I’ve thought often about this giant of a man over the past few months, mostly in moments in which I’ve debated giving up.
When I’ve been at the gym and wanted to slow down or take a breather or resist going absolutely all out, he’s been there for me.
When I was struggling to deal with relationships I held dearly, my emotions wrestling me into submission, I thought of him.
When I wanted to leave at 5 on the dot, when I couldn’t be bothered to write, when all I wanted to do was just lay there and watch Netflix for hours on end, I imagined what he’d say to me.
This is a man with staggering accomplishments. This is a man with a work ethic so legendary, others with legendary work ethic marvel at him. This is a man who embodied the proverb, “Rest at the end, not in the middle.”
He left everything out there. I don’t know of one better example of a person who maximised every single drop of talent they were given. He knew that it was the process, the journey, working your ass off every damn day, he knew those were the important things. The results were great, and necessary. But engaging fully in the process meant fulfillment, that thing we’re all striving for.
These are his words:
“You guys know that if you do the work, if you work hard enough, dreams come true. You know that, we all know that. But hopefully what you get from tonight is the understanding that those times when you get up early and you work hard, those times when you stay up late and you work hard, those times when you don’t feel like working and you’re too tired and you don’t wanna push yourself but you do it anyway…
That is actually the dream. That’s the dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And if you guys can understand that, then what you’ll see happen is that you won’t accomplish your dreams. Your dreams won’t come true.
Something greater will.”
Some of you will now realise I’m talking about Kobe Bryant.
He inspires me because it seems like he got immense fulfilment from the process and immense joy from the results.
He understood you don’t get the results without the process. And it seems like he understood that even if you do get results without working your hardest and doing your best, the results feel a bit hollow.
Just a few hours before Kobe died, I was speaking to my parents about this concept and the exact speech Kobe gave at his jersey retirement ceremony. That evening through to late that night, my friends and I spent the evening talking about him. How great of a basketball player he was, yes. But more importantly how he made himself into one of the greatest of all time.
Mamba Mentality. And it couldn’t be more relevant for these strange, tough times we’re living through.
We’re right in the middle of it. No time to rest.