(This post is dedicated to Pilot Kurt Deetz, Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester, Peyton Chester)
This one is going to hurt in one way or another and not just for one day, one week, or one month but most likely for a lifetime. I have started and stopped writing this piece of work more than fifteen times at least.
I continue to find myself wondering if I eventually am going to wake up, as this tragic event does not seem real. If you are like me, you probably never had the opportunity to shake Kobe Bryant’s hand or had the opportunity to witness the young woman and player his daughter Gigi and the other two young girls were becoming,let alone meet the other members on board and get to know them.
Yet, you may feel as though you have lost a family member, a piece of your identity or even a piece of your soul.
These feelings that you are experiencing are a great reminder that you are human and that you are an emotional being. These feelings are powerful, so make note of them, as you should strive to feel similar feelings more often in life when great things happen instead of the “not so great”.
Do not keep these feelings closed off, instead aim at expressing yourself on a more regular basis. Write in a journal, outwardly communicate with those you trust, locate a circle of like minded people who share common interests or even join your local CrossFit gym to become part of a community.
Truly understand that the emotions circulating through your mind or the one’s pouring out of your eyes are there for you to take ahold of and use for fuel to go out and positively impact the lives of others, but first it is important to continue reading this blog post in its entirety so you can properly channel that emotion and understand what Kobe Bryant and his Mamba Mentality can teach you about the impact of focusing on strengthening your mindset daily can have on your life.
Let me reassure you of something, just as I have had to do with myself countless times, things are not just happening to you, things are simply just happening. This is a tough thing to understand and come to terms with. Life is so ridiculously precious. You simply never know when it is going to come to an end.
When you go into the gym today for example, push aside the negativity in your head. Push away the excuses that are creeping up and making you believe that the workout on the board is too damn challenging to give one hundred percent effort. Set aside the fact that the weight feels too damn heavy today, because weight more times than not will feel heavy and it is up to you to make the choice to rise up to the occasion and still give max effort.
In these moments, where your mind wants to take you off track, I’d encourage you to channel your inner Kobe, your inner Mamba and work hard. Outwork the person next to you. Be better than yesterday. Be so passionate and relentless about becoming 1% better each and every day that you are sure no one can out work you.
Be Bold. Be Brute. Be You.
As heartbreaking and confusing as this tragedy is, you like myself, could possibly be trying to come to terms with the fact that in your lifetime, a sports icon, a legend, a devoted husband, a strong father, a son, a writer, a renowned speaker, a game changer, a relentless competitor, a man true to his words and eight others on board that flight, passed away out of nowhere.
This is a great opportunity right now to take a moment of silence for Kobe, his daughter, and the other seven individuals on board as well as their loved one’s who have been directly impacted by this traumatic event.
This is not an easy thing to swallow, as no one expects things like this to take place on any given day at any given moment.
I found myself very soon after hearing the news, shooting hoops at a local park in Salt Lake City paying my respects to a man that taught me more about the game of basketball than some of my coaches ever could and I realized at that moment in time, just how beautiful the small and simple moments are in life. Moments like training with like minded individuals daily or just once a week, going for a walk in the park or making time and putting forth the effort to be with friends and family.
As a young aspiring basketball player, I wanted to be #8 or #24. I truly thought that if I wore Kobe’s jersey, I would immediately be able to imitate his handles and shooting abilities. I hoped that I would play off the ball as well as he did; his lateral movement, ability to anticipate plays, proficiency with passing, screening and overall motion on the court was untouchable.
What I did not realize when I was a young aspiring basketball player was the fact that I actually did not need his number or his skills on the court, I needed his mindset.
The most badass and beautiful thing about Kobe Bryant was, is, and will forever be his mindset, known as the Mamba Mentality. This mindset will continue to live on and that is the beauty that will come from his passing.
All of us together can unify and work towards living our life just as he did, the Mamba way. If we all could spend at least ONE day fully living with the intention of having the Mamba Mentality, I cannot even imagine the impact it would have on your life and the lives that you may or may not even know you’ve impacted on a daily basis.
