Regardless of where you stand on the GOAT conversation, or whether you like him as a basketball player at all, everyone can appreciate the complete package that is, LeBron James!
There have been 2 constants that have existed since LeBron James was named the chosen 1 as a high school Phenom. Those two things were the high expectations that people placed on him and the consistency with which he met or exceeded those expectations. As a basketball fan I have marveled at the growth that he has shown in his game over time and his willingness to stretch himself to be better each year, even as the pressure has continued to mount. I think it is important to evaluate the decisions of successful people so that you can learn from those decisions and incorporate some of the same concepts into your personal pursuit of success.
- You control the narrative
When his career began, I, like many other people looked at him as a kid who was thrust into the limelight for a skillset that was mature beyond his years, who wasn’t ready for the ridicule that would follow. What I learned from him early on was a valuable lesson that I think I always knew and practiced but never understood its complete impact.
LeBron has been the author of his own narrative. He has not allowed any person or group of people to craft HIS message. Early in his career he limited his conversations with the media. He allowed his “support team” do the talking. He never complained about the rules being different for him. He kept his name out of the scandals or the negative stories that have the ability to derail a career, and he has been very particular about what he tells the media or what he puts his name on.
I understand that his platform is different and we don’t all have the media in our face all the time but the process of controlling your narrative is important for everyone. We tend to divulge more info than necessary to people because we want one of four things:
- Someone to understand our struggle,
- Someone to feel our pain,
- Someone to know how much we have overcome, or
- Someone to show off our success to.
In reality none of these things really matter. One of the qualities I have admired, more so recently, about LeBron James is that he is so focused that he does not need to share his story with you. He is more worried about accomplishing his goals, than he is about how what you write about him. Recently in an interview after Game 3 of this year’s playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers, a reporter asked him about J.R. Smith taking a desperation three pointer that would have won the game when Jordan Clarkson was open in the corner, and LeBron had a guy posted up on the block. His response was simple and perfect, I’m not gonna throw my teammates under the bus, like that. (of course I am paraphrasing, but you get the message) He is controlling the narrative. He was not going to allow the reporter to make a story out of something that would distract his team from their goal.
LeBron has shown the world that you only have to share what you choose and in the end you have the ability to make decisions to change your circumstances.
- Time is a limit we put on ourselves
At the age of 33 LeBron is playing at a level, the likes of which we have never seen, when conventional wisdom tells us he should be slowing down. At the end of the career of any professional athlete, you tend to hear a lot of whispers about how father time has caught up with the player, or how they are not able to do some of the things that they were once able to do. In the case of LeBron James, conventional wisdom has not held true. He has consistently improved his skillset and has shown no sign of slowing down.
As we age or progress in any filed we tend to put a limit on ourselves based on the time we have left. If you can learn anything from, possibly the greatest athlete ever, it would be that, if you focus on improving your craft and really honing your skills, the only thing that holds you back is your mentality. He has meticulously taken care of his mind, body and his craft, all with the hopes that he could be the best. As a society we could learn a lot from that attitude. When you refuse to be less than great, by taking the necessary steps and sacrifices to prepare yourself, then nothings is out of the realm of possibility. Being held hostage by the fictional delusion of time can stop you from reaching your true potential.
LeBron James has been a renaissance man in an age where the media has dictated the narrative, and we have allowed them to do so. He has shown the ability to fight through adversity without compromising who you are as a person. These tools have allowed him to be extremely successful and can be utilized by anyone, regardless of profession or physical abilities to be successful.