Just days after the 2017 NBA All-Star game, I can’t help but remember one of the greatest all-star legends to ever do it. The Black Mamba, better known as Kobe Bryant has been my basketball idol since childhood. With a career embellished with 18 NBA All-Star selections, 4 All-Star MVP’s, 1 Slam Dunk Championship, 5 NBA Championships, 2 Finals MVP’s, 1 League MVP and many more, one can’t help but acknowledge his stamp on the game of basketball. Regardless of how you may have felt or still feel about the Mamba, his many accolades are indisputable. At the heart of each achievement attained, was a mentality-a way of undertaking every obstacle faced regardless of the odds and doubters. This approach is better known as the Mamba Mentality!
It struck me recently that even though Kobe and other superstars like himself often leave the game of basketball with a plethora of accolades and achievements, each one of them can look back to a point in their young lives when those accomplishments were nothing more than dreams. Dreams are most powerful when they become goals that lead to action. What are your dreams and aspirations when it comes to your health?
I would like to share with you five important lessons that I have learned from Kobe’s Mamba Mentality and career. These five points have taught me how to set sights on what I would like to achieve with my health and fitness journey and go for it. In all honesty though, these five points can be applied to almost anything you set your mind to and desire to achieve. Here are five steps that will allow you to approach your health goals and dreams with the Mamba Mentality and achieve them.
- Don’t let anyone dictate your future and identity for you: As a 17 year old teenager most thought that Kobe wasn’t yet ready for the pros but he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dream. The opinions and voices of others can at times drown out our own. This is where you determine for yourself and no one else, what you want to accomplish. If it is being able to jog for 20 minutes without pain, losing a certain amount of weight, competing in a triathlon or anything else that might seem a bit far-fetched right now, you can accomplish it! Simply choose to make the decision for yourself.
- Be the first to rise and the last to sleep : Numerous stories are told by
teammates, coaches and athletic trainers of Kobe’s unmatched work ethic. Winning on the court wouldn’t come from relying on talent alone. According to his Olympics teammate in 2008, Dwayne Wade recalled Kobe working out before anyone else on the team had woken up. “We’re yawning, and he’s already three hours and a full workout into his day.” (ESPN) Achievements take hard work and consistency. Each day should start with a plan of how you will challenge yourself and push yourself further than the previous day. The key word is, “yourself!” That should be your daily competition. Comparing ourselves to those around us leads to feelings of self-doubt in our individual journeys.
- Use failures and shortcomings as fuel and motivation for achieving success: After losing to the Celtics (a major Los Angeles Lakers rival) in 2008, Kobe Bryant fostered every bit of that bitter feeling of failure and turned it into motivation. He went on to lead the Lakers to the 2009 NBA Championship against the Orlando Magic, and the 2010 NBA Championship against the Boston Celtics-the very team that had been his biggest motivator through defeat. This is a very tough one for me. I have often disliked the thought of embracing failures especially when my expectations are so high. I can definitely say that in the past some of those moments of failure led me to give up. Yet in giving up, I only got further behind. I have come to learn that in embracing our moments of trial and failure while seeking to learn from them, our achievements will know no limits.
- Do it on your own terms: How you start and finish should be completely up to you. After tearing his Achilles with 3 minutes and 8 seconds left in the game against the Golden State Warriors, many thought that his career was over and understandably so. Such an injury had crippled and cut short the careers of many other stars in the league. However, on December 8, 2013, Kobe’s return to the league proved that he wanted his career to come to a close on his terms, not anyone else’s. Don’t let the responses of others deter you from your mark. If your goal is to run a 5k, half marathon, full marathon, compete in Cross-fit competitions, lose body weight, or any other goal regarding your health, do it on your own terms. The biggest key here is timing. Don’t rush the process or quit too soon simply because others seem to think you should.
- Leave a legacy: With the whole world watching, on April 13th 2016, Kobe bowed out from the game of basketball with an unbelievable performance. Almost as if he
channeled his inner youth one last time, Kobe went on to complete with 60 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, an 83% free-throw percentage, and a 44% field goal average. In one game, with everyone watching he made sure to leave a legacy unmatched. Many individuals have their eyes on you! Take a moment to let that settle in. Achieving your goals may be a key motivator for the onlookers observing your journey. They are looking to see that you have been able to stay focused day in and day out. Leaving a legacy doesn’t mean reaching thousands of people across the country or globe. Impacting one individual can be just as important and powerful as impacting thousands. Simply making a difference in your family or community and being an influence to them is a legacy in itself.
In taking the 5 steps of the Mamba Mentality, begin by writing down your goals regardless of how outlandish they may seem right now. Then proceed to come up with a plan of how you are going to break those goals up and achieve them. You can do it! Don’t let the doubts of others hold you down. There are many who will be inspired by your determination to push through and achieve your dreams. I believe in you!
Thank You For Your Time!
My success and inspiration has come from the guidance of Greg Todd and the Smart Success Physical Therapy course! If you are a Physical Therapist or future Physical Therapist interested in leveling up, I would highly recommend being a part of the Smart Success Season 4! It has changed my life!
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Joses Ngugi, SPT