Could our society do with more of Michael Jordan’s ruthless drive for success?
To the people who have not watched Netflix docu-series The Last Dance — apologies.
This column might not resonate as much as it would for someone who has just digested all 10 episodes tracking the rise of Michael Jordan and his all-conquering Chicago Bulls team of the 1990s.
It is well worth a watch, by the way.
Today’s question is this: do we, as a society, need a little bit more of Michael Jordan’s psyche in our lives?
The Last Dance painted a vivid picture of an athlete whose desire to win burned so fiercely that it burnt people along the way.
He was more than willing to castigate his teammates if he did not think they were trying hard enough.
While his unparalleled capabilities won him millions of fans, his reputation as a hard-arse — even a bully — tarnished his image in the minds of some.
It is something he was well aware of, as shown by an exchange in the Netflix series.
When asked if his ruthlessness had come at the expense of being seen as a nice guy, he choked up as he defended his approach.
If you get around to watching all of The Last Dance, ask yourself a few questions once you finish the final episode.
How does Jordan’s attitude compare with the everyone-gets-a-ribbon approach becoming so pervasive in Australia?
If he had grown up in a system where junior sports organisations refused to keep score, would he have risen to the same inspiring heights?
In a broader sense, does a society that plays too nice risk cultivating less success?
In some ways, Jordan might have been too consumed by his obsession for success.
But are we veering too far in the other direction?
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