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UCIE - UNESCO Centre for International Education

Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program 2012

10 Must-Read Success Lessons from Michael Jordan

10 Must-Read Success Lessons from Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active businessman, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, National Basketball Association (NBA) team.

Jordan was very instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

His biography on the NBA website states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”

It takes a very special person to become the greatest basketball player of all time, so today I want to talk about 10 success lessons from Michael Jordan.

1. The Mind

“My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.”

If you go there in your mind, it’s only a matter of time before you go there in body.

You have to see it; if you can see it, if you can perceive it, then you will find away to get it.  The question is, “How bad do you want it?”  If you don’t “want it,” you won’t get it!  If you can live without it, you will.  To succeed, you have to be hungry; you have to thirst for success.

2. Go Around

“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.”

Obstacles are what prepare you for success.  How can you go to the 10th grade, unless you have already passed the 9th grade?  The 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades are obstacles to the 10th grade.  They are there to keep you out until you’re “ready” to proceed.  They are there to ensure you don’t arrive prematurely; they are there to ensure that when you arrive, you are ready.  Obstacles aren’t a bad thing; they’re the training grounds to success.

3. Perspective

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

Every negative situation contains the seed, for a great outcome, but you must recognize it.  To succeed you must turn negative situations into positive ones.  You can’t focus on the negative, you must see the positive, it’s the only way up the ladder of success.  You must see the positive; you must become positive, in order to experience success.

4. Loyalty and Responsibility

“The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace.”

Success demands loyalty and responsibility!  Are you loyal to your duties, do you faithfully complete the critical tasks that are requisite to your success.   Are you faithful to your responsibilities, are you consistent.  To succeed, you must be loyal to your passion; you must give it your all.

5. Expectations

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

Jordan said, “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

In life you will get what you accept and what you expect.  What are you expecting?  What are you accepting?  When you change the answers to these questions, you will change your life.

6. Make It Happen

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

In order to succeed you’re going to have to kick down the door and make it happen on purpose.  You’re not going to “luck up” and succeed; success won’t come with the passage of time.  If you’re going to succeed, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves, put your head down, and make it happen at all costs.

7. Passion

“Even when I’m old and grey, I won’t be able to play it, but I’ll still love the game.”

You must have passion in order to succeed.  If success is to be yours, it will be yours while you are following your passion.  You won’t succeed doing something you despise, you won’t even succeed doing something that you like doing, you will succeed when you do what you love — what you’re passionate about.

8. Try

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

How can you succeed if you never try?  How can you go to your grave knowing that you never tried?  You may not know what paths will work best for you, the only way to discover the right path — is to try.  Try and try, until you discover your difference.  Try until you learn where you can be a success.

9. Work

“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.”

If success is to be yours, you can rest assured that you’re going to have to work at it.  To be the best, you have to give your best; you have to work harder than the rest.  While people are resting, you have to be working.

Success is a game, you have to play hard, you have to out-smart the competition, you have to put in the work.  Jordan said, “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.”

10. Fail

“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.”

Never fear failure, fear not trying, fear not giving your best, fear losing focus, but never fear failure.  Failure is the path to success.  Failure is the sign that you’re headed in the right direction.  To succeed twice as fast, fail twice as much.  Fail often, fail daily, and soon you will succeed.  Jordan said, “I’ve never been afraid to fail.”


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