Now, I know it sounds crazy, that there is beauty in death, but having personally experienced an abundant amount of loss throughout my lifetime, I have discovered that there is so much beauty that resides in death. You just have to be willing to look and figure out what that beauty is, as it comes in all shapes and sizes.
I have continued to find and discover that death has helped me tremendously become the person I am today, especially the person I am inside of the gym.
So let me make my point so you can finish reading this post and immediately take the words that follow and implement them right into your life both in and outside of the gym.
If you do not know about Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Mentality, I highly recommend you purchase his book here and adopt this mindset and pay your respects to a man that wanted to impact more than just the game of basketball. His legacy will live on forever as he truly made the world a better place.
THE MAMBA MENTALITY
The entire philosophy centers around working hard to fulfill one’s dreams and striving to always get better. It 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 you were yesterday.
Kobe himself said, “Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit. It started just as a hashtag that came to me one day, and it’s grown into something athletes — and even non-athletes — embrace as a mindset.”
So how do you take this mentality and implement it into your life? It is simple, just start. Start by reading this entire post. Start by doing something immediately when you finish reading. Start by understanding that hard work is essential and that it will outweigh talent every time. Start by finishing the work you have started. Give it your all inside and outside of the gym.
The mamba mentality, as Kobe reflected in an interview is about the 4 a.m. workouts, doing more than the next guy and then trusting in the work you’ve put in when it’s time to perform. Without studying, preparation and practice, you’re leaving the outcome to fate.
I don’t do fate. Take his words and bring them into your relationships, your training, your competitions, your daily routines and so on. Believe and trust in the work you are putting in. Be willing to fail so you can learn, grow, transform and ultimately be better prepared the next time training and a competition rolls around.
And do not think that because Kobe was a basketball player, that this mindset will not be effective within the CrossFit gym or on the Olympic weightlifting platform. “This mentality and the impact he has and will continue to have transcends the game of basketball. It transcends life,” New Orleans Saints All-Pro Linebacker Demario Davis said in a recent interview.
Because here is the thing, the Mamba mentality is a lifestyle, not an attitude. It’s about attacking what’s in front of you with passion and purpose, without fear and doubt and without an ounce of quit. No matter what it is, good or bad, success or failure, that’s your approach.
Allow for this traumatic event and all of its deaths to be beautiful and to live on. As I always say, “In order to honor the fallen you must live your own well.” Understanding, practicing and ultimately implementing the Mamba mentality into your life daily will bring forth a lot of reward, more than I know how to put into words.
As Raven’s quarterback Robert Griffin III mentioned, “It will give people hope that if you stay focused and work hard enough, your goals are attainable, and not to let anyone stop you.”
The mamba mentality is a mindset that extends way beyond basketball or sports and it is simple, if you have a goal or a dream, you need to apply the mamba mentality to achieve it. Everything worth achieving needs total focus and dedication.
If you are reading this blog right now, realize that Kobe Bryant had to work hard to get where he ended up and it did not happen overnight. He was at the gym at 4 am daily. He was resilient. He made very tough sacrifices. He had discipline that was set in stone and was unmoved. He created focus and he lived with intention. He had a dream and let nothing get in his way.
Kobe always told people that you need to leave the game better than you found it. Kobe spoke to millions, wanting to truly acknowledge and accept that hard work is what will separate you from the rest of the group.
Kobe mentioned all of the time that he had no urge to get to know lazy people because he just could not relate to them. Kobe was a walking testament to the power and importance of consistently working on your mindset in order to become who you truly desire to become, and discover your full potential.
I will leave you with these words from Kobe himself, “It’s all about focus. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from — it doesn’t matter. It’s having a focus and having a purpose. You wake up every single day to get better today than you were yesterday. It doesn’t matter what you are — basketball player, hockey player, golf player, painter, writer, doesn’t matter.”
May the nine lives that were taken on Sunday January 26, 2020 rest in peace and may their loved ones find peace, purpose and passion to live their own lives well, in order to honor those lives that have fallen.