The Billionaire Dollar Question: What Makes Michael Jordan So Much Different Than You?

CNN recently reported that Michael Jordan hit billionaire status, becoming the only athlete with a net worth being equal to or exceeding a billion dollars. So what makes “His Airness” so different than you besides his wealth, accolades and inspiring millions in the process?

I propose to you that the answer is… NOTHING. More, I propose to you that his wealth, accolades and inspiring millions in the process came as a direct result of some very specific actions he did that I’ll list at the bottom of this article.

I wanted to “BE LIKE MIKE” growing up like every other kid in the 80s and 90’s. I wanted to wear J’s instead of my downtrodden Attack Force my mother picked up for me at PayLess. I’ve watched the numerous Sports Illustrated and ESPN back stories on his childhood, life, work ethic and championship runs. I’ve seen folks stand in line in the rain for days just to buy his $200 Retros. Heck, I remember one particular guy on my basketball team in high school fought someone in our courtyard because they spilled chocolate milk on his Jordans… on accident.

Can I do what Jordan did and continues to do today? The answer is easy, NO. He has a very unique skill set, talent and business acumen that I do not possess. So why am I ranting on Michael Jordan again? Why write about someone who is a billion times more richer than me and one of the most beloved athletes of all time? The answer is easy, I’m inspired by him.

He is arguably the best player to ever play professional basketball. More, he’s irrefutably one of the top 10 athletes of all time, regardless of the sport and decade.

However, Michael Jordan is still no different than you and I. That is, if you can get past his accomplishments.

It was all a dream… – Biggie

He started his pursuit to greatness with a dream. And as he took steps toward achieving his dream(s) he developed and trained his God-given talents to grow stronger, smarter and larger than life. His character, smarts and talents drew him opportunity, influence, fame and fortune. And guess what, we all have God-given talents and a will. What we choose to do with our God-given talents and will is not on God or Jordan but us. That’s why I can confidently say, you and I are not much different than Jordan.

We often spend our time chasing stuff that God never intended for us to chase. We find ourselves being hostages to the dreams of others through our lack of trust in God and insecurities. More, we don’t take action on our dreams because somewhere in our past something zapped our confidence and self esteem. We have actually bought into the lie that we’re too deficient to achieve our God-given dreams. It’s not about being trying to be good enough at a skill, talent or craft in order to achieve your dreams. It’s about hearing, believing and obeying God and walking out the thing/dream he put in your heart. And as you live out what you see in your hard you’ll develop the necessary components along the way to help you realize your goals.

Here are 5 takeaways from Michael Jordan’s life that you can immediately put into action/play as you began to understand the answer to your Billion Dollar Question:

  1. Jordan was/is passionate. I remember watching him sink The Shot  over Craig Ehlo (who my dad played against, love you pop) in Game 5 in the 1989 Eastern Conference Championship, running, jumping into a flying kick and pumping his fist all while Ehlo was falling down on the court in disbelief. Or the pull-up jumper at the freethrow line in game 6 over Russell in 1998 Finals to win the Championship.
  2. He was/is coachable! He had a number of people pour honesty, integrity, life lessons and developmental tools into his life regarding his game and conduct as a man, businessman and athlete.
  3. Before Michael Jordan transcended the game of basketball he had to learn the fundamentals of the game. After all you have to dribble before you can crossover. Anyone who has followed Jordan knows that he didn’t make the high school varsity basketball team as a sophomore. He worked hard to make varsity the following year, averaging 20 pts. a game his final 2 years and then going to the famed North Carolina Tarheels where he won freshmen of the year and a National Championship.
  4. He was/is a fighter. Every person who has ever played with or against him commended him for his FIGHT. Horace Grant called it the Jordan Factor.
  5. No one disciplines themselves without a goal in mind. According to teammates and coaches alike Jordan’s discipline was rigorous, never-ending, inexhaustible, bizarre and sometimes out of place in pursuit of his goals. But he did what he needed to do in order to succeed at the game of basketball, life and business.

    Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. – Jim Rohn

There are a lot of things I left off this list in order to make a point.

When you push hard to achieve your dream(s) it becomes more than just getting results. It becomes about your journey, your story and how God uniquely carved you out of your mother’s womb to reflect his glory and dopeness through the earth. You aren’t that much different Jordan because you are a human being like him. You possess what he possesses, your own God-given talent & skills, a will and dream(s).

  • Be passionate about God and what you put in your heart
  • Be coachable
  • Learn the basics
  • Keep fighting
  • Remain disciplined

Now, go get it.

The Hardest Thing Is Starting – Part II Vision

Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919, the year WWI officially ended. He was the youngest of 5 children, grew up in poverty and raised by a single mother. More, he endured and overcame racism on a local and national level in a time when. Mr. Robinson defied many disparities and became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball and the first to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. He became an icon, type and model for people of color to look towards as a catalyst, inspiration and a springboard to produce great works.

He excelled in most everything he put his hands on inspite of “not ideal circumstances”. I believe he knew what he wanted out of life and wasn’t going to let the affairs of life and fear impede his progress. He not only achieved his goals through a strong will and determination but paved the way for others civil, political and social liberties through his influence. He found a way to start! [inlinetweet prefix=”RT” tweeter=”@jeremyqbutler” suffix=”#purpose #work”]#Vision[/inlinetweet]

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@jeremyqbutler” suffix=”#vision #turnup #life #entrepreneur”]Vision is a preferred future.[/inlinetweet]

You have to be laser focused on accomplishing your vision, even if you don’t know how you’ll get to your destined places. Here are some things to consider as you start moving toward them today and not tomorrow:

  1. Vision expands and grows with time and your maturity
    1. You can’t rush the development of vision much like a child
    2. It requires change
    3. Prepare yourself because action before preparation usually spells disaster
  2. Trust that God will send the right team your way to help you accomplish your vision
    1. You don’t have to have all of the the T’s crossed and I’s dotted
    2. You will not necessarily be the expert builder
    3. Jackie Robinson was heavily influenced by his brother who was awarded a Silver Medal in the 1932 Olympics behind Jesse Owens’ Gold Medal run
  3. Adversity is temporary and can do a few things to you and your vision
    1. Give you an excuse to be CORRUPT
    2. CAUSE  you to give up
    3. CONSTRUCT a mindset of laziness
    4. CREATE an inferiority COMPLEX
    5. Or increase your CHARACTER, make you stronger and refine your vision
  4. Pursuing your vision will benefit and give life to others because it
    1. Evokes passion
    2. Provides motivation
    3. Gives direction
    4. Aids purpose

Starting requires a vision. So what’s your vision and how do you plan on making it happen?

The Hardest Thing Is Starting – Part I

Why do we backdown from our hopes, dreams, assignments and ambitions of doing the very thing(s) that God has placed in us AND called us to do? We are wonderfully & fearfully made AND created in His image. More, we were/are created to have relationship with God and out of that relationship produce work that honors Him and makes his name famous. We were/are endowed with the DNA of the Creative Genius who created the intricate universe we live in. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#dream”]We have been given the mental capacity and ability to think, dream and take action[/inlinetweet]. But according to the Biblical account, as humanity spiraled downward so did our view of Him. Therefore, in our brokeness and blindness we are left with gaping holes and fragments of knowing Him in his fullness and the beauty he has for us, save Jesus.

