Scottie Pippen criticized Michael Jordan. And Jordan didn't flinch. He just kept on doing and playing his game and sharpening his skills.

Who is Leroy Smith? Crickets. Doesn't ring any bells? So even those times that we are superstars from time-to-time we need to reflect and go back to our game and find our equanimity.

When I was in Las Vegas I was talking to young man and when I questioned him about his why he was where he was at in life. He had lots of people to blame. And it reminded me of all the things about business that I didn't like even though I liked business.

Watching a video of Johnny Carson who talked about his mother whom he labeled the shrew, he blamed her for the failures of his marriages. Imagine.  He wasn't above the fray that we all get caught up in from time to time.

And we are supposed to ask, "not that the task gets easier but that we will get better." And when we get better at life events at coping and dealing with them then we become diamonds in the rough.

So this morning I woke thinking about the advice I gave the young man. "If we aren't getting what we want in life there is no one to blame except ourselves." I don't think he liked that and when I first said it to myself at age fifty I didn't either. It was tough medicine.

How many businesses during the pandemic blame the pandemic for their failure? It wasn't the pandemic  that was just an obstacle. Some businesses adapted and thrived during that same time that others went under. it reminds me of the story of the lady that had a meeting with a very busy businessman who could only give her five minutes. 

The woman goes into the meeting and the usual formalities occurred and the the woman says nothing. And busy businessman asks her why she hasn't said anything.

The woman intones, "It's my time."

How do we handle our time? During the pandemic I came up with a pithy quote, "We have all the time in the world and yet we don't."

Look at the downsizing of Macy's. Rarely saw anybody looking for furniture on the eighth  floor. You think they would have caught on.  And yet they continued to do the same thing time and time again thinking that it would work.

Early on Macy had a hard time keeping stores afloat. He indebted his family. Until he came to New York and then he kept on buying up property and becoming bigger and bigger until that didn't work. Do what works.

And yet in our involvement to do good we are at times thwarted in our attempts to do so. Not everyone will see brilliance.

Jordan wasn't discovered until he reached high school and had an incredible growth spurt.  Who is Leroy Smith? Crickets. Doesn't ring any bells?  How about the Hemel & Watford Royals of the Premier English Basketball League or the or Westchester Golden Apples of the United States Basketball League or Kumagai Gumi Bruins ? Still nothing? Leroy Smith was 6 foot 7  inches to Jordan's 5 foot 11 inches. Jordan got cut from the high school basketball team-too short.  Jordan wasn't discovered until he hunkered down and trained extensively and had an incredible growth spurt and the right mentor.  Jordan used to check into hotels as Leroy Smith.

Tom Brady was the 199th overall pick of the draft. Bucko Kilroy who said, ‘Is that kid even still alive right now? Did he get arrested last night? Is he dead? What’s going on?’

So when we were children we dug just for the fun of it. Now we dig looking for treasure of gold or a gusher of oil. We dig and what we find isn't always the treasure we sought. Psychology can lead to analysis paralysis.

In life they play their game and you play yours and yet the two games are both the same. We'll criticize their game and yet it is the same game that we are playing in a different way.

Did Jordan not have any opposition? Of course he did, I bet it was ferocious. So even though he is a superstar, people didn't lay down the mat for him to roll on to more acclaim.

Same with life those stripes are earned. So when met with opposition what do we do? I was a good quitter. Do you quit early and often? Some people never even get into the game. They'll tell you twelve ways that it can't be done. What happened to that motivation that you had a few moments ago? Do you stay for a while and then move on to another task that is easier and seems fulfilling? Or do we get stubborn and tough for awhile so that we can look like we put up a good fight in this task that we took from possible to impossible? Lawyers talk about how impossible things are all the time-bill fluffing.

This all reminds me of a car that I had. On the way back to NH and going home to New York it blew a head gasket or maybe it was before. My mission was to get the car home again and it was a frustrating task of stop and go. Every few miles the car would start to fill with smoke and I would pull over and let the car cool off and then put some magic syrup in the oil and then off again I was. I made it home.

Working at the Hanover Inn in Hanover NH... First I looked at the outside of the building for a few years before applying for a job there. It was an intimidating building with it's opulence only to be made more skinflinted with it's cheapness to the employees. Strange since they had a guarantee of business from the college. Anyway that is another story.

I didn't know how vicious and stressed out the restaurant industry could be. I wasn't aware of the culture and the pecking order. So most times I just shoved my emotions down and at others I spoke out when I thought I was right. When yelled at for doing the right thing-oh well. The point was that was how the game was played and I didn't understand this whole narrative.

Watching a famous screaming British Chef on television one night I realized that he didn't give up and kept on going despite the drama, abuse and nonsense. That is what made him great and that is how he learned to be the best. My friend and I didn't do that. We took the easy route out. So there is no one to blame except the person in the mirror when we fail in life. And yet we like to blame and that is so much easier. Personally I take 50 percent ownership for 100 percent of my problems.

And that's my story and I am sticking to it in my journey from Saul to Paul.