The Mamba Mentality — Eye-opening Life Lessons From Legend Kobe Bryant
Today I’m going to talk about some eye-opening life lessons from the legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant. What made Kobe Bryant so special? As a tribute to Kobe’s legacy, I want to share with you seven valuable lessons that I’ve learned from him over the years.
More than being an NBA great, Kobe Bryant teaches us how to overcome life’s greatest hurdles.
Kobe Bryant is the master of the game. He built the Lakers franchise on his back. There’s no denying this. Like Michael Jordan, he succeeded because of sheer will. He practiced and he denied himself of many things so he could focus on being the best.
There are many success lessons we can learn from Kobe Bryant and his sickening work ethic.
It is absolute that whatever he achieved was the result of not only his physical hard work but also the mental strength. After his death, I have found comfort in focusing not on the way that he died but on the way he lived — his Mamba Mentality. It’s hard and nearly impossible to think about Kobe Bryant and not think about these things.
You can choose to fight for your dreams or live with regrets for what could have been.
Why was Kobe Bryant so special? Because he took his failures and defeats and turned them into triumphs. He chose to live a life full of passion, to give his all every day, to constantly challenge himself to be the best version of himself.
Kobe Bryant lived a dedicated and focused life and here are the vital insights we gleaned.
Below are seven lessons I learned from the life of Kobe Bryant. Before I begin the list of lessons, I want to write what should be obvious; Kobe Bryant was an amazing basketball player with God-given ability, drive, and competitiveness. Yet, he was not perfect. However, we can and should learn from those who have gone before us.
Lesson #1: Adopt The Mamba Mindset
At 13 years old, Kobe decided he was going to be one of the best basketball players who ever played. Everything else had to be pushed to the side. He believed that if others could do something, then he could too.
When you follow in the footsteps of successful people, you can get similar or even better results.
Whether you’re building a business, becoming a great athlete, learning a new skill or adopting a new habit, modeling your actions and habits after someone who’s already successful saves you the most time and money in the long run.
The main premise of Mamba Mentality is how to power through the most challenging times of your life.
One of the most iconic moments of Kobe Bryant’s sheer grit was when he tore his Achilles in a 2013 game against the Golden State Warriors, but still managed to trudge to the free throw line and make both charities before exiting the game.
Where there’s challenge, there’s opportunity.
A challenge is your opportunity to show the world what you can do, and that you can overcome any obstacles in your way. Where there’s a challenge, there’s a chance to prove people wrong. When you overcome challenges you grow stronger as a person, and that can only be a good thing.
Mamba Mentality agrees with the fact that a challenge is the best way to show the world what you can do and how you can do it exceptionally well.
You have to be able to keep going even when people and things come against you. Challenges will come, but it’s how you deal with them that will determine how successful you become. Kobe Bryant endured a criminal case, loss of endorsements and a fall from grace as a model player at one time. Yet, like dust he proved that he could still rise.
You have to strive to be the best version of yourself every day.
When you do everything to improve certain aspects of your life, go all in as much as you can. That way, the thought of “could’ve done more/better” won’t be there whether you succeed or fail. Kobe Bryant never felt good about himself if he wasn’t doing everything he could to be his best self.
This legendary player did not allow others to stop him from scoring points and winning games.
Although this sounds ruthless, the truth is that we must carve our own path in life and stick to it. Of course, you will meet naysayers along the way who try to distract you. But don’t give in to their negative energy. Reach the goals that best serve you and your loved ones — it’s the true way to genuine happiness.
Lesson #2: Hard Work Beats Talent
Kobe Bryant was always willing to put in the hours because he didn’t want to get beat by the competition and never made excuses. He played a game left-handed when an injured shoulder kept him from shooting with his right. He played a game with a 102-degree fever.
Kobe Bryant’s trademark includes an insane work ethic that’s fueled by his eternal desire to continue improving himself.
That’s the type of work ethic that begins separating you from the rest of the crowd. When you’re willing to work on your craft or business and put in the hours when everyone else is sleeping, you start pulling away from the pack.
