Recently, Kobe Bryant retired from a career lasting over 20 years in the NBA. Kobe is one of the most beloved and hated basketball players of all times. He is just one of those people that you typically have strong feelings about; sometimes those feelings are positive, sometimes they really aren’t. Regardless of your personal feelings, however, the fact remains that Kobe Bryant is incredibly talented. In his final game, Kobe scored 60 points. In his career, he won five championships with the same team. Kobe was a force to be reckoned with on the court, making him the backbone of the LA Lakers for the entirety of his career. Love him or hate him, Kobe demanded attention with his skill alone. But the excellence that Kobe exemplified throughout his career does not happen on accident.
The Black Mamba is famous for his off court training. Not only did he spend hours in the gym, he spent time studying his opponents; he learned their strengths and their weaknesses, he became familiar with their style long before he played them. Kobe was dedicated to his game. The results of this kind of dedication are clear; he was so committed to getting better and working hard that he became one of the greatest players in NBA history. His private victories became public successes.
If you want to understand Kobe Bryant, you have to understand the difference between talent and skill. Talent is natural ability; you don’t even have to try, you are just gifted. Skill is a learned or developed talent. Skill requires discipline. People become great because of the skills they invest in, not the talent they are born with. Talent can only take you so far; the rest depends on your work ethic. Kobe is a perfect example of someone who used their natural talents to achieve greatness by developing them every day.
If you expect your talents to make you great, you are setting yourself up for failure. There is nothing that will produce the fruits of excellence and greatness in your life aside from dedication and hard work. Kobe himself said, “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” The enemy of your success is not lack of talent, but lack of commitment. Kobe Bryant was so hard to beat because he was always getting better. The same is true for you. When you commit to investing in yourself and working hard, there is no limit to the success you will find. Small steps completed over time lead to exponential growth.
Things worth having never come easy. You have the potential for greatness; you have the ability to be excellent. The only thing standing in between you and accomplishing your goals is hard work. How much time do you spend improving your game? How many hours do you log in the gym? We aren’t all basketball players, but we all have ways to get better.
- What is one step you can take today to get a little bit better?
- What is holding you back from committing 100% to accomplishing your goals with excellence?
- When and how will you start training?