Create Your Own Greatness

By Trevor McKendrick 👋 - Have you read my free newsletter?

RIP Kobe Bryant

I think I’ve mentioned sports literally zero times in the 100+ weekly editions of this newsletter.

But that’s why talking about Kobe Bryant today is fitting. He was famous for sports, but he lived and influenced far more than just basketball.

One of the things people admired so much about Kobe was his hard work and fierce determination. He wanted to be the best possible basketball player he could be.

He called this his “mamba mentality.”

Here’s what he means in his own words:

“Mamba mentality is… that infinite curiosity to want to be better, to figure things out. Mamba mentality is you’re going, you’re competing, you’re not worried about the end result. You’re not worried about what people may say. You’re not worried about disappointing others. You’re not worried about any of that, you’re just focused on being in the moment. That’s what mamba mentality truly is.”

I might summarize Kobe’s competitive philosophy as something like:

  • Compete against yourself
  • Focus on only what you can control
  • Don’t look backwards at what could have gone differently

Kobe showed the best possible version of greatness.

He happened to achieve greatness in a very public, high profile role.

But if you know anything about him, you know that to him greatness was achieved on the individual level. On whatever your own role happened to be.

So sure we often associate greatness with sports stars, entrepreneurs, actors.

But to Kobe, greatness was available to any role. Math teachers. Homemakers. Police officers. Being the best at whatever you happened to be.

Kobe again:

“I think the definition of greatness is to inspire the people next to you. I think that’s what greatness is, or should be. It’s not something that lives and dies with one person. It’s how can you inspire a person to then in turn inspire another person that then inspires another person. That’s how you create something that I think lasts forever. I think that’s our challenge as people, is to figure out how our story can impact others and motivate them in a way to create their own greatness.”

To create their own greatness.

Whether you’re a lifelong Kobe fan or you’ve never watched a game of basketball, we can all take away from his short but very full life the inspiration to do something great.

If you liked this essay...

Then consider signing up for my newsletter, How It Actually Works.

It contains the best material I find anywhere – this means books, articles, podcasts, research, videos, Twitter threads... the most interesting stuff that will give you something to say.

1,000s of Silicon Valley executives, investors, and leaders read it every week.

You're in!
Ack – that didnt work. Try again...