Lebron James knows a thing or two about success. He heralded by many as one of the best, (if not the best player in the history of the NBA) and has won multiple awards for his talents. He also has three NBA championships and four NBA MVP Awards to his credit (among other accomplishments). There isn’t a college athlete out there who don’t know his story, and many look to him for examples of what they need to do to turn pro.

Lebron’s own words provide the framework for a great success model. Let’s take a look at a few of his quotes and how they relate to success as a professional athlete.

#1: “I’m going to use all my tools, my God-given ability, and make the best life I can with it.”

The tools in question involve having a good education and the right level of drive to achieve success in the areas of both academics and athletics. Drive, however, is not enough. Life goals need to be reasonable and achievable. That is where ability comes in. Do you have the ability to manage things in a way that balances study and sport?

It’s a tough question, but it needs to be considered: are you good enough to make it to the pros? If not, do you think you could be? If the answer is no, don’t neglect study time for sports. If the answer is yes, it’s time to get a little creative and learn how to manage everything.

#2: “I like criticism. It makes you strong.”

Here is where brutal honesty becomes a necessary thing. If an athlete thinking about going pro, that person should tell his or her coaches and teammates and ask for honest feedback. The outcome can be uncomfortable, but a success-driven athlete would be ready to accept criticism. Even if there is disagreement, the smart athlete considers what the consequences would be if that coach or trainer were right. If that opinion has value, it should at least be considered if not acted upon.

Criticism is never an easy thing to receive, but the only way some mistakes in your game will ever be changed is if someone else points them out. Don’t become bitter or defensive. Treat criticism as a learning tool, and its value to a future that includes professional sports should become clear.

#3: “No matter how good one individual is, it takes a whole team to win a championship.”

As an athlete, you probably understand this concept well. Let’s take it off the field, for a moment, and into the classroom. Everyone has weaknesses in academics. For many, that weakness manifests in their ability to complete writing assignments. People who understand success also recognize when they need help.

Following the same example, students who have trouble with term papers often confer with their professors, ask for extensions, or work with tutors. In some cases, they take it even further seeking direct help with the paper itself. They contact sites like online academic writing service in Canada, for example, seeking help with any stage of the writing process. In the end, all of the people involved a share in the victory when the student hands in the paper and gets a good grade.

#4: “Success isn’t owned, it’s leased. And the rent is due every day.”

Keep in mind that success is an ongoing effort. Never grow lax in either your academic or athletic pursuits. No matter how good your chances are of making it to the pros, there are no guarantees. Practice and training are always necessary. Listening to coaches and following their instructions is mandatory. Keeping ego out of it is imperative.

You can substitute study, listening to professors, and staying focused on the above examples when it comes to classwork. All of those things should be practiced with the same level of commitment.

Be Like Lebron

Whether you make it to the pros or not, the success principles taught by Lebron James have nearly universal application. If you strive to be the best, aim high, and keep challenging yourself to become better, success will find you in one form or another.