A Mindset Lesson From “His Airness”

As a kid, I was never into “proper” sports.

The closest I came was a year I spent competing in kickboxing. But back in the eighties, martial arts was still a very niche and quite nerdy thing to be involved with.

It had little to do with sports.

And more to do with wanting to be like Bruce Lee or JCVD.

In fact, I always associated sports with the hooligan element who, quite literally, ran riot on the English football terraces every Saturday afternoon.

In school, I ran with a different clique. We played Dungeons and Dragons, watched kung fu and fantasy flicks, smoked pot, and listened to Sabbath.

We were not jocks.

But I missed that sports are a chance for us to witness greatness.

It’s where we get to see the highest levels of human potential expressed.

Whether it’s Marcelo Garcia, Simone Byles, or Cristiano Ronaldo, there are lessons we can take away from watching the best do their thing.

In the Netflix documentary THE LAST DANCE Michael Jordan tells a story about a two-game series the Chicago Bulls played against the Washington Bullets in 1993.

In the first game, LaBradford Smith, the Bullets shooting guard, outscored MJ with 37 points to His Airness’s score of just 25.

As Mike tells it, as the teams were walking off the court, Smith put his arm around Jordan and said: “Nice Game, Mike,” in a way that lit a fuse inside MJ.

A fuse that went off the next night when the teams met again.

Jordan went to town on Smith.

Turning the game into a public hazing and humiliating his opponent at every possible opportunity.

Racking up 47 points compared to LaBradfords 15.

The old saying goes, “There are levels to this shit.”

The stinger?

Jordan made the whole “nice game” thing up to fire himself up to play to a higher level.

It never really happened.

Smith never said it.

Does this sound crazy?


But greatness and insanity are often closer than you think.

So what’s the lesson?

Find your haters and use them for fuel.

And if you don’t think you have any, make one up.

In your life, some people want you to fail.

The idea of you making a positive change and leveling up your life bothers them.

And they’d like nothing better than to see you fall.

They’ll relish in your defeat, taking great pleasure in seeing you “learn your place,” and never try to better yourself again.

Take that idea, internalize it and use it for fuel to level up your game.

Let your success crush your enemies, and then see them driven before you.

It worked for MJ, and it’ll work for you too.

Stay Hungry,


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