10 Amazing 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 extremely 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.

10 Amazing Success Lessons from Michael Jordan:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.”

5. 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.”

6. 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 pass the 5th 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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 consistent? To succeed, you must be loyal to your passion; you must give it your all.

10. 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.

Thank you for reading and be sure to pass this article along!

Mr. Self Development is an author who teaches a motivational and practical guide to success. Please visit him at Mr. Self Development.com.

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  • theGODwithin

    amazing post. although it’s cookie cutter, they couldn’t be farther from the truth. and coming from MJ himself, you know that these tips work! i have slight objecion on #4 though. i think what he means by that quote is, your “sweating” won’t hold any weight if your mind isn’t there. like, if you’re playing basketball just for the sake of playing, then youre not going anywhere. you have to be able to get yourself mentally ready to soak up all the information and tricks that you possibly can. i think its a quote that pertains to learning and being mentally 100% everytime you step into the zone.

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  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Mr SelfDevelopment,

    Great post! There is much to learn from Michael Jordon and his successes.

    The points that resonated most strongly with me is:

    2. Passion: It is hard to be successful at doing things you don’t like. Without this drive, it is easier to give up when the going gets tough. This is why passion is so important to success.

    5. Fail: Our perception of failure affects our ability to succeed. Whether we view failure as an obstacle or a stepping stone affects our success. Failure is indeed the path to success. Only when we can change our perception of failure and learn from it can we hope to succeed.

    Thanks for sharing this great article!

  • http://blog.dennis-kempin.de Dennis Kempin

    Hey! Very inspiring article!
    And I would like to add a story to this.

    Failure and Jordan:

    I think you should be careful with “Failure is the sign that you’re headed in the right direction.”. And Michael Jordan has a wonderful example for this:

    “In 1994, one of the best basketball players in the
    world—ESPN’s greatest athlete of the 20th century—
    decided to quit the game and take up baseball instead. Jordan failed
    miserably, hitting .202 in his only full season, the lowest of any
    regular player in the league that year. He simultaneously committed
    11 errors in the outfield, also the league’s worst.”
    From Brain Rules by John Medina

    And then he returned to basketball. This is my favorite story from Jordans History. It does not only show that you should always follow, and keep following your passion. But it also shows that sometimes failure is really nothing else than a sign for.. well.. failure.

    I think it is hard to see what sign current failure is. Will you keep failing and failing without getting anywhere? Or will there a big shiny future after you fought your way through “The Dip”. Thats not so easy to decide I think.

  • http://www.transformationalmotivation.com/ M. A. Tohami

    I love this part, “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.”

    And of course the passion lesson is my all-time favorite one.

    Passion Is King. Only When You Breathe It In Can The Transformation Begin!

  • http://masteryourselfimprovement.com/?p=220 Shaf

    This post was great! Put some things into perspective for me. Some unexpected events happened that kid of put me off and I got track with my thinking. But this picked me backup and gave me the motivation to keep on going.

    Thank You!

  • http://www.2achieveyourgoals.com Dia

    These are some excellent tips. I would like to comment on number 7 “The mind” This is so powerful. If we can imagine and see it, then we can achieve everything we want. We have to have strong desire and will to do whatever it takes to succees. Thanks for sharing :)

  • http://www.theemotionmachine.com Steven

    You miss over 99% of the shots you don’t take…oh wait I think that was Gretzky.

    Anyway, athletes are great models for personal and professional development. Jordan’s quotes are timeless, especially the one in #5 about failure:

    “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.”

    Gets me every time!

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  • http://www.createmymindmovie.com Create My Mind Movie

    My personal favorite is #6 “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.”

    I have learned from my own experience that there is always a solution! The key is definitely persistence and trying new and different ways to solve the problem. Frustration and overwhelm are usually emotions you experience, just before you reach a breakthrough or the solution to your problems. I consider it the universe testing you just that “one last” time, just to see how much you really want it.

    I think what blindsides people is that they don’t expect these challenges to come. They think that success is easy. But the truth is, that maybe you have to anticipate challenges and even though you may not be experiencing one now, know that when one comes up … that you are going to rise to the challenge.

    Love this post! Thanks =)

  • http://enlightr.com Craig Thomas

    Wow… never knew Michael Jordan had many quotes, even though I knew he was successful – very interesting.

  • http://www.planetnaveen.com Winning Ideas

    Excellent write up.
    There is saying ‘ Obstacles the disturbances you see when you take your eyes off the goal ‘. So keeping focused is also one of the point one can note.

    You may want to check out a similar post on my Blog
    25 tips to make you a super performer in your job

  • http://www.pagosa.k12.co.us David Hamilton

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

    Probably need to correct wife……life? Educationally Jordan has done a great job helping coaches and teachers get across the point that effort matters. To many youth today believe greatness is a given, that you are either born with or without it. Wonder why so many wonder aimlessly?

  • Leslee Donaldson

    Hi, I just read these life lessons to my 14 year old son in the hopes to motivate him!
    I will print these and put them on his wall let’s hope it helps him get his act together and be as successful as MJ in his own way!!
    Thank you! The mom ;-)

  • http://www.elizabethsmithson.com Lizzie Smithson

    Excellent post! I love Michael Jordan and obviously I love success…perfect matchup! There are so many great quotes from him as well..and from someone who actually worked for what he has is excellent.

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  • http://www.subliminalmessagingmp3.com/ Mark Dobbie67

    Point 5 on fail, must be one of the most powerful quotes around, in fact this whole blog inspired me. Thanks

  • http://teamwithluke.com/ luke chander

    This is a great post!  These words of wisdom are not only for athletes, but also a powerful message for people trying to make it in anything they desire!  Thanks for sharing this blog!

  • Gotincome

    Many of us spend half of our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.  Carl  Ramallo

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