How Coach Phil Jackson And Michael Jordan Used Motivation And Self Development To Be Their Best
Motivation is a natural part of human nature. Everyone has a natural drive to achieve and express one’s self. The interesting thing about human nature though is that in spite of the fact that the human being is the highest order of creation in this material world people can regress and willfully self destruct.
Your natural drive must be supported with self-development in order for it to be strong and functional. Human nature is like a plant in many fundamental ways. A plant has the nature to grow and blossom. In order to do that it needs cultivation from the external environment. A plant’s nature and the environment work together to enable the plant to mature to its full potential.
In human nature natural drive and cultivation work fundamentally the same way to enable the human person to mature and achieve its full potential. In people, unlike plants, we have the ability to consciously choose our goals and the potential we want to develop.
Coach Phil Jackson assumed head coaching duties of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1989. Coach Jackson was motivated to be a coach from the beginning. It was his program of self-development that helped him achieve his dreams of coaching greatness.
In his book, SACRED HOOPS, in the Introduction he says, “When I was named head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989, my dream was not to just win championships, but to do it in a way that wove together my two greatest passions: basketball and spiritual exploration.” Coach Jackson has, to date, 11 NBA championships, more than any other NBA coach in history.
The drive to succeed as an NBA coach was supported by his passion in spiritual exploration, a path of development and cultivation. Many of his players questioned his methods and resisted his cultivation practices, but the results achieved by those methods tell a story of their own. Even Michael Jordan, a chief beneficiary of Coach Jackson’s methods was of the opinion that he “didn’t need all that Zen stuff.”
Player, Michael Jordan was motivated to be the best NBA player of his time, and win NBA championships. He outperformed most of his peers game-in and game-out for the seven years of his NBA career before he won his first championship with Coach Jackson. There is no question that Coach Jackson’s cultivating influences helped Michael achieve the success he chased for so many years.
Michael Jordan had to grow and development to become a member of a functioning organizational unit before he won his first championship. Before he won his first championship to his credit he approached Coach Jackson and told him that he could be a star performer every game, but that was not producing championships. When he performed his “magic” the other players on the team would stand around and watch which hurt the team’s overall productivity.
Together Coach Jackson and Michael Jordan set out on a developmental course to change the culture of individualism that saturated the Chicago Bulls team, and replace it with a culture of team unity and cooperation among its members to maximize the team’s full potential. In that new culture every member of the team, including Michael Jordan, would be responsible and accountable for performing their respective assignments and roles. No longer would individual statistics be the measuring stick by which each player’s performance was judged.
Michael Jordan, as well as the other players on the Bulls team, had to learn new ways of thinking and behaving. That took development and growing. It wasn’t easy. It was hard work, but it paid off in the results that Coach Jackson, Michael, and the rest of the team wanted.
What would have happened to the motivation to excel if no championships were one by Coach Jackson and Michael in particular? What would have happened without a consistent program of self-development and cultivation for the entire team? There is one thing for sure, and that is that failure breeds failure. And, when failure becomes the norm, motivation to excel declines.
Hopefully you see the connection between human drive and cultivation. One without the other is an island standing alone, unable to maximize its potential. If you see the connection you can apply these principles to achieve your dreams in business, marketing, sports, and in any area of human life.