Daily Dose of coach #323: Posterize Rejection

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan

When difficulties or unexpected change arrives, our initial response is looking for the easiest solution. This is human nature to choose the path of least resistance. It attempts to regain a place of comfort. The best thing that can happen when thinking like this is rejection. These rejections will hurt. But what you will learn in the process of overcoming is what changes your life.

It reminds me of growing up on the mean streets of Colorado and playing lots of outdoor basketball. I was always one of the smallest kids. I didn’t hit 6 feet until I was in college. I quickly learned taller stronger kids had the advantage in this sport. As a small and skinny kid, I felt like I had two options: learn to shoot from really far away or drive to the lane and pass, or else, get my shot blocked into someone else’s yard. In taking this path of least resistance, this is what I did. The results were, I didn’t grow as a player and limited myself.

It all changed when I decided I wanted an opportunity to keep playing after high school. I set up a meeting with the college coach, and in our 5-minute meeting he told me I was too small, he’d never heard of me and laughed at me out the door. I walked out disappointed but more motivated than I’d ever been in my life.

My assistant high school coach told me if I wanted any chance, I had to be able to get my shot off faster and had to get stronger. I made three focused decisions. 1) I was going work tirelessly to figure out how to get my shot off, whenever I wanted to, against anyone, at any time. 2) I was going to harden and strengthen my body to the point that I was doing the punishing. When I took it to the basket, I wanted my defenders to take the worst part of it. 3) I was going to be the aggressor. I was going to dunk on you if I could.

My focus helped me become good enough where I was eventually asked to walk on my college basketball team. It wasn’t the path of least resistance. I got rejected a lot. I was told to give it up, a lot. It took a concentrated effort of 1000’s of hours in the gym, the weight room and playing with people much better than me. When I made the team the first thing I did was thank the coach for telling me, two years before, that I was too small and unknown to play for him.

Rejection is a great thing. It will help you focus and concentrate your mind on exactly what you need to do. It enables you to realize that nothing in this world can be taken for granted, that you have to work for and fight for what you want. It forces you out of your comfort zone. Not only that, but it motivates you to prove yourself, your abilities and brings out your competitiveness.

As one door slams in your face, it opens up opportunities for so much more. It gives you a chance sharpen your focus but also to prove yourself and other people wrong. As the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, says in the quote above, “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Or as he did many times in his career, posterize rejection.