The way I see it, you can approach success in one of two ways:
1. You can embrace it, be grateful for it, and openly recognize all the failure you had to experience to achieve your success.
2. You can flaunt it, build museums in honor of it, and act like everyone else is jealous of what you’ve accomplished.
If you’re striving to be ultra successful, you need to know what’s driving your desire. What will your success mean, and who are you glorifying in your achievement? Yourself, your team, your work ethic, or your failures?
Michael Jordan chooses to share his failures, recognizing that no one wins every time, and that it is only through hard work that he has succeeded.
Arguably the best basketball player in history, Jordan has said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
In contrast, Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2014 World Cup superstar and one of the best soccer players in the world, chooses to look like he’s bullet-proof and unnaturally gifted, and he built a museum in Milan in his honor, to house his trophies and a waxwork model of himself.
This ego and self-worship is what makes Ronaldo one of the most despised athletes in history, because for Ronaldo, all of his success is driving at one thing: making himself look good.
But you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would criticize Jordan, who was open about his failures, humble, and used it to encourage others to live their dreams.
So my question to you is: As you’re building your career, your life, and your legacy, what is the driving force behind it?
In my opinion, the reason behind all of the work we do should be to give back to others, to help them succeed, and to tell them that it can be done if you have the stick-to-it-ness to push through the challenges. That’s exactly what Jordan has done throughout his entire career.
Here’s my advice: Don’t just climb the ladder — decide what kind of person you want to be when you get to the top. If you get to the top and you have everything, but everyone hates you, that sounds a lot like failure to me.
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.