Labeled by many as the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan is a living example of what talent, focus and perseverance can do for your life and your career. And Jordan has never been afraid of sharing his vision on things.

In this article we share some of Jordan’s most inspirational quotes on success, failure, stress, patience and perseverance. Practicable wisdom from the basketball court that can help you land your dream job.

Wisdom from the basketball court

Michael Jordan needs little introduction. He is the most decorated basketball player that has ever played in the NBA. He has been renowned and admired for his versatile gameplay (Jordan holds both scoring and defensive records and titles), his legendary leaping ability (which earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan” and “His Airness”), and the immense marketing machine that was build around him by some of the world’s biggest brands.

Michael Jordan is also known for his inspirational quotes on success, failure, stress, patience and perseverance. These quotes capture Jordan’s wisdom from the basketball court and his journey to success.

Many of Jordan’s quotes can be applied directly by job seekers. So if you are looking for a new job, you may want to keep the following list of quotes in mind for that extra bit of inspiration and motivation.

Michael Jordan on failure and success

Michael Jordan has been very successful but he has had his failures as well. And he is not ashamed to admit it. In fact, Jordan even claims that:

“The key to success is failure.”


“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”

So, from now on, whenever you feel anxious to apply for a new job, remember Jordan saying:

“I’ve never been afraid to fail.”

And try to live by the following rule:

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

If you act according to these mantras, you should have no regrets and you will never have to blame yourself for not trying. Or, as Jordan puts it,

“If it turns out that my best wasn’t good enough, at least I won’t look back and say that I was afraid to try.”

The legendary Nike commercial below neatly summarizes Jordan’s view on failure and success:

Michael Jordan on the importance of preparation and practice

Before you go to your next interview, please consider that:

“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

So always prepare and never settle for second best. Always aim to give a stellar performance. On multiple occasions, Jordan has said:

“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game.”

But before you start preparing for your next interview, consider that:

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”

So do your homework – and do it well. Before your next job interview, consider answering these questions to increase your chances of success.

Michael Jordan on focus and perseverance

Success doesn’t come overnight. It requires focus and perseverance. In order to achieve your goals, keep in mind that:

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”

And don’t just expect great things. Make them happen:

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”

As with all great things in life, they usually don’t come for free:

“If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.”

And should you face any obstacles along the way, don’t let them blur your focus:

“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.”

And by all means:

“If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit!!!”

Michael Jordan on stress before and during the game

Most of us experience moments of stress before and during job interviews because of the potential impact of job interviews of our lifes and careers. If this sounds familiar to you, keep in mind the following quote:

“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot… when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”

Very true! Jordan missed a total of 26 game winning shots in his career. However, he has made many more winning shots, in part because:

“I own the guy guarding me.”

In other words, Jordan controlled the situation. This helped him keep his nerves under control. Try to control or ‘own’ your next job interview by picturing and preparing the interview beforehand. Answering these 3 questions will get you a long way.

Another great trick to focus on your results and to temper your nerves:

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

In other words: use the expectations of others to inspire and motivate you, but don’t let them paralyze you.

Michael Jordan on coping with disappointment

When you are looking for a job, you will probably have to cope with disappointments. Try to consider every disappointment (or failure of getting the job) as an opportunity to learn and to sharpen your skills. As Jordan puts it:

“Learning is a gift, even when pain is your teacher!”

Try to

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

One way of doing this is to learn from your mistakes. No matter how hard it may be, try to analyze your performance after every job interview and try to grow stronger as a result. Use the positive points to boost your confidence, and use the negative points to do a better job next time.

If you can honestly say that:

“Failure makes me work even harder”

results will follow and you’re probably well on your way for a great career.

Questions or suggestions?

Do you know any inspiring quotes that you want to share with the rest of us? What is your golden tip to increase your chances of success? We look forward to hearing from you through the contact form below.

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