People probably think Michael Jordan learned how to dribble and shoot like a pro when he learned to walk. Ok, maybe not that young but you know what we mean. As talented as Michael may have been growing up, he wasn’t thought of as the best. Coaches actually had trouble looking past his height which didn’t reach the minimum, they usually required. That clearly didn’t stop him from playing basketball; it pushed him to work even harder. Fast-forward to present day and see what Michael has accomplished. A moment of failure gives him another reason to succeed. Here is a story about one of the first times Michael prevailed from failure:
When watching Michael Jordan playing, people don’t only see a man who gives a new definition to team sports achievement these days, but also a formidable opponent to anyone who see each game as a competition of determination. Now recognized as a surprising winning record scorer, it was failure which spurred Michael to strive for the best. “I know that fear is an obstacle for some people, but for me it is just an illusion….. Failure always makes me try harder on the next opportunity.
Michael got his competitive spirit from a natural cause. As one of five brothers in a family with discipline and spirit of progress, he was brought up with high standard and great expectation. Once when he deliberately didn’t go to school, Michael’s mother took him to her office and made him sit in the car doing his school lessons watched by his mother from her office window. His family felt that Michael was not only good at school but also in extracurricular activities. The little league team became aware that he had talent for team sports.
But he loved basketball very much, his spirit and desire to be able to play in competition events was driven even more by the rivalry with his brother Larry. Everyday both competed in one on one intense match in the back yard, and usually Larry dominated his younger brother. In fact, Larry was considered a true athlete of the family by his brother and the high school coach. They speculated Michael would be known as “Larry’s brother” when Larry grew taller than 170 cm. Michael didn’t like to be defeated, either by his brothers or others. Friends and families recalled how he kept challenging them to play Horse game until he won. He admitted he was indebted to his elder brother: “When you see me play, you see Larry play”.
The high school coach come to know Michael through Larry and invited Michael to the basketball summer camp prior to his enrollment to high school. He, together with a close friend of him, were asked to try to qualify for the university team group. Everyone in the camp admired Michael’s speed and skill, but the coach was discouraged by the possibility that Michael would not reach the minimum height required. The coach thought it might be good for Michael to play in the university junior team group for a year to get more training time. So when the list of names of the university team was announced, Michael’s mates-all of them were 198 cm in height-were in the list, but Michael was not.
It was the very moment so deeply imprinted on Michael’s life. He stared at the alphabetically arranged list of names, read and reread the J list several times, feeling sure his coach had mistakenly left his name out. Later he admitted that when he got home that day, so disappointed and ashamed, he wept. Fortunately his mother came to his side and gave him some important advices. “She said that the best thing I could do is to prove to the coach that he had made a mistake”, recalled Michael. “And, leaving my disappointment behind, I started to improve my performance”.
Michael reluctantly rejoined the junior university team squadron. But while he was recognized as a dedicated player, he changed his training intensity. Michael’s sport instructor, Ruby Sutton, was the first to notice that change: “Usually I arrive at school between 07.00 am and 07.30 am. Michael was there before me. Each time I came in and opened the door, I heard the sound of ball bouncing, in autumn, in winter, in summer. Almost every morning I had to ask him to leave the court”.
Although his height was under 183 cm, Michael quickly made himself a favourite player in the university junior team. His speed and skill were no match for his team mates. Soon, the university team players started to come earlier to the games just to watch how Michael led JV (university junior team), scoring 25 points and sometimes up to 40 points in one game. JV developed to a true team through Michael demanding from his team mates the same intensity he did to himself, and persuading the coach to urge the team to work harder under his criticisms. At the end of the day, the coach-assistant, Fred Lynch said that Michael was “A resentful loser….that keeps insisting everyone to play as hard as he does”.
At the beginning of the first year, Michael’s height increased by 10 cm. his large hands gave him the advantage of catching and holding ball better and now he was able to do slam dunks. His coach was delighted with Michael’s height and now they just could no longer ignore his talent. When eventually he was admitted into the university team, he brought something that would inspire every coach, team mates and fans during his career: “You can achieve incomparable level of skill through incomparable spirit and commitment”.
Behind his competence and spirit, lies the secret: to always appreciate failure and take advantage of it for some goodness. Through the following years Michael used to motivate himself by reflecting on his failure: “Whenever I achieve some success but feel so tired, I often think to give up and leave everything. But then I close my eyes and see again that list that didn’t include my name. usually by doing that my spirit is revived”.
He is a man s the most famous player acknowledged in the history of basket ball game-winning NBA Championship 6 times, MPV trophy 5 times, a dozen of All-Star games, NCAA titles and two Olympic gold medals. And as he is, he is convinced that he achieved his success through his willingness to fail. “who becomeI am ready to accept failure. Everyone may fail. But I don’t want to say that I don’t try.”