In this final section of our deep dive into things we can all learn from LeBron James, we explore how he has chosen to believe in himself regardless of what the outside world thinks. He has shown himself to be an amazing individual who takes pride in everything he does. I hope you have enjoyed this exploration thus far and I hope you continue to come back to read about all of our upcoming topics!
Take risks and invest in yourself
What if I told you that in order to reach a high level of success you have to take some risks? What if I told you that playing it safe could get you a safe secure future but you would never reach your dreams? What if I told you that for every calculated risk you take the payoff could be exponential?
I am a firm believer in winning begot winning. If you go back and look throughout history the most successful people are people that win and they win a lot. People who learn to win early have a tendency to know what the success that they are chasing feels like. This makes it easier for them to keep pushing through any turmoil that may come their way. When you have not experienced true success you never really know why you are fighting so hard so it is easier to give up, and assume you are not supposed to be successful.
When we talk about risks, I am not saying that you should bet everything on red. I am simply saying that you cannot play it safe with every move you make. As we continue to consider some of moves LeBron made in his career we can start to see a pattern of risk with huge rewards. One of the most polarized risks LeBron took is probably the decision to leave Cleveland and take his talents to south beach. In hindsight no one thinks this was a risk, but at the time LeBron ran the risk of ostracizing an entire group of his fan base. That is a major risk when you consider his value in the market beyond basketball is directly tied to his popularity with the fans. Obviously he knew that winning cures all and that if he went to Miami and won, he would be able to win over fans again. This was a huge bet but it paid off tremendously. He went to Miami, won two titles, came back to Cleveland and won another title for the home team. Now, he has decided to bet on himself again and head west to the Lakers to solidify himself as one of the greatest of all time.
Do not let others silence your voice
These images represent a small sample size of the statements that LeBron James has made throughout his career. Although the above statements were in regards to particular social injustice issues that we continue to face in today’s America, it is an example of how willing LeBron has been to put his name on the line for something he believes in. How many times have athletes been told to stick to sports? How many times have people of a minority demographic been told to stay in their place? How many times have people in any industry been told that they cannot speak on an issue because they are not the expert?
In the world of social media, we all have a voice and LeBron has made his loud and clear. He does not let the media, his haters, not even the President of the United States silence his voice. He has recognized the impact of his words and is influence and he uses them both to support causes that are dear to his heart.
LeBron is not the first athlete to speak up about social injustice. Muhammad Ali, famously spoke up about the injustices in society and unfortunately lost some of the prime years of his boxing career because of it. Colin Kaepernick is still without a job because he was unwilling to settle for less than what is fair in the wake of multiple police brutality and wrongful deaths by the hands of the people sworn to protect. There are a slew of other examples that date back way before the current era. All of these examples show that there are sacrifices that you must make in order to speak your truth, and in all instances LeBron has spoken his truth.
Outwork everyone else
The last thing that I want to point out, is probably the first thing you notice about LeBron James. He OUTWORKS everyone. He does not rely solely his god given ability, he looks to get better each and every moment of each and every day. Simply scroll through his Instagram feed and you will not have to go far to see one of his insane workouts. Or to see a promotion for one of the many projects that he has in the works. The first thing that comes to mind when we think about an athlete working hard is how hard he is hitting the gym. Are they working to perfect their craft? As a fan we want them to work as hard as possible, so that they can help your favorite team win more games this upcoming season. In the case of LeBron and many other modern athletes, they spend just as much time on their craft as the do preparing for life after competition. In Part 2 of this series I touched on the diversified interest that LeBron has. I did not take the time and discuss how much time he devotes to those other interest because I knew this particular section was coming. He is fully committed to all of his interest and the only way he can continue to experience success in all of those areas is by continuing to outwork everyone else.
Father time is undefeated against all athletes, even LeBron will eventually succumb to the truth that no one can play basketball forever, but he has extended his career by the amount of work he puts into all that he does.
Love him or hate him, you have to respect what he has done on and off the court. You also have to appreciate all that he has brought to both basketball and society. When it is all said and done I do not know who will be considered the GOAT, but one thing that I know for sure is that we can learn a lot from LeBron and it has nothing to do with his jump-shot!