Heart of a champion – Michael Jordon

Over the course of my life, I have watched d a lot of sports on TV. I loved the action and competitiveness when I was young, and now that I am older, I love to study them, analyze them, and learn from them. I have been very fortunate to watch some incredible athletes like Michael Jordon, Tom  Brady,  Roger Federer, Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong, and John Stockton compete. The list of great athletes is huge, but the names I have listed belong to a much more elite group. Yes, these are all incredible athletes, but to me they are more. They all have the heart of a champion.

What do I mean by “heart of a champion”? Are these athletes that only want to win, that put their hearts into their sports, that are champions? No, they are all of these, but what I mean is that they have a special “it” factor and when it comes down to crunch time and the game is on the line, they not only step up, but they want to step up. They do not disappear. The pressure does not overwhelm them. And add to all of these things one more thing, they find a way to win. Many superstars will step up, in fact they love the attention, but do they all find a way to win? Do they all want it so badly that they find a way, sometimes through seemingly impossible circumstances, to win?. It is Michael Jordon with time running out and the game on the line, he wants the ball and he wants to take the shot, and even though the other team knows he will get the ball and focus all their efforts to stop him, he finds a way to score. It is Lance Armstrong with all the pressure of winning another Tour de France and with any mistake in three weeks potentially costing him the victory and team after team of competitors watching him for any signs of weakness so they can attack, stepping up and finding a way to win the Tour seven straight times. It is Tom Brady, who might not be the most athletically gifted quarterback in the league, but when it comes time to step up on the biggest stage of the game, he comes through. He finds a way. Again, these are all champions , champions with the heart of a champion.

I admire these athletes greatly. I wish I had the heart of a champion, but I am kind of the opposite. I do not do so well on the big stage, although I want to. I am like so many that have the potential and desire, and it might even come out on the smaller stages, but on the biggest stage, I disappear – I don’t find the way.

What is it? Maybe I don’t want it badly enough, so badly that it means more than anything else to me. I was watching the TV series Glee last night and Rachel Berry made a comment to Mercedes that maybe Mercedes didn’t’ want to be the star badly enough and cared more about friendships and being nice. Rachel said that she wanted to be the star more than anything else and would give anything for it, even friendships. Is this how those with the heart of a champion feel? I’m going back to Michael Jordon to see what he might say that can help:

  • I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
  • I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.
  • I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.
  • I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.
  • I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
  • There is no “i” in team but there is in win.
  • To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.
  • You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
  • My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.
  • I’ve never been afraid to fail.

Wow, there is nothing I can add to that except that I do fear to fail and I need to buy a Michael Jordon poster.

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