The Winning Mindset: 4 Lessons Michael Jordan Can Teach Your Kids

The winning mindset that Michael Jordan possesses is something all our children can learn from.

The famous Gatorade commercial from the early 90’s made the slogan “Be like Mike” widely popular around the world.

Interesting fun fact: This catchy little jingle, that continues to spur new product lines today for both Gatorade and Nike (and probably has you humming the lyrics right now in your head), was created in only just a few hours.

What fascinates me more than Michael Jordan’s amazing basketball talents, is the winning mindset he has for everything in life, both on and off the court.

Even Michael Jordan’s kids are highly successful and have that winning mindset.

Michael Jordan's Kids

Many ask how many kids does Michael Jordan have and the answer is actually 5 (not just 3 kids).

Many talk about Michael Jordan’s 3 kids from his first marriage, but his new wife Yvette, gave birth to 2 identical twin daughters in 2014.

Michael Jordan’s kid Marcus Jordan (MJ), a child from his first marriage, is a very successful investor in tech startups and an entrepreneur like his father. Michael Jordan’s kid Jeffrey was a very successful College Basketball player who played for the University of Florida and University of Illinois. His daughter Jasmine Mickael is a successful business woman.

Recently I finished reading the book, Relentless by Tim Grover, who was Michael Jordan’s legendary trainer.

Throughout the book, Tim shares so much of the legend who brought the Chicago Bulls six NBA titles winning mindset.

Personally, as a NY Knicks fan, I’ve never been a huge MJ fan, but after reading this book and now countless other articles about him, I totally respect what he can teach us about having the winning mindset.

Here are four lessons your kids can learn from the winning mindset of Michael Jordan:

Do What is Easy Life Will Be Hard – Do What is Hard and Life will be Easy

During the offseason, when most players would kick back, relax with friends and travel the world, Michael looked at this time differently.

He would show up at 5:30 AM to the gym and begin training each day.

His training wasn’t just basic either.

He’d push himself till he couldn’t give any more, and then he’d be back again in the afternoon to train more.

The lesson kids can take from this is never get too comfortable, even when you’re the best or top among your peers.

Remember: Comfort is the Enemy of Success

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come” – Michael Jordan

Do. Or do not. There is No Try

Yes, this is a famous Master Yoda quote, but this is very similar to the winning mindset of Michael Jordan.

I love this famous quote from Michael:

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

The lesson kids can take from this is, in life you need to make a decision, and once you make the commitment, stick with it. It’s imperative that our kids are taught at a young age, that when they make a commitment to do something, that they give 100% of their effort to the task and that they see that task through.

Don’t allow your children to make excuses at a young age, because if they start doing this today, they’ll continue this trait into their adulthood.

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.

This is another popular saying of Michael’s and is something we all can learn from.

Tim shares in his book (mentioned earlier):

“You don’t have to love the hard work; you just have to crave the end result.”

Life is a game and it can be hard at times.

The great lesson for kids here is to share with them that throughout our life’s journey it can be tough at times.

Don’t shelter your kids from this, let them learn to work through these moments themselves.

Let them know that it’s okay if life is tough at times, it’s about playing through those moments and realizing that it’s just a brief storm that will pass and ultimately make them stronger.

I love this quote from child psychologist David Anderegg:

“If you have an infant and the baby has gas, burping the baby is being a good parent. But when you have a 10-year-old who has metaphoric gas, you don’t have to burp him. You have to let him sit with it, try to figure out what to do about it. He then learns to tolerate moderate amounts of difficulty, and it’s not the end of the world.”

Remind your kids to just play, have fun and enjoy life’s game (even when it can be tough at times).

Fear Regret more than Failure

Michael Jordan was never afraid to take the game-winning shot.

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” ~ Michael Jordan

This is an important lesson for kids to learn early on.

You and I both know, Mom and Dad, that you’ve failed plenty of times. I know I have.

Michael Jordan shares that he’s missed over 9000 shots in his career.

He’s lost 300 games.

He’s been trusted with the game-winning shot and missed countless times.

He’s failed over and over throughout his life. But that is why Michael succeeds.

Worse than failure is regret. Let your children know early on that the only time they truly fail is when they don’t try.

Encourage it and accept it (even when it’s tough at times).

We can all get competitive when we watch our children at sporting events, but remember as Dr. Shatkin shared with us recently, you’re a parent first.

When they miss that game-winning shot, give them a hug and congratulate them for being the one who took the shot.

Remember, Michael Jordan had a strong desire at the height of his basketball career to pursue another huge interest, and that was playing baseball.

Was it a huge success for Michael? Debatable, as he returned to basketball a couple years later to win a few more championships.

But you know what?

Michael didn’t fear failure and he didn’t have to live with that regret of not trying.

The Winning Mindset Summary

The winning mindset is something we should all want for our children.

That ability to strive for whatever it is they consider the best, for them to give it their all, making no excuses and having no regrets.

Michael Jordan a great example of creating a winning mindset for us parents and our children.

Here are four quick takeaways for you to share with your children and to encourage a winning mindset:

  1. Do what is hard, day in and day out, never settling for what seems easier. The herd mentality doesn’t lead to greatness.
  2. Make a commitment to do something and when you do, don’t stop or make excuses.
  3. Love the game of life and make the best of each day. It’s not easy, but you can make it fun.
  4. Go after what you want. Regrets can tear you up inside.
About The Author

Michael Kawula

I’m a husband and father of 3 amazing children. For the last 20-Years I’ve been a serial entrepreneur. My goal is to help parents empower all our children to achieve their inner greatness.I’m an author, Inc. 500 featured Company, have been interviewed by Anthony Robbins, CNN and featured in over 100 publications over the last few years.