Sunday, August 24, 2008

Motivational Articles & Stories - Harvey Mackay

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Michael Jordan

By Harvey Mackay

An obscure outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, Dick Kryhoski, once
observed, "The first time I saw Ted Williams hit, I knew God hadn't
created everybody equal." The same can be said for basketball
superstar Michael Jordan. We are used to seeing Michael Jordan in
total control. The greater the pressure, the stronger his game:
Michael setting the pace, forcing the action, dictating every move
on the floor by every player with his dominating talent.

So it is no surprise that when Michael announced his retirement from
basketball, the pundits were universally in agreement: good move,
Michael.

I hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but I am not going to
join the hallelujah chorus.

No, Michael. Bad move.

The Michael Jordan that mouthed the words at the press conference
may have looked and sounded like the same Michael Jordan we have
seen ripping NBA defenses to shreds, but it wasn't. It was a shell.

Recently, Michael hit a bad patch in his private life. The gambling
and the murder of his father converged. Like any human being under
the kind of stress Jordan was under, he sought advice. And he got
it. Quit. Take stock. Get away.

That's exactly what you don't do.

You don't quit doing what you do best, you do not abandon the
wellspring of your identity, because you have been blindsided by
life. You cannot regain control over the bad parts of your life by
giving up your control over the good parts.

Let's give the scenario a flip. What do you think Michael would have
done if a) the embarrassing gambling problem had not surfaced; b)
his father had not been killed; and c) Jordan and the Chicago Bulls
had lost, not won, their third consecutive NBA championship ... with
Jordan at something less than the top of his game. Easy. He never
would have quit. His whole professional existence has been built
around the give and take of competitive sports. Sometimes you win;
sometimes you lose. You have to be able to handle both. Jordan falls
off horse; Jordan gets back on horse. Hey, Babe Ruth didn't just set
the record for homers. He set it for strikeouts, too. That's
baseball. That's basketball. That's also life.

If Michael Jordan ever needed doing what he does best, it's now. Now
is not the time to focus on the negative. It's time to get back with
the program.

The point is this, and it's a sad one: we are often forced to make
life-changing decisions under miserable circumstances. Michael
wasn't. Even though his situation was stressful, he wasn't forced to
do anything. He didn't have to sell the farm. He wasn't losing his
skills. He wasn't in the middle of a child custody battle. He was
still in control of the game. He should have put more time between
his immediate personal problems and the decision to end his career.

He would have found it much easier to handle the grief of his
father's death with his demanding occupation taking so much of his
time and energy. Now, without that therapy, he'll have unlimited
time to anguish over his tragic loss.

If he had given himself that additional time, he never would have
made the decision to retire. Now that he has that time, I feel
certain he will reverse himself.

One thing I learned early in life was that an expert in his own
field was just that, and only that. When I first bought my own
business, I remember asking my great corporate lawyer for advice
when I was about to lose one of my customers because of a service
problem I was having delivering envelopes. He had the answer:
rewrite the contract. I did, and of course, I lost the customer.
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