Reflections On My Jordan Year: 23 Lessons Every 23-Year-Old Is Likely To Encounter

by Anannya Tripathy

Age 23 is commonly dubbed as one’s “Jordan Year," in reference to legendary basketball player Michael Jordan’s jersey number.

I am happy to report that my Jordan year has included its fair share of accomplishments.

First, there was that 35-percentile difference between my first LSAT practice test and the real deal. I've been accepted to a number of law schools; I've been published thrice; I've formed new relationships and strengthened old ones. I've experienced situations that have forever changed who I am.

Michael Jordan has maintained a degree of humility and openness about his success that I believe is just as admirable as his unrivaled accomplishments on the court.

As my Jordan year comes to a close (and the fourth anniversary of my 21st birthday draws closer), I would like to continue his off-court legacy and share 23 lessons/realizations about success and relationships that I gleaned from my Jordan year:

1. There is no confidence like the kind that comes from accomplishing/overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't.

2. You cannot change any situation unless and until you confront it.

3. Make sure your actions always align with your intentions because others will evaluate you based on how they perceive you.

4. If a situation doesn't challenge you, it stagnates you.

5. This.

6. Before you got a degree, you filled out an application. Before you were in a relationship, you had to extend the initial "hello." Before fulfilling any goal, you must have to courage to chase it.

7. Standing up for yourself should be about you and for you. It should never be about trying to change someone.

8. People only ever change for one reason: They want to. External variables (like ultimatums from a significant other) may influence a decision to change, but internal variables (like one's desire to change) will always prevail. Trying to change someone is a waste of time and believing someone has changed for any reason (other than he or she wanted to) is erroneous.

9. Your most meaningful accomplishments will be those to which you truly dedicated yourself.

10. The most painful regret is knowing you didn't give your "all" to something important to you.

11. Nobody owes you anything: not kindness, not trust, not openness, not respect, not caring, not understanding — not anything.

12. Once you accept that people are never under any obligation to be good to you, you’ll (hopefully) learn to avoid those who would have hurt you. You owe them nothing, either.

13. Also, once you accept that people don’t have to be good to you, you'll (hopefully) understand that respect is earned, can be lost and should never be taken for granted.

14. Vulnerability and truthfulness can be uncomfortable and frightening, but they're ultimately way more productive than the false sense of peace you glean from lying to yourself.

15. Pay attention to the world around you instead of paying attention to your hopes and dreams of how the world should be. Practice rigorous honesty, especially with things you don't want to be true.

16. Seek to build relationships with people who are unlike you because you'll learn more from them.

17. You will never know all of the sacrifices that people are making at any given moment to be where they are. So, you can never know if you really want to trade places with anyone. Remember, not everything meets the eye.

18. Goals are important, but your attitude and mindset are what most directly affects your day-to-day life and ultimately, your life experience. No goal is worth your peace of mind.

19. Reminiscing about someone who was once important to you is completely normal, but mistaking those feelings for the desire to reconcile is easy to do (when such is not the case). Know when to stop.

20. Before deciding you're too good to forgive others, get off of your high horse and remember all of the second and third and thirtieth chances others have given you in your life, whether or not you deserved them. Sure, not everyone should be forgiven, but many should be.

21. If you are hung up on a person or a situation, it is because part of you believes that holding onto it/him/her will accomplish something (like satisfy your ego or need for control or allow you to remain comfortable). Figuring out why this is true will help you to let go.

22. Making progress is usually a simple matter of replacing old habits with new ones.

23. You never know who someone is, who someone knows or how someone may be able to help you (or hurt you). Take the time to get to know people and think very carefully before burning a bridge or engaging in unnecessary conflict.

Bonus: This, from MJ, himself.

Photo via We Heart It