I Remember when Michael Jordan was Terrible

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Michael Jordan was probably the best athlete to ever play the game of basketball.  Not only was he naturally talented, he consistently worked hard to improve his game.  He was a legendary competitor.  In every facet of the game, he outthought, outfoxed and outworked his opponents.  Then, at the peak of his success, he decided to switch sports. 

Michael Jordan’s 2 year effort to become a professional baseball player was a terrible experience to watch.  Many of the things that brought him success playing basketball did not desert him.  The work ethic, the physical skill, the competitive spirit were all still there, but he languished playing in the minor leagues.  So why didn’t he succeed, where success followed him before?  He couldn’t hit a breaking ball.

Financial success is the net result of a series of good actions and smart decisions made over time.  It requires work ethic, talent, persistence and smart decision making.  Take one of these things away and it becomes a much longer and uncertain road to success. 

Explosive earning power comes from working in your talents, doing things you love and doing them over a long period of time so others come to appreciate your work.  If you don’t love what you are doing, even if you are talented at it, the quality of the work will suffer and/or you will become so burnt out you will not succeed.  If you aren’t talented in what you do, the quality of the work will never be high enough to generate large wealth.  Without persistence, you will never develop a following that is a key driver of creating that wealth.  

We parents are always watching our children.  We often see their flaws and we try to correct them. We sometimes can see their talents and we are grateful that at least that is one area where I can take more of a “hands off” role.  Maybe we look at the marketplace and try to steer our children into the roles that we think will bring them security and success.  This is the wrong approach.  People don’t outgrow who they are.  A child who struggles with math probably won’t make a good actuary.  Another child may be very talented at math, but becomes exhausted by doing a problem set.  People have many talents, but only a few of the talents really allow us to experience a life we love.

Parents have enormous influence over their children.  Sometimes a simple throwaway comment given at a critical time may set a child on a wrong course that may take years to correct.  There are millions of people who currently work in careers which began because a well-meaning father said something like, “I think you would make a great architect.” 

Work ethic, persistence and brainpower can take a young person very far.  But she will only thrive if she is working in the right field.  We parents have a responsibility to be careful observers of our children.  Our children need to be allowed to discover their gifts and ultimately their calling.  Be mindful of what you are saying to your children.  Talk frequently about their talents, what they enjoy doing and, as they grow, what they could see themselves loving to do every day of their adult lives.  Nurture your child’s talents and find the ones that he really enjoys exercising.  These will be the key to not only wealth, but self esteem and general happiness.  As they get into adolescence, start working on a career path.  Perhaps visit a career counselor. Encourage your child to experiment with a few opportunities.  The choice of a career is one of the most important choices a person faces.  Careful work, great deliberation and time will create the best chance that your child will make the best choice. 

Michael Jordan eventually went back to basketball, where he returned to winning form, but he lost the chance to do what he loved for 3 years.  Do what you can to help your child do what they love as soon as possible.  Three years is a long time.

 I Remember when Michael Jordan was Terrible
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