Michael Jordan and his Rules for Success

Greatness can be defined in many ways, and measured by many parameters. In the world of sports, and especially in the game of basketball, greatness is measured against the career and legacy of Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan is considered by the majority of Basketball fans, commentators and athletes to be the best to ever play the game. He had a record nine consecutive scoring titles. He was on the All-Defensive team and the All-NBA team. Most importantly, he had six trips to the NBA Finals, and he won each time.

So, what made Jordan so great? Was he born with this inherent greatness, or did he have to develop it? While each person who has achieved greatness has their own unique way of thinking, there are some common elements among them. One common thing is that they all have a list of rules that they live by. When these rules are examined, they similar. They may be stated and expressed differently, but at the core the principles are the same. Following are the rules that made Michael Jordan great.

Keep Working Hard

Nothing worth having in life comes easy. While most people remember the highlight reels, the dunks, the 50-point games and the championships, very remember that Michael was cut from his high school varsity team as a sophomore. Instead of letting that moment define him, he used it as motivation to work harder during the summer and come back better the next year. Anything worth having in life will require that you invest hard work on a consistent basis, and no one worked harder on their game than Jordan.

Ignite the Fire

Like all of the other greats in all of the other arenas in life, Jordan had a fire burning in him. Some believe that it was ignited when he was cut in high school, but he says that it was ignited when he hit the winning shot in NCAA finals to beat Georgetown as a freshman. He says he really did not know what he was doing in that moment, but that feeling ignited something within him that burned deeply.

Be Different

Jordan was also driven to be different. He did not attempt to model his game after someone else’s. He observed Magic Johnson, who was considered to be the best all-around player when Jordan entered the league. Jordan said that Magic was a great offensive player, and a decent defensive player, so he said he was going to be a great offensive player and a great defensive player. He was going to work on all elements of his game to become the most multi-dimensional player in the game.

Fail Your Way to Success

Every person who has achieved greatness and success will tell you that they failed many times along the way. The difference between them and others is how they perceived their failures. Michael Jordan is no different. He understood that failure is a part of success, and each time that he failed, he was getting closer to success.

Have High Expectations

One requisite for being great and achieving a high level of success is to raise your expectations. Life will only meet you at the level of your expectations. Jordan expected more of himself than anyone else. He pushed himself to be better each and every time he stepped on the court. He practiced and trained so hard that the moments in the game were second nature and instinctive to him.

Be Positive

Winning and be successful in life is about your mindset and attitude more than anything else. No one escapes life without encountering challenges, disappointments and heartbreak. The difference between those that thrive in adversity and those that take on the role of victim is how they perceive their moments of difficulty. Jordan met his challenges with a positive mindset, knowing that they were going to make him better.

Be Who You Were Born To Be

One major mistake that people make when they are engaging life, is attempting to be someone else, or attempting to live up to someone else’s expectations for their life. Jordan expresses the important remaining true to your roots and your dream. Each person has their own unique design and purpose, and the greatest fulfillment is living life through that purpose. Jordan always remained true to he was, remembering where he came from.

Have A Vision

There will be times when things become so difficult. You will be tired, overwhelmed and uncertain, but when you have a vision — something that defines your why — you will be able to re-center yourself and persevere through those moments. Having a vision explains why you must fight through your moments of difficulty. Jordan had more than his share of challenging moments, but he met each one of them head on because he had a specific vision that provide the compulsion and direction.

Stop Making Excuses

This particular one is huge. Most people fail in life because they have become masters at making excuses of why they cannot do what they must. The truly great achievers in the world will absolutely accept no excuses, from themselves or anyone else. There will always be obstacles, challenges and opposition. This is simply how life operates, but those obstacles are not excuses for you to turn around and lie down, they are challenges for you to overcome. When you push through those obstacles you become stronger, wiser and more refined as a person.


Practice is one of those things that many people hate. They would like to just show up and participate, but there is a great deal validity in the statement that practice make perfect. Jordan admits to being the first one on the court at practice and the last one to leave. He isolated and broke down his game to evaluate each element. He then determined how he could improve each part of his game. He practiced tirelessly to be the best in every aspect of the game. Practice is the hidden component that does not receive praise and accolades from spectators, but it is absolutely necessary to become a winner.

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