Michael Jordan is the GOAT. 

In all my years of watching sports, I have never seen another individual with the competitive drive of MJ. There were times when he literally willed his team to not only wins, but championships. Not only did he transcend his competition, he took the game of basketball to another level on a global scale. 

MJ is a legend. 

As we find ourselves in the midst of graduation season, you will undoubtedly see the following scenario play out on social media: Graduates will post selfies and add the captions, “We did it!” or “We made it!”

The truth, however, is this: The legends never make it. 

Tom Brady. Wayne Gretzky. Derek Jeter. The Beatles. AC/DC. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. 

We all have our own definition of what a legend is and who represents the aforementioned title. For my 7-year-old son, Justin Bieber is a legend. Regardless of your opinion of who qualifies and who doesn’t, legends all have one thing in common: they never said “I made it” or “I did it.”

The world is full of average people. People that are satisfied with maintaining the status quo, that are satisfied with being just good enough, that are satisfied with doing the least amount of work possible to simply get by. “Work smarter, not harder,” they say. There are people that claim to be “experts” in their field, yet their entire life, in both words and actions, is construed of things they see and hear from others. 

I have been fortunate to spend time with a number of extremely talented people that are unbelievable at what they do. Regardless of if they work in athletics, education, the music industry, or anything in between, they all share a common trait: They are never content. 

You see kids, as soon as you become content, it’s game over. Satisfaction is the number one ingredient for regression. And just like that, the game of life will pass you by. 

My college baseball coach at MTSU, Steve Peterson, won more championship rings during his coaching career than he had fingers to wear them on. In baseball, if you won a championship in the spring, you would receive your rings that fall, usually at a home football game. One of my favorite observations about Coach Pete was that once he would receive a new ring in the fall, he would wear it until Christmas Break, at which time he would put it in his trophy display case. When I asked him why he did this, he simply said, “Last season is over. It’s time to go to work on winning another one now.”  

The legends never make it. 

I honestly believe that none of us desire to be average. Every time I pose the question to an audience, nearly every hand in the room goes up to indicate their desire to be legendary. Why, then, is there such a huge gap between the average and the legendary? In my opinion, it’s due to contentment. 

Legends have a mentality of “what’s next?” Legends don’t have a finish line. Legends create solutions instead of excuses. Legends make the time that average people “don’t have.” Legends spend the majority of their time looking out the windshield towards the next destination, not in the rearview reflecting on the past. 

Class of 2017, as you embark upon your journey towards greatness, ask yourself: Who is a legend in your mind? What did they do to get to that level? More importantly, what do they do to STAY at that level? Did they ever mention that they were satisfied with their accomplishments? Highly doubtful…

Soak in every moment of your graduation day. The look of pride on your family’s face when they see you enter the room in your cap and gown. The nervous excitement you feel when your name is called and you shake your principal’s hand. The thunderous sound of the standing ovation you and your classmates have earned by reaching this point. But through it all, remember one thing:

The legends never make it. 

Chase your dreams, kids!!!