The other day I watched “The Last Dance” – the Michael Jordan documentary. The moment Jordan was asked if it didn’t bother him that his intensity and mentality was at the expense of his popularity amongst his teammates – his companions – his response resonated strongly with me:
Interviewer: Through the years, do you think your intensity has come at the expense of being perceived as a nice guy?
Michael Jordan: Well, I mean… I don’t know. I mean.. winning has a price! And leadership has a price!
So, I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenged people, when they didn’t wanna be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates came after me. They didn’t endure all the things I endured, do all the things that I do.
Once you join the team, you live in a certain standard that I play the game. And I wasn’t gonna take any less.
Now, that means I have to go in and get in your ass a little bit? Then I did that.
You ask all my teammates? “The one thing about Michael Jordan was, he never asked me to do something that he didn’t fucking do.”
When people see this. They gonna say: “Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant!” Well that’s you, because you never won anything.
I wanted to win, but I wanted them to win and be a part of that as well.
Look, I don’t have to do this. I’m only doing it because it is who I am.
That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way. Break.
Why it resonated with me? Well, basically I can make almost the exact same statement. Not when it comes to sports but when it comes to walking along the path of fear and pain and especially when it comes to confronting myself with my own “bullshit”.
In the past 20 years I’ve heard many well respected therapists, healers and spiritual leaders telling me – independently of each other – that they hardly ever meet someone who is as true to himself, as reflected and as self-critical as me. And that’s not me saying that, that’s them.
Does that make me a better person? No!
Does it make me an enlightened person? Definitly not!
The only thing it makes me is: A seeker of truth. And as a seeker of truth I uncover a lot of bullshit with my presence.
And that is not a trait that makes someone necessarily very popular amongst people.
People who like to confront themselves with their own bullshit usually love me and value my honesty.
People who don’t, usually call me out to be violating borders or call me insane.
Am I insane because I share my perception – my truth – with the people I love? ‘Cause, yeah, I only do so with people I love, because I sometimes need to pull and challenge people that don’t want to be pulled for us to stay companions.
Does that make me violent or insane? Well, you know… only if they choose not to be my companions in the first place.
‘Cause, I never ask someone to confront themselves with something that I didn’t or wasn’t ready to confront myself with… and, most of all, didn’t let them confront me with… it’s not a one-way street!
So that’s how I live my life. That’s my intensity. That’s my mentality.
If you don’t want to live that way, don’t live that way.