In 1994, Michael Jordan decided he wanted to play professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox. For several months, he worked from five in the morning until eleven at night at their spring training facility. He was then placed with the Birmingham Barons, a minor league team.
Despite seriously pursuing baseball for a year and a half, Michael realized he did not possess the necessary skills needed to play baseball at a high level. He struck out over a hundred times and had only three home runs in 500 at-bats. Interestingly enough, Jordan stole thirty bases because of his speed, a strength he had developed over the course of his former pro basketball career.
In looking at Jordan’s story, consider this formula:
Time + Intentional Practice = Development of Skills
A year later, Michael went back to play basketball for the Chicago Bulls. He was rusty upon first returning, and the Bulls were knocked out of the playoffs. Then Jordan worked harder than ever on his basketball game that summer. In the next season, Jordan’s team won seventy-two games, an NBA record for the most wins in a season. The Bulls went on to win the NBA championship.
Michael Jordan learned the hard way that his highest skills were best confined to a court, not a diamond.
Here’s the next ingredient for our formula:
Skills + Time + Intentional Application = Success
Honing your skills requires time, and whatever skills you develop the most will become your strengths. Michael had some baseball skills from having played the sport in high school, but his skills had not developed to the professional level he desired. This is where Jordan, a man considered the best basketball player of all time, fell short.
You can apply the equations above to anything. If you want to learn how to play guitar, what do you do after buying a guitar? Practice. Some people have innate musical talents and can figure out how to play by ear, but the majority of us need some form of guitar lessons. You might want to be a rock star after one guitar lesson, but you know that more time, energy, and practice must happen so that you can reach that level.
Success comes when you use your talents and abilities to their full potential. It never happens overnight, and the process can be slower or faster depending on your situation, talents, and abilities.
How Do You Learn?
How you learn is another important factor to consider. Are you an auditory or visual learner?
Auditory learners depend on hearing and speaking as their main way of learning. Listening to podcasts, keynote speeches, and audiobooks are fantastic ways for auditory learners to grow. Visual learners connect with information when ideas, concepts, and data are represented in images and techniques. Photos, videos, diagrams, and concept maps are great aids for visual learners as well.
When you spend your time, energy, and focus on your strengths and discovering your personality, you will find your greatest success.
What Motivates You?
Find out what motivates you. Goals are still vital to your success, but your motivation will propel you forward and encourage you as you do your work.
It matters where your motivation comes from as well. Are you internally or externally motivated?
Externally motived people:
• study because they want to get a good grade.
• participate in a sport because they want to win awards.
• clean their room to avoid a parental reprimand.
• work a job they dislike in order to make more money.
Internally motivate people:
• participate in a sport because they find it enjoyable.
• solve a puzzle because they find it interesting.
• Do work they love because they find it fulfilling.
Once you figure out whether you’re externally or internally motivated, use this as leverage to push yourself forward and to help you move toward the target ahead. That's how you can "be like Mike."