I share in the bewilderment that American sports bring to the vast majority of people on the planet. Physically attending huge such events in their homeland merely compounded the fog. Yet there are the odd couple of American sports people of which I’ve heard. One of them is Michael Jordan.
Now basketball is a game I played as a teenager (a long time ago) and despite being initially a way of gaining extra training to complement my more serious sporting pursuits, I reached a level of decent proficiency deriving much enjoyment. So I have an appreciation of what he must’ve been like to be considered the Pele, Bradman, Usain Bolt even, of his sport.
In ad breaks, a S African tv channel likes to show famous quotes. I recently saw one attributed to Jordan. At first I groaned, thinking it’d be nothing more than the kind of ‘successorize’ flannel you used to see on corporate walls. Recognise the image of a cringe-worthy photo with someone running up an mountain, captured in a kind of cinematic scope, with an irritating and usually by-then moribund cliché underneath?
His quote initially struck me this way, but on further thought, perhaps there was more to it…
“I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it… I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me. “
Having recently blogged that aggression is not necessarily a good thing, I was minded to ignore his view. Then I realised he probably didn’t mean aggression in terms of directed at another. Rather, it reflected an inner steel. A resolute determination to stay along the path you’d dreamt about for yourself.
Think of when you last had to make that difficult phone call (or even an entire day, or week of them). You wouldn’t succeed by shouting the other party into submission. But you would win out if, despite setbacks and knocks, you continued your journey.