To become the Michael Jordan of your profession

by Akbar Jaffer
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With all the extra time to spare due to self-quarantine, I find my mind and thoughts expanding into topics I generally don’t find time for. World history, life and struggles of stand up comedians and musicians, geo-political interests, conspiracy theories and more. Of course my underlying motivation is always to collect dots so in the future I have dots to connect.

One such topic I explored is about insanely great athletes; Mohammad Aly, Carl Lewis, Pelé, Diego Maradona, Babe Ruth, and of course Michael Jordan. What is it about these few individuals, these professionals who changed their game and their industry? What lessons can we apply into our respective professions and industries that can make a significant difference in the world? Leave it in a little better state than we found it in. It turns out that, when you look deep enough, it is a challenge much difficult to accomplish but it is not impossible. Here are 10 things you can do to become the Michael Jordan of your profession. If I may, If feel that Steve Jobs was the Michael Jordan of Technology industry.

Why is that important? We have some serious problems to solve. Many claim to be innovators and few do create some good products. But, long lasting, meaningful, and truly impactful innovations that change the world for the better come from a very unique place and from a very special few individuals.

  1. Know what your passion is and what your motivations are. It may take some time in trying out a few things but this exercise must be done.
  2. Intense research. Learn as much about your profession, your industry, and your space.
  3. Know your competition better than they do. Their successes but, most importantly, their failures.
  4. Have a great set of coaches and mentors. Without them the road is very long, rocky, and painful.
  5. Have the focus and discipline to practice, practice, and practice.
  6. Know that a single success is built on 100 failures that you embraced and learned from.
  7. Be unreasonable in everything that you do. There is no “cheat day.”
  8. Have strict principles and never compromise on them no matter what the price. Like having a two-value scale of evaluating a new product, “Insanely great or total shit.”
  9. Never stop learning. This is not just books and classes but real life experiences. Collect the dots. To learn more, check out Six Key Facts About Connecting the Dots for True Innovation.
  10. Know your weaknesses and do something about them. Either yourself, get outside help or both.


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