Everything negative – pressures and challenges – are all an opportunity for me to rise. – Kobe Bryant 23 Aug 1978 to 26 January 2020
Kobe was a killer, a stone-cold killer. His mindset was geared towards personal excellence, and nothing would stand in his way. There are stories of his insane workout regimen, his hours spent on the court practicing, and his unrelenting drive to excel even at the Olympic Games where he was driven to be better than the 1992 Dream Team:
“Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys,” Bryant said. “But they were also — some of those wing players — were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete.
“So I don’t know,” Bryant continued, the trace of a smile beginning to play its way across his face. “It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.”
His motivation was purely intrinsic.
He always felt he could improve; he always wanted to be better; he never let up. Kobe accepted nothing short of personal excellence.
I look at him as an example of a true icon of sport and excellence. He approached all obstacles with this in mind:
“Those times when you get up early and you work hard. Those times you stay up late and you work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working. You’re too tired. You don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.”
His motivation was and would always be in his own mind. Time and time again, when we study Kobe, we see that all Kobe needed was his love for the game and the process that came with it.
Everything negative – pressures and challenges – are all an opportunity for me to rise.
Think about your life. You have goals; you have a career; you want to be stronger and in better shape. You want to be healthy and capable. What is preventing you from those goals?
Habits, obstacles, stress, lack of sleep, familial pressure, a guilty conscience from being selfish in your pursuits, or any reason you can think of to prevent you from using them as an opportunity to create a path to excellence.
Developing a love for the process instead of the result will push you through hard times. There are days when you are tired or don’t want to cook another meal at home, but those are the days when staying focused on the process yields the results that fuel your positive mindset.
Laying down and quitting is the easy way. Digging in and rising to the occasion is difficult when negative pressure is pushing at your brain.
You will fail sometimes, you will succeed other days, but the process demands a forward-moving trajectory despite being knocked back a few steps.
How many game-winning shots did Kobe make in his career?
31.3% of them. This is lower than Carmelo Anthony (47.7%), Chris Paul (45.2%), Dirk Nowitzki (38.5%), and even LeBron James (33.3%).
Michael Jordan had 45%.
Kobe isn’t in the top 5 in percentage points, but if you look at the list of athletes above him, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone else you would take in that situation except for LeBron or MJ.
His relentless desire to excel. The Black Mamba’s work ethic, drive to succeed, dedication to his craft, and ferocious winning attitude made him a legendary player.
He failed the game-winning shot 68.7% of the time, but he never stopped trying or moving forward. He was double-teamed, fouled, and didn’t cherry-pick waiting for a pass. He took the ball and said, “this is mine.”
Use that same mindset with yourself.
This is your chance to create excellence, and when you have bad days and stray from your plan, you will still keep driving towards the hoop because you are creating a winning attitude.
Intrinsic > Extrinsic
Be your own Black Mamba.
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