I love to read stories. Read stories that not only impress but also inspire me to act.
I have read and been inspired by lots of stories….biographies, incidents and events from the lives of great men and women, business stories and histories, from Panchtantra, Aesop’s fables, Vikramaditya, Akbar and Birbal, Tenali Raman, world of sports….the list is endless. What long lessons or lectures on topics or subjects or discourses cannot do, stories can achieve in just a matter of minutes if not hours.
One such story that I am impressed with, I am sharing with you below. What better to way to begin the new year, isn’t it?
Here is the story, story from the life of legendary basketball star Michael Jordan as I read:
Michael Jordan had four siblings and his father’s earnings were not sufficient to provide for the whole family.
He grew up in a poor neighbourhood. Exposed to mindless violence and heavy discrimination in the slums, he saw for himself only a hopeless future.
His father saw in Michael, a lost soul and decided to do something.
He gave Michael, who was 13 years old, a piece of used clothing and asked: “What do you think the value of this outfit would be?”
Jordan replied,”Maybe one dollar.”
His father asked, “Can you sell it for two dollars? If you can sell it, it would mean that you are a big help to your family.”
Jordan nodded his head, “I’ll try, but no guarantee that I’ll be successful.”
Jordan carefully washed the cloth clean. Because they didn’t have an iron, to smoothen the cloth, he levelled it with a clothes brush on a flat board, then kept it in the sun to dry. The next day, he brought the clothes to a crowded underground station. After offering it for more than six hours. Jordan finally managed to sell it for $2. He took the two dollar bill and ran home.
After that, everyday he looked for used clothing, washed and ironed it, and sold it in the crowd.
More than ten days later, his father again gave him a piece of used clothing, “Can you think of a way you can sell this for 20 bucks?”
Aghast, Jordan said, “How is it possible? This outfit can only fetch two dollars at the most.”
His father replied, “Why don’t you try it first? There might be a way.”
After breaking his head for a few hours, finally, Jordan got an idea.
He asked for cousin’s help to paint a picture of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on the garment. Then he tried to sell it in the school where the children of the rich study.
Soon a housekeeper, who was there to pick his master, bought that outfit for his master. The master was a little boy of only 10 years. He loved it so much and he gave a five dollar tip. 25 dollars was a huge amount for Jordan, the equivalent of a month’s salary of his father.
When he got home, his father gave him yet another piece of used clothing, “Are you able to resell it at a price of 200 dollars?” Jordan’s eyes lit up.
This time, Jordan accepted the clothes without the slightest doubt. Two months later a popular movie actress from the movie “Charlie’s Angels”, Farah Fawcett came to New York for her Movie promos. After the press conference, Jordan made his way through the security forces to reach the side of Farah Fawcett and requested her autograph on the piece of clothing. When Fawcett saw this innocent child asking for her autograph, she gladly signed it.
Jordan was shouting very excitedly, “This is a jersey signed by Miss Farah Fawcett, the selling price is 200 dollars!” He auctioned off the clothes, to a businessman for a price of 1,200 dollars!
Upon returning home, his father broke into TEARS and said, “I am amazed that you did it My child! You’re really great! ”
That night, Jordan slept alongside his father. His father said, “Son, in your experience selling these three pieces of clothing, what did you learn about success?”
Jordan replied, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
His father nodded his head, then shook his head, “What you say is not entirely wrong! But that was not my intention. I just wanted to show you that a piece of used clothing which is worth only a dollar can also be increased in value, Then how about us – living & thinking humans? We may be darker and poorer, but what if we CAN increase our VALUE.”
This thought enlightened young Jordan. Even a piece of used clothing could be made dignified, then why not me? There is absolutely no reason to underestimate myself.