Being Michael Jordan

By:  Staci Stallings

My husband heard on the radio this morning how much Michael Jordan makes, and it’s some astronomical amount like $176,000 a day… something like that.  Of course my hardworking husband thought that was a pretty cushy set-up.  Then I launched into (hat-tip to Paul Harvey) “the REST of the STORY.”

You see, what they probably failed to mention on that radio broadcast was how Michael Jordan did not make the basketball team at his high school when he was a sophomore.  The coach thought he was too little and not tall enough.  Michael begged the coach to let him play, but all the coach would offer was for him to be the towel boy, which Micheal accepted.  But the coach also said that he got to the school at like six in the morning, and practice didn’t start until seven.  So if Michael wanted to come and practice before practice, he could.

Now, here is why Michael Jordan makes $176,000 a day.  He got up and went to that gym every single morning because he wanted to make his high school team. He did not go thinking he was going to make $176,000 a day someday.  No.  He wanted to play basketball on a real team with a real coach.  So he got up, and he went for an hour every morning to do drills and shoot.

The thing is, from what I’ve read, when he made the team, he didn’t stop.  He was usually the first guy there and the last to leave.  I read somewhere that he would stand in one spot and make like 10 or 20 in a row from that spot before he moved to another spot.

I also read somewhere how many last second-shots he missed as a pro, and it was a LOT.  But he kept practicing and kept working and never gave up even at the buzzer–even if he wasn’t successful 100% of the time.

I saw a kid the other day who will probably be a major league baseball player someday.  He had this attitude as well.  The quote I remember him saying is, “Practice doesn’t make you perfect, but it always makes you better.”

That’s what Michael Jordan did.  He practiced, hundreds of thousands of hours of practice.

However, he did one other thing that makes him so much money now–even though he no longer plays basketball.  He kept his reputation clean.

I believe Tiger Woods had the same singular focus on practice and being at the top of his game, but he let the fame go to his head.  He made some very bad personal decisions, and because of those decisions, he will never make the kind of money he would have made had he kept the main thing (being a good and upright person) the main thing.

I don’t know what your calling is.  I don’t know what you love to do.  But I can tell you like I told a writing buddy of mine the other day, “If you want to get good at writing, WRITE.  Practice.  Do it. You don’t learn to play the piano by reading books about playing the piano.  You learn by doing it!”

What do you want to get good at?  It may not make you $176,000 a day, but then again, Micheal Jordan didn’t know that kind of payoff would come if he put his all into the thing that he loved, so who knows?


2 Responses to Being Michael Jordan

  1. Good post! I was actually searching for a Michael Jordan stat when I came across your page, glad I did. I think this is the problem I have re: writing, and the advice you gave your friend is spot-on. I almost get wary of writing anything bad so I sometimes bail on it, however the only thing that’s gonna get me better is to just do it, and do it a lot. I need to get the writing hours out of my brain and my keyboard to actually improve my craft.

    • You will never get good at anything by being too afraid to try. Whatever you write at first will be less-than-perfect. Gee, I’ve finished nearly 30 books now, and what comes out of my keyboard still isn’t perfect–on the first try, and sometimes on the 100th read-through. It’s not about perfection. It’s about loving it, doing something you love, learning, and being willing to be bad at it before you learn to be good. Michael is an awesome example of that. That’s why, for me, his story is so very inspiring!

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