Thursday, January 21, 2010

Failure Breeds Success: So says Michael Jordan

I've never been much of an athlete. Anything that requires an inordinate amount of physical sweat just turns me off. However, I am always impressed when I read about the mental will power that goes into shaping a star athlete. The ones that are the stars, the winners. How do they think? What is it about their attitude that makes a difference in their performance? Sure, you have to have some God-given talent and ability - but that can't be enough to push you into a superstar range.

My son is a hockey player. He's got a lot of inate skill and ability. He's a thing of beauty when he skates. But, as his parents, my husband and I need to tell him just because something comes easy to you doesn't mean you don't have to continue to work hard for it. Especially when you are not doing so well - that's when the true grit of a star athlete comes through - the never giving up bit. And, of course, anything we say as parents is immediately suspect to him. What do we know about being athletes? I don't even skate, for pity's sake!

So my husband did a little digging and found an amazing quote from one of the most superstar of all superstar athletes: Mr. Michael Jordan. Here's the quote and a segment from the article on him that sums it all up quite nicely :

"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."

But Michael admits he lost hundreds of games. He missed thousands of shots in his career. He failed multiple times.

And yet he says, this is exactly why he is a success.

Michael Jordan wasn't born a basketball star. He spent hours and hours practicing.

It took time.

It took great coaching.
And it took persistence.

And there you have it, writers. Persistence. Practice. Doing something again even when you failed at it before. Superstar athletes know this. They know they will fail. And they know that learning from failure is the key thing that will help you, eventually, succeed.

We're going to print this Michael Jordan lesson out for our son so he can tack it on his wall. But you know what? I think I'm going to print one out for myself too. We all need to remember the lesson: Failure breeds success. Don't be afraid of it. Learn from it.


  1. Jordan is one of the most determined people in any walk of life. His failures and comments from others motivated him to become better and to prove them wrong.

  2. Hi Austin: Thanks for dropping by! I agree - Michael Jordon is remarkable. Good luck with your own basketball career!