The American basketball legend, Michael Jordan, always believed that failures shape both one’s character and their eventual success. Despite being just a basketball player, Michael Jordan’s influence transcended borders, encompassing the entire sporting world.
In April 2019, ESPN and Netflix released a documentary series titled “The Last Dance,” shedding light on Michael Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls. The series vividly portrayed the drops of “blood, sweat, and tears” that fell on his journey alongside his teammates, leading to six NBA championships.
Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals at Chicago on June 12, 1998
The Unyielding Lesson of Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, the American basketball legend, has always believed that failures shape both his character and his success today.
Born without innate basketball talent, Michael Jordan possessed something that set him apart from ordinary players. He had an unwavering determination and an unyielding spirit.
Most people feel disheartened and afraid to try again after a failure. This is a common behavior, but not for Michael Jordan. During high school, he was cut from the basketball team due to his height and lack of skills.
Typically, this would shatter the dreams of any aspiring professional basketball player. However, Jordan wiped away his tears and continued to practice. He didn’t let the coach determine his career’s future. Early on, Jordan understood that failure doesn’t define a person, and our worth lies in our ability to rise and persevere.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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,” Jordan once said.
Jordan’s former college coach at the University of North Carolina shared a story about how he was determined to become the best. He remembers Jordan saying, “I’m going to show you, nobody works as hard as I do.” And Jordan kept his promise.
“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,” Jordan said.
In 1993, everyone felt regret and confusion when Michael Jordan retired from basketball and switched to baseball. He had just won his third NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls, so why would he suddenly change direction?
Jordan wanted something different and wanted to test his own limits once again. He had been a great basketball player, and excelling in baseball was a challenge he set for himself.
Initially, he struggled with hitting the ball, but he continued to diligently practice and improved over time. His philosophy was simple: if you want to get better, you have to train, commit to self-improvement.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying,” he emphasized.
In the documentary film “The Last Dance,” there is a scene of Michael Jordan celebrating a championship, and a reporter asked him, “Will you continue to play for another year?” Jordan replied, “This is a memorable moment, my friend. Hold on to this moment and enjoy it. Live in this moment until October, then we’ll see what happens next.”
The message from the American basketball legend is clear: Live in the present and allow yourself to celebrate the achievements you have accomplished. Don’t dwell on the past or worry too much about the future. Set goals but enjoy what you have right now. Don’t worry about missing out on opportunities you haven’t even seen yet.
In 1995, the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the NBA playoffs, and this defeat shattered Michael Jordan’s heart. But instead of taking a break after the season, he returned to the gym the very next day.
“Sometimes you’ll fail, but that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough. It just means you should try harder next time. There’s always room for improvement and different ways to achieve your goals. If I’ve given everything I have and it’s not enough, at least I won’t look back and say I was too scared,” Jordan said.