Hard work and success go hand in hand, so buck up!
Kobe lessons talk about the determination to improve himself daily and utter discipline to be at the basketball court on time, every single day, is admirable. Even during the off-season, Kobe Bryant’s workout included 2 hours of track, 2 hours of basketball and 2 hours of cardio or weightlifting.
To achieve your goals you have to be disciplined. It requires extreme focus in which you don’t allow outside influences to distract you.
Success doesn’t come easy. It comes with sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice can be to our detriment but if properly channeled it can be our greatest reward. I don’t know everything he sacrificed, but I’m sure time on the road away from his family and friends took its toll.
Hard work and Kobe Bryant are synonymous.
As talented as Kobe Bryant was in the game of basketball, he always preached about hard work. According to the five-time NBA Champion, he was athletic but he was never THE most athletic guy on the court when he played. To get better, he became obsessed with hard work.
It’s okay to have bad days, we all have them and so did Kobe. It’s how you respond that counts. Hard work pays off.
His unbelievable intense work ethic helped him outwork his potential, and it fundamentally made up for what he lacked. It essentially pushed him to achieve the level of success he enjoyed in both his NBA and post-basketball careers.
Teammates of Kobe Bryant talked about days he had a broken wrist but didn’t take any breaks.
In his book, “Be Obsessed or Be Average”, Grant Cardone talks about success being one of two things. Either you are obsessed about it or you don’t want it bad enough hence you become average. Kobe Bryant was obsessed with the sport of basketball that his coach mentioned coming to training and seeing Kobe train in the dark.
Lesson #3: Bounce Off The Walls
Almost all human beings fear failure, it’s an integral part of our “wiring.” However, it’s what we do with that fear that matters. You can overcome your fear and use that energy to reach your goals. Instead, harness the negative energy. Then, change your mindset and use that energy to power forward and accomplish all that you want in life.
Kobe Bryant didn’t just invest his time and sweat into basketball — he dedicated himself in every way to becoming one of the best.
There was no hiding Kobe’s deep love for basketball, and that’s exactly the mentality you must have if you want to become the best in your niche. Fall in love with the process of what you do. If you’re only in it for the money, fame or accolades, you’re not going to make it very far.
You must see yourself succeeding. Champions do everything they can do to succeed.
It takes discipline to understand all the components to win consistently. Change is the only constant and one must keep adapting oneself with grace. When Kobe Bryant lessons were seen, he was earlier a flying shooting guard but as he grew old, he became an agile shooting guard.
To be a master, you must become obsessed with what you’re doing.
You must be willing to become a master especially if you want to succeed at your in business, become influential, and an authority. Mastery has been something I’ve been focusing on over the last few years and it has significantly improved every area of my life.
Anything you find yourself doing, give it your best shot.
Asides having an incredible basketball career, winning numerous medals and championships, Kobe Bryant also featured in a couple of movies that did really well. He was able to take the dedication and craftsmanship from basketball into acting, thereby surpassing every limit set by naysayers.
No matter your passion, being able to communicate what it is, why it motivates you and how you can influence others is where greatness lies.
Kobe Bryant had an ability to share why basketball was important to him and this allowed him to share that with others. It is no different than the scientist who shares about a recent discovery. Or a startup pitching on Shark Tank. Being able to communicate about your passion is just as important as finding it.
The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.
Kobe Bryant was a hero to many, emulated even by today’s most outstanding NBA players. But beyond his on-court achievements, he showed real passion for the sport by investing time in coaching and developing youth programs.
Lesson #4: Stick to The Basics
In business, we try to take on so many complex things that are not directly beneficial to the growth and sustainability of the business. The basic skill to succeed in Basketball is taking accurate shots and that’s all he did, night and day till it became second nature.
Kobe Bryant practiced the fundamentals, by showing up early and ensuring he makes 800 shots before leaving the workout.
Different tactics and strategies can stop working over time, but you can easily learn new ones because the fundamentals of what makes systems work will always be the same. As a coach, if you know the fundamentals of getting new leads for your business then it doesn’t matter if Facebook changes their algorithms, or when a new platforms emerge.
