Dr. Boyce: Young Black Men Can Learn a Few Things from LeBron James
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
I recently wrote a piece for NewsOne.com about LeBron James. You might have heard of him: He’s that gigantic, highly athletic, incredibly wealthy, heavily accomplished brother who happens to be the latest NBA champion. As I saw LeBron climb his own ladder to greatness, I was reminded that there is a certain degree of mental toughness necessary for all of us to become high achievers.
Being the best is not enough. You have to have the ability to be AT YOUR BEST at all the right times. You also have to have ability to do what is necessary to get what you came for, never feeling sorry for yourself along the way. To be quite frank, I refer to it as the “I don’t give a f*ckedness” necessary to get what you want and to take no excuses. My moment of truth came during the lowest point of my years as a PhD student: I’d just failed a critical exam, I was about to be homeless, and I just knew I would never reach my goal. There was something about hitting rock bottom, and saying “I don’t give a *&^%, I’m going to get there or die trying,” that pushed me to become the only black man in the country to get a PhD in Finance during the year 2002.
You see, in life, you typically have a choice when you are trying to do something unique: You either get what you came for or you accept the excuse for why you never got it. The more difficult the task, the more valid the excuse. A woman seeking to get a medical degree from Harvard University has a lot of good excuses for why she can’t graduate, namely the fact that it’s very, very difficult. But she only gets that degree when she says, “I am not just going to do my best, I am going to do what is required.” This means that if your best isn’t good enough, then you do what’s necessary to make “your best” better than it was before. That’s what it means to grow.
Our greatest hurdles typically become our greatest opportunities for growth. Our most costly losses tend to breed our most valuable lessons. The road to success is typically paved with failure, tears and disappointment because God/Mother Nature have designed processes through which you must be broken down before you can be built back up stronger. If you can make it through the storm that no one else dared to venture through, it is then that you receive the prize that no one else can obtain.
My article on LeBron is here if you’d like to read it. I wrote it for black males, but the thoughts can apply to anyone.
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