Michael Jordan's Relentless Pursuit of Imperfection

Michael Jordan's Relentless Pursuit of Imperfection

Jeremy Wolf

In Practice
July 14, 2023
Written by Jeremy Wolf, co-founder of MindReady

I've dreaded bringing up Michael Jordan. Not because he's the "GrEaTeSt Of AlL TiMe" (dm's open) but because quotes from him and Kobe and Lebron are so played out. One thing I need to stress to you when writing this newsletter is that IN PRACTICE was never designed, and will never be written, for the hit of motivation dopamine we see across social media.

I value our time together, I wouldn't do that to our relationship.

But, we need to talk about Michael because what he does is valuable: at his peak, he built a framework for himself that I haven't seen replicated by any athlete before or since. Maybe Muhammad Ali, but that's for another time.

MJ's ability to pursue imperfection as motivation is something astounding and I think this framework is something valuable that we can all learn from.

✨Michael viewed failure as an opportunity to learn, grow, and refine his game.✨

1) Shift Your Perspective

Rather than fearing failure, adopt a mindset that sees it as a necessary part of the learning process. Michael believed that failure was not something to be ashamed of, but rather a chance to improve. Understand that failure is an essential ingredient for growth and a stepping stone toward achieving greatness.

In Practice
Reframe your perception of failure. Whenever you encounter a setback, remind yourself that it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and refine your skills. Embrace failure as a valuable teacher on your journey to success.

2) Analyze and Learn

Jordan possessed an exceptional ability to analyze his failures and extract valuable lessons from them. Instead of dwelling on his mistakes, he actively sought to understand what went wrong, identifying areas for improvement, and adjusting his approach accordingly. His commitment to continuous learning enabled him to bounce back stronger.

In Practice
After encountering a failure, take the time to reflect on the situation. Identify the factors that contributed to the setback and evaluate your own role in it. Extract lessons and make a plan for improvement. Develop the habit of learning from your failures and use the insights gained to refine your approach.

3) Persevere and Stay Resilient

One of Jordan's most admirable qualities was his ability to bounce back from failures and setbacks. He didn't let disappointments define him or deter his efforts. Instead, he used them as fuel to work harder and push himself beyond his limits. Jordan's unwavering determination and resilience became the driving force behind his success.

In Practice
Cultivate resilience in the face of failure. Develop a strong sense of purpose and commitment to your goals. When you encounter setbacks, remind yourself of your why and let it fuel your perseverance. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and never allow failure to discourage you from pursuing your dreams.

4) Embrace a Growth Mindset

Michael Jordan understood the importance of having a growth mindset – the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. He didn't see failure as an indication of his limitations but rather as an invitation to improve and excel. This mindset allowed him to push his boundaries and reach new heights.

In Practice
Adopt a growth mindset in your daily life. Embrace challenges, step out of your comfort zone, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth. Replace self-limiting beliefs with a belief in your capacity to learn and improve. Develop a hunger for continuous development and strive to reach your full potential.

5) Accept Imperfection

Even for someone as talented as Michael Jordan, perfection was never the goal. He understood that failure was an inherent part of the journey toward excellence. MJ accepted his imperfections and used them as motivation to work harder and refine his skills. His willingness to acknowledge and learn from mistakes enabled him to constantly evolve.

In Practice
Embrace the idea that perfection is not the end goal. Accept that you will make mistakes along the way and that failure is a natural part of the process. Instead of being paralyzed by fear of imperfection, focus on progress and growth. Celebrate small victories and use setbacks as catalysts for improvement.