“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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’s why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Malcolm Gladwell coined the 10,000 hour rule in his book Outliers.  Gladwell used the rule as the key to achieve success.  For Gladwell, it meant correctly practicing a skill for around 10,000 hours in order to arrive at an expertise that’s considered to be world-class. 

Bruce Lee once said, “fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick, 10,000 times.”

Achieving a goal does take practice and is often portrayed as a straight line, but it’s quite the contrary to straight.  Often, it’s more of a swirly, loopy line similar to an exhilarating ride on a roller coaster. This swirly line represents change, some we want and some we don’t want. Real life is more like the squiggly, swirly line with struggles, give-ups, hiccups, and twists and turns that jolt you from time to time. 

What can we do to increase our chances of achieving our goals and embracing change?  First, you have to know where you are going and be willing to put in the time to get there. Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee both practiced a specific skill to become “world-class” in their passion and purpose. Most likely exceeding the 10,000 hours. Each of them also experienced struggles, hiccups, and jolts along the way but stayed the course. They had a definite purpose and created the desired behaviors and habits that became automatic for them.  The legendary Jordan faced adversities, especially early in his career, but embraced his ability to turn negative into positives which eventually would lead to him becoming the all-time great player and leader he became.

Change, struggle, adversity and that swirly line you may be trying to avoid are really the pathway to success.  Recognize that the end game is not to go in a quick straight line but rather to use change and adversity as an exhilarating ride to become world-class.  Crushing your goals and living your purpose is crucial and will most likely exceed 10,000 hours of practice.  If you are clear on where you are going and practice the desired behaviors to get there, change and adversity won’t look like an obstacle it will look like an opportunity.

What do you want your line to look like?

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