“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” This is just one of the quotes from the late great Kobe Bryant.
Kobe was an 18 time NBA all-star, 5 time NBA champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and most valuable player award winner. He sadly passed in early 2020 and, despite going down as one of the best basketball players of all time, what makes people remember him was his incredible drive for success and unrivaled motivation. Here are some of the key traits and some of the things that I have learned from Kobe Bryant:
- Always be the hardest worker. Despite all his accolades and successes, Kobe continued his laser-like focus throughout his career He would get to the arena hours before games were scheduled to just practice and put up shots. Members of the Olympic team would say they would just wake up and Kobe had already been in the gym for hours already completing workouts. He had this work ethic from his days in high school right up to his retirement. What this says to me that no matter whether you are at the bottom or the top, always work hard to get better at your craft.
- Stay curious and learn from others. At Kobe’s memorial ceremony Michael Jordan spoke about how Kobe would call him early in the morning curious about various moves that Jordan would do. This extended beyond basketball, after his retirement he reached out to great minds such as Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and JK Rowling. He appreciated the wealth of knowledge that can be learned from others and was not afraid to ask basic questions. “ Some of the questions that I ask will seem really, really simple and stupid, quite honestly, for them. But if I don’t know, I don’t know. You have to ask.” Whatever our goals are there are others that already have accumulated a wealth of knowledge, reach out to them and stay curious.
- Have confidence in yourself even in the highest pressure times. Kobe has given the nickname the black mamba, the reason for this was that he was said to have a killer instinct like one of the world’s deadliest snakes. During the most high-pressure situations when games were on the line Kobe would hit game-winner after game-winner throughout his career. He had faith that the hours that he put in would see him through and was not phased by the pressure. If you are an instrument player and you have to play in front of a crowd there’s no reason this needs to be any different from when you practice alone. Be confident in yourself even during high-pressure times. This however wasn’t always the case for Kobe but something he was able to develop over time based on the next trait.
- Embrace failure. In Kobe’s first-ever playoff game in 1997 against Utah, he famously attempted four shots that were all airballs, meaning they didn’t even hit the basketball rim let alone go in. For a professional, this is unheard of. They ended up losing the game and their season was over. Kobe used this as motivation and worked twice as hard during the off-season, spending hours putting up shots. By experiencing the pain of failure, can push you to be motivated and help you to never want to feel like that again. Don’t let failure get you down but use it to fuel your fire. “If you’re afraid to fail then you’re probably going to fail”
- Handle adversity with resilience. In 2013, Kobe suffered an Achilles tear, a potentially career-ending injury. He could quite easily have retired at this point accomplishing everything already possible as a basketball player. This however didn’t stop him, he applied his same work ethic to the way that he approached physiotherapy with determination. Many people in this situation would complain, give up and feel sorry for themselves thinking “why me”. Kobes focus was just getting back to his passion and returned to the court in 7 months quicker than anyone predicted. Curveballs will no doubt be thrown your way. Stay resilient and carry on, don’t waste time dwelling but look forward.
- Be in competition with yourself. Kobe was also known for the concept of the mamba mentality. He described this as constantly trying to be the best version of yourself. It’s a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday. Every day is an opportunity to develop ourselves and be better than we were yesterday, every piece of knowledge we acquire makes us more knowledgeable than we were yesterday. This is something that has inspired me and makes me think does wasting my time watching Netflix help make me better than I was yesterday.
- Give back to others. Just as Kobe would seek knowledge from those that came before him, he would make sure that he would pass everything he learned onto others and much of his later years were spent mentoring younger players. He would give talks about what is the “mamba mentality” where he shared his wisdom on how to have focus no matter what you want to do. “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they do.” — Kobe Bryant. Its easy for us to get lost on our own goals don’t forget to pass on our wisdom to help others grow.
- Finally, live your passion. I have described Kobes insane work ethic but the thing that enabled him to do that was his passion or near obsession for basketball. Whilst most of us are not lucky enough to do our passions as our day job but it doesn’t stop us from spending time after work on our passions and maybe you never know could become your day job. Even in your job, find the things that you are most passionate about, and working hard won’t feel like working.
Kobes impact and legacy will extend greater than basketball and continue to inspire people. Hopefully, this post has helped inspire you with whatever your goal or focus is.
I’m Matt and let’s reach itt!Lifestyle