truth. Jordan used this formula to his advantage repeatedly in life.

You can, too.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 in my series, where I will profile the extraordinary life of Oprah Winfrey. In the meantime, if you enjoyed reading this, please be so kind as to click on the adorable green heart, and let me know what you have to say! And if you’re really feeling lucky, please consider following me here on Medium! Thank you so very kindly for reading.

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