“You could argue that Michael Jordan was as good at his job as anyone has ever been at their job in anything.”Mark Vancil, Author of Rare Air
I finished watching The Last Dance for the first time a couple of months ago. This week I started watching it again. The well-curated, bespoke quality, behind-the-scenes look at the rise of Michael Jordan and the legendary 1990s Chicago Bulls is inspiring to the core. Watching the series is perhaps one of the single best studies on how humans can harness and develop talent to become great, and while watching, the inner desire for greatness burns inside the ambitious viewer, as if the series contains some sort of ‘strive for greatness’ contagion.
A single question has stuck with me while watching. That is, what game am I playing? One of the things I find fascinating about the Michael Jordan story (which can perhaps be extended to all great athletes, more generally) is the hyper-focused and continued strive for excellence within the framework of a simple goal. That’s “the Game”, so to speak. When meditating on this, I can’t help but consider how often I over-complicate my own life ambitions, and how much I crave a simple goal—a simple “game”. For Michael, it was to score baskets and win championships. Score the most baskets and win the most championships. That’s where he invested his energy; his consciousness. That was his game.
Between the first time I watched the series and now, through a few different events, conversations, and just keeping my head down and working on this question, I’ve gratefully been able to hone knowing what my game is. And now that I know, I don’t want to hedge. Optionality is great within the game, i.e. I can “break left” or “break right”, but playing multiple games can only distract. Wake up in the morning and be the best. Maybe it’s really that simple.