Every now and then we all need a jolt of inspiration - whether we are attacking our next professional venture, personal quest, or leading a team of 15 men to overcome insurmountable odds in the race for the 2016 NBA Championship title. The latter, of course, is the case of LeBron James. As the newly crowned NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and leader of his team, James seeks inspiration in unlikely places to motivate himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers to monumental feats.
He turns to the late Steve Jobs.
Upon losing the first two games of the NBA Finals (and being outplayed in every facet of the game), James knew he had to reinstate belief into his teammates. Before Game 3 James played excerpts of Steve Jobs' iconic commencement address to Stanford University in 2005.
The Apple founder, who died in 2011, shares a story to students about dropping out of college and how taking a calligraphy class ended up helping him design the fonts and interface of the first Apple computers.
"Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later," Jobs said in his address.
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
One phrase from the famous speech stuck with Cavs forward Kevin Love: "Stay hungry, stay foolish." Love started writing it on his shoes upon watching the speech himself (even before James played it for the team) as his own personal reminder.
The whole speech, which is an excellent motivator at any time, is below:
He takes advice from Warren Buffet.
As one of Nike's signature athletes, James signed with the retail giant right out of high school in 2003 for a reported $90 million. In December of 2015, James and Nike extended their relationship to a lifetime deal. With the largest single athlete guarantee in the sports apparel company's history (speculated at more than $1 billion), it's not surprising that the sports star took to Warren Buffet for some key financial advice.
In response to a video question posed by James, Buffett shared his wisdom to CNBC's "Squawk Box".
Buffett said James should keep it simple when investing.
"Athletes generally tend to get promoted by people with restaurants and real estate," Berkshire Hathaway's CEO said. "Everybody's got an idea for him and, usually, the simplest is the best.
Buffet continued his directive of simplicity,
"Their expertise is making a lot of money doing something they do extremely well, but they aren't generally going to be able to take the time to become a professional investor."
James also asked Buffett for some basketball advice. Buffett said jokingly,
"We went up for a jump ball one time and he got it, went the length of the court [and] dunked it just as I was starting to jump, so he does have that much to learn from me."
Full advice from Buffet to James can be found below.
He watches The Godfather Trilogy.
A monster performance in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals peaked curiosity - what were the additional motivational factors that caused James to erupt? Was it the countless in-arena signage and social media puns featuring James with a baby bottle? Trash talking on the court as he verbally went head-to-head with Golden State Warriors' star, Steph Curry?
ESPN's Chris Broussard spoke with James post-game and clarified. Broussand explains:
"What he did do was, last night, to settle himself down, he watched The Godfather: Part II. He has taken to watching The Godfather now throughout this postseason. No social media, no SportsCenter, none of that stuff. He's watching movies. He's watched The Godfather six times this postseason. He said, 'Last night it just settled me down.' It's about family and so many other things, so that got him into the mood to go bust 41 tonight."
When you find yourself seeking a catalyst to propel you forward in your next endeavor, take James' advice and explore exemplary leadership outside the perimeter of your expertise. Like James, you may discover "an offer you can't refuse".