Whether you’re building a business, working toward a promotion, learning a new skill, or working on your fitness, modelling the behaviour of someone already successful will help you get there faster.
While becoming a professional NBA player may not be on top of your bucket list, there is so much we can learn from Kobe Bryant’s immortal Mamba Mentality.
What is Mamba Mentality?
“We don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever. That’s Mamba Mentality!”
Kobe chose the Black Mamba as his on-court alter ego based on a scene from Tarantino film, Kill Bill. The Black Mamba is Africa's longest venomous snake - whose bite is so venomous that the victim will experience pain, paralysis and death within six hours.
Channeling the ferocity of the Black Mamba on the court, Kobe found the perfect symbol for the confidence, resilience and laser-sharp focus required for him to be… well, the very best. And Mamba Mentality is the mindset needed to power through life’s greatest challenges.
Ruthless Self Discipline
“Mamba Mentality’ means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. It’s a constant quest to try to be better today than yesterday.”
Motivation is fickle. It comes and goes, and when it goes, you need discipline to step up.
There are days we feel good about ourselves, and then there are days self-doubt trickles in. When this happens, discipline clears the fog and lights our way forward.
Even when he was still in high school, Kobe had the discipline to do the work.
Driven by a vision to play with Michael Jordan, the young Black Mamba would show up to practice 2 hours early. This work ethic followed him to the NBA, shooting in the dark 2 hours before practice and beating his teammates to the gym even with an injury.
This self-discipline eventually helped Kobe realize his vision, squaring off with Michael Jordan 8 times during 4 league seasons. In fact, he won 5 out of 8 head-to-head matchups, proving to his younger self that he could become one of the very best.
Failure is a good thing.
“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That’s why I’ve been successful.”
Seeing failure as a way to learn and improve separates the great from the mediocre.
In an interview, Kobe talked about being an 11-year-old basketball player who didn’t score a single point during an entire season.
He could have easily given up and decided that maybe basketball wasn’t the sport for him.
Instead, he worked hard to improve his skills, and 3 years later, he became the best in the state.
Experiencing failure gave Kobe a goal to set his sights on.
Success doesn’t come easy.
“We all can be masters at our craft, but you have to make sacrifices that come along with making that decision.”
If we want to be great at something, we have to deliberately make that choice. And with that choice will come frequent temptations to stray from our path, and sacrifices we must willingly make.
You can’t become a master of your craft without sacrificing your leisure time.
If you want to truly succeed and build something, accept that a little bit of obsession will help you build momentum and get there much faster.
Kobe Bryant took his failures and defeats and turned them into triumphs, showing us what’s possible with grit and determination.
He chose every single day to strive for his best self - and his legacy will live forever in the hearts of millions he inspired to do the same.
RIP Kobe Bryant (1978-2020)