The problem is that most only know the tactics and the surface level strategies.
They don’t take the time to learn the underlying fundamentals that make the tactics work. Human psychology would be an example of an underlying fundamental that allows the strong to survive and constantly excel.
When we devote ourselves to a goal or purpose, we don’t stop until we’ve mastered it or realize it’s time to quit.
Kobe Bryant mastered the game and rather than stay until he couldn’t play or didn’t love it anymore, he walked away. His legacy on the court shows us that we can quit strategically.
Kobe Bryant was a master at his craft.
He wasn’t just born with talent…he was constantly refining and improving on his skills in practice, whether that was with teammates or by himself. This type of dedication has made him one of the best NBA players of all time.
Your foundation is all that matters. It is the power of habit. You create excellence out of habit. You can’t make a habit out of excellence.
I call this The Jackson 5 mentality: You stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. For Bryant, it may have meant dribbling for hours, doing a thousand layups and sinking three-pointer after three-pointer in a silent gym. For the Jacksons, it meant being so prepped that they can harmonize instantly.
It’s a simple thing of math — the more time you put into it, the better you get.
Whatever it is that we’re doing, whatever skill it is that we’re trying to build or work on, we can never forget the fundamentals. We can never forget how important it is to do the basics.
Lesson #5: Passion Equals Success
Kobe Bryant lived for the game of basketball. It was more than his occupation — he loved it, mastered it and excelled greatly at the sport to become one of the greatest people to ever play it. According to Forbes he died with a net worth of over $600 million and assets in his venture capital firm valued at over $2 billion.
There’s no hiding that Kobe Bryant had a deep love and passion for basketball.
That love for basketball, his dedicated work ethic, and competitiveness are what made him a 5-time champion. He admits that he was obsessed with winning and being the best.
Kobe Bryant once spoke of success as doing what you love to do every day and he did it well.
If you’re stuck in a job you dread waking up to every morning, then you should leave it. It’s an incredibly uncomfortable decision that will push you out of your comfort zone and leave you vulnerable. But the hardest decisions require the strongest of wills, and for Kobe Bryant, as long as you’re passionate about what you do, the accolades will eventually follow.
When you love something at the core, it becomes an obsession.
An obsession can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on what it is. For Kobe Bryant, it was his hatred towards losing and love for winning and the game of basketball that made him a legendary athlete. When you genuinely love your craft, no matter what obstacle you face, you won’t stop until you reach your destination.
Keeping dreams pure is a challenge. Society has a way of destroying them. If it is something you believe in, go for it!
Kobe Bryant believed true greatness came in the inspiration of others to be great, to follow their passions with a singular focus. It is common sense: Being passionate is absolutely necessary for bringing out the best from inside of you.
One can only ‘be passionate’ if they doing something they are passionate about.
Passion is one of those things that cannot be faked or constructed from whole cloth. Thusly, passion is at the forefront of the Mamba Mentality. Whether it be in sports, arts, entrepreneurship or anything else, it is necessary for the rest of the mentality to take hold.
You don’t want to jump into something if you’re not passionate about it.
I’s not enough to simply work hard like I’ve been doing. You need to work harder. You need to work as hard as being a leader as Kobe Bryant worked to be a great basketball player. We all need to work that hard at whatever our professions are. And we all need to hold each other accountable.
Lesson #6: Learn More
After Kobe Bryant retired, he wasn’t finished by any means. Once he realized that storytelling was something that he loved to do, he went tunnel vision on telling stories through film.
It doesn’t matter how good you become at your chosen skill or craft, there is always potential for more learning and development.
Kobe moved forward with the new skill he wanted to develop and founded multimedia production company Granity Studios to develop content that would blend sports concepts with fantasy and compelling storytelling.
Life is not about achieving one milestone only.
And it even does not matter how good you have become at one skill, there is always a chance to grow and learn more. You should always be hungry to achieve more year by year and show improvement with every passing time.
