All 3 of them were told, in one way or another, at some time or another, that their work wasn’t “good enough”. Maybe you NBA fans out there already know this, but my jaw dropped to the floor of my car as I listened to the radio a few weeks ago. Michael “Air” Jordan who we all know as #23 of the Chicago Bulls, 5 time NBA MVP, 6 time NBA Champion, 6 time NBA Finals MVP, and countless other distinctions that you can find here, retired with the NBA’s highest scoring average. And he got cut from his high school varsity basketball team.
Ever heard of a small deal called The Harry Potter series? Did you know that author J.K. Rowling had her manuscript of Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone rejected by 12 different publishing housesbefore eventually being picked up by a small publishing house called Bloomsbury (who, by the way, also advised her to get a day job). In fact, Bloomsbury picked up Rowling’s book largely because of the 8 year old daughter of its chairman who loved the manuscript’s first chapter.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett is one of my favourite books of all time and it stuns me that 60 literary agents refused to represent Stockett after the 5 years it took her to write this moving tapestry of stories. As of the end of last summer, this book had sold 5 million copies and is enjoying a well-deserved spot on The New York Times Best Seller list.
So, what else do these three people have in common? They demonstrated perseverance, passion, and purpose. They didn’t give up. They believed in their work as an undeniable part of who they are and they didn’t let anybody tell them different. Maybe there were moments of self-doubt. Maybe they had to rely on an inner or outer support system to keep going. Maybe they have other tools to help them.
Maybe we are just like them.
Maybe “I wanna be like Mike” isn’t just a cute Gatorade jingle. Even if you don’t want to be a basketball player, do you want to be you, no matter what it takes, no matter who tells you you can’t?
Think about this today. Think about what basketball or the writing and film industries would be like if people like Michael Jordan, J.K. Rowling and Kathryn Stockett let other people decide who they are and how they could or could not shine in this world. (I’ve posted this in Writing Prompts as well – it’s a great concept to spend some time with in your journal)
Think of more examples – there are plenty. If you’ve got one, leave it in a comment!