Kobe Bryant’s addiction to basketball, and obsession with becoming the best version of himself, was a net-positive for the World.
Through basketball, he was able to inspire an entire generation of fans, athletes, coaches, and many others.
And as an outsider looking in, it appeared to me that he was able to (almost perfectly) balance his responsibilities as a husband, father, athlete, coach, entrepreneur, … and celebrity. To me, that is what truly made him special.
Kobe’s life was an example of what is possible if someone decides to dedicate themselves to becoming the best.
He ruthlessly pursued the pinnacle of his sport and had no problem speaking openly about it.
“Everything was done to try to learn to become a better basketball player. Everything.” @kobebryant @ValuetainmentTV pic.twitter.com/KA2Vml4Nej
— John Pranjić (@ThatCroatianGuy) December 3, 2019
In May of 2019, I published an article titled “10 Thoughts On Mastery.” For the lame reason of wanting to be seen as a soccer purist, I did not mention I was inspired to write the article shortly after watching several videos of Kobe Byrant.
But here is what I wrote:
It’s a topic that I think about all of the time.
If I’m being honest, I first started thinking about mastery after reading the article “The Best Coaching Advice You’ll Ever Get, and Probably Ignore.“ By Gary Kleiban.
But since then, I’ve learned that:
- Mastery is a long, long process.
- Mastery is a personal journey.
- Measuring mastery is near impossible.
I’ve also learned that mastery should not be confused with perfection.
But most importantly, I’ve learned that using mastery as a Northstar can help me keep moving in the right direction.
So, here are ten thoughts on mastery that help guide me and might help you too:
1. Commit yourself to the process.
2. Put in the time.
3. Develop the necessary skills.
4. Hold yourself accountable.
5. Focus on the details.
6. Don’t just go through the motions.
7. Be passionate when you’re delivering your message.
8. Ignore distractions.
9. Study the people you respect.
10. Become obsessed.
And I ended the article with a quote from the book Mastery written by Robert Greene.
“You must understand the following: In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it. Your interest must transcend the field itself and border on the religious.” Robert Greene, Mastery
Kobe was the definition of mastery.
He lived it.
He breathed it.
In an unauthorized book written about Kobe, author Pat Mixon outlined Kobe’s 8 principles for success.
Here is the list:
Principle one: Have a gladiator mentality and welcome all challenges
Principle two: Know what fuels you, what drives you
Principle three: Fear is a great motivator
Principle four: Be a talented overachiever
Principle five: Accept your nature
Principle six: Honor the game
Principle seven: Master your craft
Principle eight: Live with passion
Kobe purposefully designed a life that allowed him to chase that dream and then he went on to do the work he needed to do to ensure he would be remembered as a legend.
This mentality, the Mamba Mentality as he called it, is difficult for people to understand. To the point where people will actually be upset about it, but only because they don’t align with you. Kobe talked about this regularly. And it’s no surprise that legendary soccer manager Jose Mourinho picked up on it.
José on Kobe pic.twitter.com/AUQP88iUqa
— IG (@CatenaccioIG) January 26, 2020
Kobe operated by a different set of principles. He had a different type of work ethic. He was willing to live with a different level of sacrifice.
Because wanted to be the best.
Kobe had an unbreakable mentality and an absolutely killer work ethic.
Kobe will be remembered for a number of things, but one that I hope we never forget is the road map that he created for those who really want to chase their dreams and be the best. Because of him, a generation of athletes, coaches, parents, and entrepreneurs have a head start and a clear path to follow.
For that, I personally just want to say thank you, Kobe.
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