Focus, intensity, hard work, and inevitability

I’ve written a lot about productivity over the years. And, I’ve shared an equation that I think of when I think of Productivity – Focus x Intensity x Hard work.

Focus is the continuous, iterative, process of keeping the main thing the main thing. Intensity is being 100% engaged while doing it. And, hard work requires no further introduction.

When accompanied by some luck and accompanying privilege, this combination makes productivity and success inevitable.

I was thinking of all of this when I saw “The Last Dance” – a wonderfully well made mini series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

His relentless focus, unwavering intensity, and incredible work ethic made his success an inevitability. There were so many times in the series when there were just a few seconds left for one final shot and you heard opposing players say – “We knew who was going to get that ball” – and, yet, he turned out to be unstoppable.

Jordan’s familial support system (i.e. his luck/privilege) was incredible too. It had to be – to support a career like that. It takes a village.

The series delves beautifully into his intense commitment to win, to push – and sometimes to do so too hard – his teammates to join him on that commitment, and onto his desire to just let his game do the talking.

It also dwells into the many tiny margins that went into the six championships the Bulls won. The many margins that were either decided by a jump shot by Jordan or by his incredible teammates – many of whom admitted to having been pushed to overachieve by Jordan’s desire to win.

Jordan also does a great job speaking to the price of winning, to the price of leadership, and to the price of celebrity. It isn’t always pretty.

But, few things ever are.

At the heart of it, it is a story of a remarkable athlete who, during his years with the Chicago Bulls, combined focus, intensity, and hard work to win, entertain, and inspire.

It makes for a compelling story.