Doing the required
Unarguably one of the greatest basketball players of our time, Kobe Bryant started his career at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, USA. He was later drafted into the NBA in 1996. In his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe became the favourite of many basketball fans. His skills and determination on the court as well as his personality off the court endeared him to many people worldwide – even people who were not basketball lovers. He went on to win five NBA championships and was an 18-time All-Star player in the NBA. He was NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) 4 times, the overall league MVP in 2008, a two-time NBA scoring champion and also got 12 All-Defensive selections before he retired in 2016.
Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant passed away on January 26, 2020, at the age of the 41. He died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna and seven others who were on board the aircraft. The news shocked the world. His old teammates, other NBA stars and management as well as fans from all over the world couldn’t hold back their emotions as they paid homage to the sporting legend. Listening to tributes from his peers, coaches, and people he worked with, one thing that was commended severally was his fantastic work ethics. Tim Reynold, a basketball writer for the Associated Press in a piece titled Kobe Bryant’s life was defined by hard work wrote: “Kobe found no substitute for hard work.”
Like the ancient Greek writer, Sophocles said “Without labour, nothing prospers” – we must accept that there’s no substitute for hard work. While maintaining a winning attitude is crucial to actualizing our well-articulated goals, the place of hard work cannot be undermined. For me, hard work is not just doing your best, it is doing what is required to live a value-adding life. It’s not necessarily about solving complex problems, but about doing what nobody else wants to do.
From the life of Kobe Bryant, you can learn 3 things about hard work that will position you for a life of impact in any field you find yourself.
- Hard Work Requires Practice
It is said; “Practice makes perfect”. I prefer to say good practice makes perfect. Kobe worked hard on his skillset by putting in hours of practice time. Former player and ESPN analyst, Jay Williams recalled arriving at the arena for a game against Bryant’s Lakers four hours early to prepare. On arrival, he discovered Bryant was already there practising. Bryant told him after Lakers won that game; “I saw you come in and I wanted you to know that it doesn’t matter how hard you work; I’m willing to work harder than you.“
- Hard Work Requires Discipline
Practice by itself is not achievable without discipline. Everyone comes to a point we really don’t feel like doing anything. At that point, it is discipline that makes you push yourself up and keep working even when conditions are difficult. Kobe himself said: “Those times when you get up early, you stay up late. You’re too tired, but you do it anyway.” That’s discipline. I usually say discipline is doing what you ought to do regardless of how you feel.
- Hard Work Requires Extreme Focus
Many of Kobe’s teammates and rivals have talked about how focused he was on achieving any goal he sets. It takes a focused mind to stay diligent. Being focused means training yourself to ignore everything except the goal. We must learn to ignore our fears, distractions, anxiety and tiredness as we strive towards achieving our goals.
In closing, I will leave you with this quote by Tim Notke, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.
Remember, You Have Only One Live to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!