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Philosophy of Trying

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Almost everyone in the world has heard of Michael Jordan. He is probably one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived. But, did you know that he was cut from his high school basketball team when he was in the tenth grade because he was not good enough to make the team? The man who turned out to be one of the best professional basketball players of all time had an occasion in his younger days when he could not even make the team!

Try. Try Hard. Try Harder.

I realize that we typically grow to become better at what we are doing as we get older. Perhaps at fifteen, Michael Jordan had not yet begun to mature and “come into his own” as a basketball player. It took a little more time for him to develop and mature in his personal basketball skills. I think it would be safe to say that, in time, he certainly did mature and went on to dazzle most of us with his athletic ability.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Although originally quoted by Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan was the one who made the quote famous, “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I wonder if that philosophy was rooted in him very early on in life when he realized how painful it was not to try and risk failing. He knew, from first-hand experience that it was better to try and fail than not try at all. Perhaps the pain and hurt he experienced when he was cut from his high school basketball team was the very fuel he needed to work harder and try out for the team again in his junior year. He was not a quitter. He was one who wanted to experience the “thrill of victory” even if it cost him “the agony of defeat.”

I do not like pain in my life any more than you do. Which one of us would be so foolish as to say, “I think I will do something that will really hurt me?” Yet, without trying to do new and better things, we are destined to miss that shot, whether that is in sports, business, or life in general. The old saying is really true, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again!” If we are willing to take a risk, even if it costs us failure, we can still look at the situation as a learning experience that will help us grow and mature to the next level of life. Then we can honestly say that we are better off for having tried and failed, rather than sitting back and not being willing to take the risk. I know in my own life that the chances that I have taken have caused me the greatest amount of personal growth.

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