Temptation crept into our midst and we began to listen & entertain other voices that led us astray from our paths. We left the shores of raw truth and love and went to the deserts and wildernesses of lies and wickedness in search of something more, better and greater than what we already Had.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You choose dishonour, and you will have war[/inlinetweet] – Winston Churchill

Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1937-1940, received this backlash of brilliantly spliced words from Churchill (whether you like him or not) right before World War II broke because he conceded some of Britain’s territory to Adolf Hitler in an effort to make him happy. Hitler, being the tyrant he was, was not satisfied with the inch that Chamberlain gave him so he decided to go after the mile and tried to chop down Britain at the knees. Britain soon declared war against Germany and World War II had begun. I believe the same is true with STARTING! When you don’t FIGHT for the very thing God has placed before you or concede what is rightfully yours, you are in essence choosing dishonour. Only to go to war. Now, the war may not be against a visible opponent that had fists but rather the invisible opponent in your head, which is a result of your brokeness.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#start #faith #fear #riseandgrind”]The Hardest Thing Is Starting.[/inlinetweet] Don’t believe me? Check out some of these sayings:

  1. “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run?” – Langston Hughes, A Dream Deferred
  2. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
  3. “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
  4. “The way to develop decisiveness is to start right where you are, with the very next question you face” – Napoleon Hill
  5. “It’s the job that’s never started that takes longest to finish.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
  6. “So long as you have courage and a sense of humor, it is never too late to start life afresh.” –  Freeman Dyson
  7. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” –  Walt Disney

Not starting can ravage your hopes and instill fear in your heart. But what will happen if you start?

Who Said You’re Not Good Enough?

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to connect, mentor and teach thousands of people about the power of dreaming, reaching their potential and being everything that God has created them to be. UNASHAMED. More, for the last 13 years of my life their have only been a “Few Things” that have made me second guess my decisions, rocked me to the core of my being and made me pick up my ball, go home and not play the game anymore.

And one of those “Few Things” reawakened and emblazoned itself in my mind and heart over the last week like Smaug’s thirst for gold atop of the Lonely Mountain in the Hobbit. The terrible idea of “You’re Not Good Enough” slept on my frontal lobe as I have looked over and evaluated my productivity, goals, relationships and mountains. And by all means… last year was the best year of my life spiritually, relationally and financially. Therefore, this is not a rant or rabbit hole on my personal life, because it’s GOOD and has been a struggle.

Jumping into it.

So many people live in the paralysis of fear behind “You’re Not Good Enough”, because somewhere in their past someone or something told them, regardless of their situation (age, color, gender, background and etc.), “You’re Not Good Enough”. “You’re Not Good Enough” will make a grown man cry, a strong woman depressed and a child stop dreaming. This thought will keep a person up in the middle of the night much like the imaginary monster that lived under your bed when you were a young kid did. It carries with it the weight of a hundred bags of sorrows, guilt, abuse, shame, defeat and dreams that have been deferred put on the back shelf and forgotten about. It does not let up like Jordan in his Prime or the rain in Seattle, Washington. It cares nothing about your status, occupation, physical body, intellect, finances, family or belief. It seeks out your weaknesses ONLY exploit them and make you its slave.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Who lied to you?
  2. Who said you couldn’t do it?
  3. Who said you’re not good enough?
  4. Who planted this horrible seed in your head that travelled to your heart then grew into Jack and the Beanstalk and NOW seems unconquerable?

There has to come a point when enough is enough. There has to come a time when you have to renew your mindset with something different, new and foreign other than what you’ve been taught. By default many of us take the road more travelled vs the one less travelled. Why?

ACTION STEPS: The fork in the road is simple and symbolic.

  1. Which road/path will you take?
  2. What will you choose to believe?
  3. Who will you become because of the road you take?
  4. Will you continue believing a lie vs. the truth about who you are?
  5. When will you realize that you are good and worthy to have and accomplish good things?
  6. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Power Tripping on Death and Taxes

There are two things in this life that are certain. Death and Taxes. Well, that’s what most people say. I believe one is certain while the other is debatable. Everyone (rich, poor, man, woman, gay, strait, black and white) pays taxes. While Death on the contrary is not the END but the beginning of life, legacy and the realization of something that most people overlook while staring Death in the face. LOVE.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. – Mark Twain

Death comes in many forms:

  1. Disease
  2. Rejection
  3. Loneliness
  4. Deferred Hope
  5. Lack
  6. Loss

Before a plant can grow and bare fruit it has to first germinate and then be hatched through it’s outer shell, which has to die and break open in order for the plant to grow. If this shell or capsule that holds all of this new potential and possibility doesn’t die the plants future seed (new ideas) and harvest (fruit) will not be realized (produced). Death brings Life.