Kobe Bryant always sought to master new skills and improve.
Modeling yourself after someone that you idealize can be a great idea. You may learn a new habit or skill that takes your “game” to the next level.
There are people who have already accomplished what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t make it any harder on yourself by walking without a map when the blueprint of your path has been outlined by someone else who already took the time and effort to figure it out. Connect and learn from these people as much as as you can.
Besides the ritual of connecting with people in the same sector as you, something we can learn from Kobe Bryant is reaching out to those in different areas.
Since Kobe’s NBA career may be coming to an end within the next couple of years, he’s been reaching out to the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. In order to find out more about what they do, why they do it and how they became successful in their fields.
Lesson #7: Handle Pressure
In both business and life, you’re going to have to make vital decisions when you’re under pressure. Sometimes, the decision you make may not be the right one but that’s where we learn the most. This is what Kobe Bryant experienced in his first year in the NBA.
Have you ever been bullied, put down, or belittled?
Feeling intimidated — or not — is a mindset. Choose to deflect the negative energy and brush it off. Even though that is easier said than done, this rule of Mamba Mentality will help you rid yourself of toxic people.
Kobe Bryant instead used his failures as feedback to work on what he needed to improve.
When Kobe was just 18 years old, he attempted a shot in the final seconds of an important playoff game against the Utah Jazz. He took the shot with confidence but instead of making the game-winning basket, he shot an airball. The Lakers eventually lost in overtime. Kobe Bryant didn’t consider himself a failure, even though he failed.
Too often, we worry about what other people think.
Sometimes, we care more about impressing our Instagram followers than becoming truly happy. So while you might not want others to hate you, success breeds jealousy. If you become successful, those who envy you will develop negative feelings. Rise above that, hold your head high and enjoy all the benefits of your hard work…despite the haters.
All of us face roadblocks, or challenges in life. However, only with determination and a positive mindset can you view these as “temporary.”
The truth is that failure is part of life. It teaches us lessons that we could not learn otherwise. However, moving forward after failing with a renewed sense of confidence urgency will set you back on the right path. So bounce back, set your goals, chase your dreams, and refuse to let others hold you back.
Having good mentors allows for good reflection. They can help keep you on your path, but be open to criticism. It is important to be coachable.
Successful sports teams don’t develop a tradition of success by relying on good players but rather they rely on good preparation. Phil Jackson will go down in history as one of the best coaches ever in the NBA by understanding how to mold a variety of highly talented athletes into a cohesive unit that wins championships. I believe that having a good mentor is what separates the greatest leaders from those who are average.
Kobe Bryant may have thrilled basketball fans with his sharpshooting skills and high-flying dunks, but the Los Angeles Lakers superstar also made an impact around the world with his Mamba Mentality mantra.
Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the greatest athletes to ever live, leaving an indelible mark on the sport of basketball and ending his career at the top of his game.
In his success we find nuggets that can help us win in business, life and our professions such as having unparalleled passion for what we do, unmatched consistency and having an attitude and fighting spirit that enables you to comeback from the worst of failures.
Damaged reputations are hard to repair, but all the same it is difficult to pick ourselves up and summon the willpower to comeback when we have messed up.
Many of us may never foul up in the manner Kobe Bryant did in our businesses and professional careers, however when we do it’s imperative we use failures to humble us, recalibrate our thinking and propel us back to the path of success.
Heroes come and go, but legends never die.
Kobe Bryant was more than just a basketball icon. He was also a family man and a storyteller who has touched and inspired many of his fans. So I’m sure that the lessons that you’ve learned from him while watching him through the years will stay with you the same way how these lessons influence the way I live my life.
Kobe’s contributions to the world may have ended, but his Mamba spirit will live on forever.
Yes, Kobe Bryant’s life philosophy was simple. Honor him by achieving all that you can. Focus on the positive, develop a mentally strong mindset, and work hard. Then, you can achieve all your goals. I pray that these seven lessons will stay with you long after the tributes are over. Share your thoughts with our fellow leaders in the comments below!