“There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Your mentality underlies every other aspect of your life. What type of mentality you have and how you interpret situations can be the difference between being a professional athlete and being a bum. It’s that important. So what type of mentality do we want and how can we get there? It’s my opinion that should all strive for a growth oriented mentality. Growth mindset is popular term coined by Carol Dweck, and a video of her explaining it can be found here. But growth mindset basically means believing that you can learn to do anything if you put in the time, effort, and energy required. Your perspective and work ethic are the only things between who you are and who you want to be. Obviously different people have different skill sets, so doubling down on your weaknesses isn’t the best way to go about things. But when faced with a new or difficult situation, you should have the courage to try, the humility to learn, and the resilience to persevere.
You can’t control what happens, you can however control how to interpret any given situation and the subsequent actions you take.
The most important thing to remember about your perspective is that you can alter it, you can work on it, and you can change it. It’s malleable. You can do this by treating it like a skill and deliberately training yourself to see things in a way that’s most beneficial to you. Learning how to re-frame setbacks as opportunities for growth can be a super power. If you really want something – bad enough to make you practice and keep at it every single day, you can achieve just about anything. The problem is, there will be pitfalls along the way. Most people are just waiting for an excuse to give up. There will be setbacks, plateaus, frustration, and temptations. You’ll have plenty of excuses to choose from. That voice in your back of your head will tell you that you’ve gone far enough, that it’s too hard, or that it just wants to stop. It’s your responsibility not to take the excuses. That’s how you know you really want it. Combat the excuses with reasons. Find your reason.
You don’t want excuses.
You want results.
The Progress Cycle
“Two steps forward, one step back.”
Up until a couple years ago, I thought of this expression as being painful. It was because of my relationship with failure. I thought that the one step back nullified my progress. I would get discouraged and I’d give up. But in reality, this expression shouldn’t be painful. Two steps forward, one step back describes progress. At times it will be tough. It might feel like you’re stuck. And sometimes you’ll even go backwards. But progress is a cycle. You’ll make some progress, things will plateau, you’ll start to backslide, at which point you should reevaluate, improve your course of action, grow as a result, and repeat the cycle. Experimenting and trying different things is all a part of the process, but understand that at a certain point, there is no way to avoid putting in the time and practice required. No amount of tips, tricks, or hacks is going to do that. Progress takes time.
To reiterate the progress cycle:
- Make some progress
- Things plateau
- Start to backslide
- Improve course of action
The death of Kobe Bryant hit me hard. I grew up in Los Angeles and have been a Lakers fan my entire life. Kobe has always been an inspiration of mine. He’s one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game and after retirement he spent his time teaching people and trying to make the world a better place. I have nothing but respect and admiration for that. One of the things he was best known for was his mamba mentality.
But if there is one piece of advice that epitomizes Kobe and his pursuit of greatness, I believe it’s, “Fall in love with the process.” Something I’ve heard him say repeatedly. At it’s core, I believe this is the key to the mamba mentality. He didn’t become one of the greatest players ever by chance. Everything that he did was aligned with his goal to become the best possible basketball player he could be. He fell in love with the process, practiced relentlessly, and outworked everyone else. If you can follow this simple formula, you too can become better than vast majority of people.
The formula is simple, but it’s the furthest thing from easy.
We should all practice mamba mentality.
Thanks for everything Kobe.