Let’s face it. Death SUCKS and it can be very difficult to process! But death is necessary for growth. Don’t neglect the things in your life that are dying. Embrace them with:

  1. A receptive heart
  2. A willingness to admit that you don’t know everything
  3. A conviction to do devise a new plan and go another way
  4. An open mind and attitude for emotional, spiritual, physical and mental healing
  5. A trust in God that doesn’t waver when the grits hit the fan

Taxes are sure and Death is optional. You can either die upon the Death of something or someone or live based on what you know about Death. Have courage and do not fear. Loosen up your grip and trust God when staring Death in the face and live because something is greater on the other side of it’s sting.

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Realigning Your Values To Reach Your Dreams

Back in the day values meant something. They stood for something far greater than 15 seconds of fame and the current shows on reality TV. Everyone’s values are different but somehow they all share a common thread, humanity. We all want better for ourselves and loved ones. Agreed.

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not endorsing you to realign your values to produce demeaning, illegal or harmful work that will affect you or your fellow man

Your money, bank accounts, car(s), technology, sexual prowess & libido, neighborhood and job will one day no longer greet you. They will fade. In addition, you can’t take them with you after this life. Interestingly enough, many of the things popular culture values are “the very things” that do not speak life to a generation of people who I believe, at the core of their being, need and want something more than just the flashy and material. Yes, “the very things” are attractive and sometimes enticing but values should reach deeper into the core of a man vs the surfacie crap we consume on a daily basis.

Value is by definition: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

When your values don’t lend or align themselves to support your dreams then, Houston We Have A Problem and a few options on the table:

  1. Go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that will benefit you in the long run
  2. Understand who and whose you are
  3. Understand what you bring to the table and utilize your strengths to yours advantage (and eventually others)
  4. Don’t stop dreaming because you had a hiccup in the plan
  5. Or stay where you are and never realize your dreams

A powerful staple in my life that was instilled in me by my  father at a young age has always preached, “Don’t let your dreams die”. Now, that I am older I realize what he meant. When a person’s dreams die a part of them dies.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

Realigning your values doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means you are on your way to greatness and accomplishing your dreams! Therefore, take hear and don’t be discouraged. Live and fight for your dreams because the opposite is DEATH.

Trajectory and Destination

Trajectory: The path described by an object moving in air or space under the influence of such forces as thrust, wind resistance, and gravity, esp the curved path of a projectile

Destination: The place to which a person or thing travels or is sent

In this life you will need to have enough thrust and power to get to your destination. Anything less will resort in a dream deferred, which makes the heart sick. Over the last 15 years of my life I’ve been attached/connected with some guys who defy the odds, believe, push and go just as hard as myself to get everything that is good into their storehouse. In addition, these guys, like myself, have fought, fallen, got back up and continued to pursue the calling on their lives in the areas of:

I believe that success in this life is attached to someone or something that pushes and pulls at the core of your being and makes you want to get it right. More importantly, as I believer in Jesus Christ, I also believe that you need to have the right Connection in order to thrive.

My good friends call me out when I’m foul. They encourage me when I need it! They push me to pursue my dreams and to GIVE love to my wife and kids when the world bangs me up and I feel defeated and ready to retreat to my corner. Glenn Simpson, Jontue Turner, Darius Ajai Frasure, Delonte Harrod, Mark Clayton and Tori Humber I’m grateful to walk with you guys. You all are my brothers, like the other amazing men who came from my father.

Who you are connected with speaks volumes about your trajectory and destination.

Things to consider:

  1. Who are you connected with?
  2. Where are you headed and can you get there with your current circle of influence?
  3. What cost will you pay in order to ultimately get where you are trying to go?