“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Watch this video:
I watched Michael Jordan play hundreds of times, including once at court side as a journalist. I’ve stood next to him during a press conference and even had a brief one on one encounter with him. It’s hard not to be impressed with MJ.
But of all the impressive things he did in his career, I think this commercial might rank at the top. That’s above all the winning shots, the dunks, the championships.
Because it explains his success. Listen to his words. I don’t know what you take from it, but here’s what I get: Jordan is saying that he is not afraid of failure; he’s experienced that many times. And because he is not afraid of failure, he is not afraid of trying, not afraid of taking the risk.
There is no reward without risk. Jordan’s athletic talent is not what separated him from others. It was his intense desire to compete and willingness to step forward on the grand stage. It was his ability to take on challenges without allowing fear to overcome him. Sure, he was probably afraid, probably had some doubt, yet he didn’t let those factors consume him.
That is why Jordan was not afraid to try baseball. OK, so he failed, for the most part, at that. But he tried it. How many of us would have the gumption to leave something we are wildly successful at, at the apex of our performance, to attempt something new? It was undoubtedly easier for Jordan to do, given that he was already a multimillionaire and not concerned about financial security. Yet, there is something to be learned from this.
To grow, we must force ourselves to stretch beyond our comfort zone, beyond what we normally do. Yes, you could fall on your face. Or, you could discover something about yourself that will make you better and more valuable.