15 Inspiring Quotes Kobe Bryant Left With the World

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Kobe Bryant is dead.

Kobe inspired me as a poor kid growing up in Orlando. He embodied many of the attitudes and beliefs that I find important and meaningful.

It’s disheartening to see him leave us this early.

In his short 4 decades on this planet, Kobe left behind an incredible legacy. Above all else, he showed the world how focus, determination, and an invulnerable will lead to mastery.

In tribute to his life, I put together a few of his most meaningful quotes.

Use negativity as fuel

Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.

In a culture obsessed with what’s wrong with the world, Kobe reminds us that you can use negativity to fuel you. Let complainers fuel your infinite optimism. Let haters fuel your drive. Great people don’t fall victim to the trap of negativity.

Embrace self-doubt, insecurity, and fear of failure

I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.

Winners aren’t immune to self-doubt, insecurity, and fear of failure. No matter how great you are, you can’t escape the realities of being human. But as Viktor Frankl reminds us in Man’s Search for Meaning, you can choose your response to any situation or emotion you face. Kobe learned to do this at the highest level.

Break free of intimidation

The last time I was intimidated was when I was 6 years old in karate class. I was an orange belt and the instructor ordered me to fight a black belt who was a couple years older and a lot bigger. I was scared s–less. I mean, I was terrified and he kicked my ass. But then I realized he didn’t kick my ass as bad as I thought he was going to and that there was nothing really to be afraid of. That was around the time I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.

Our minds are powerful tools. They can empower us with infinite wisdom, or they can cripple us with fear. Bryant trained himself to see through intimidation. Like everything we think, it’s an illusion. You may face a bigger or better competitor, but you don’t need to be intimidated.

Do what it takes to win

I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.

Hitting the game-winning shot is a glorious way to win. But when you’re committed to winning at all costs, you’re willing to do what it takes. Pride doesn’t enter the equation for real winners.

Creating your own greatness

I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.

As Tony Robbins says, “When you compare, you despair.” Kobe created his own greatness. He leaves us not as “the next Jordan,” but as Kobe. He created a unique legacy and owned it.

The origins of failure

If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.

Kobe reminds us of a lesson from Bodhi in the 1990s classic, Point Break, “Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation causes your greatest fears to come true.”

To succeed in this world (at anything), you need to become friends with fear. You can’t escape fear, but you can transform your relationship with it.

Show up no matter what

I’ve played with IVs before, during and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.

Kobe showed up even when he didn’t want to show up.

Determining your destiny

When you make a choice and say, ‘Come hell or high water, I am going to be this,’ then you should not be surprised when you are that. It should not be something that is intoxicating or out of character because you have seen this moment for so long that … when that moment comes, of course it is here because it has been here the whole time, because it has been [in your mind] the whole time.

When you set a direction in life and pursue it relentlessly, don’t be surprised when you get there.

AP Photo/Mark Duncan

Master the fundamentals

Can I jump over two or three guys like I used to? No. Am I as fast as I used to be? No, but I still have the fundamentals and smarts. That’s what enables me to still be a dominant player. As a kid growing up, I never skipped steps. I always worked on fundamentals because I know athleticism is fleeting.

Don’t pursue the latest trend or hack for success. Develop the fundamentals. Like first principles, fundamentals are timeless. They endure, and if you master them, so will you.

Believe in yourself

If you do not believe in yourself no one will do it for you.

When you have a vision, you might be the only person to believe that vision. Self-belief is something my mom taught me as a kid, and it’s the most empowering tool you can have.

Choose the right direction

Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache

Don’t pursue the hopes and dreams of your friends, family, or society. Choose your own direction. Choose it right. And pursue it relentlessly.

Greatness is a choice

If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be.

If you want to master a domain, balance may not be an option. We all praise “balance” as a goal, but those at the tops of their fields rarely exhibit balance. As Jocko Willinck says in Extreme Ownership, “pick a direction and implement like hell.” If you want to achieve mastery in a field, you might have to make a few sacrifices along the way.

Become friends with fear

Despite the fear, finish the job.

When I learned to ski at age 25, I felt extreme fear. But at night, I watched videos of fearless skiers like Shane McConkey.

When I hit the slopes, I asked myself what these skiers would do in the situation. They would send it down the slopes. That’s what I did, and I skied down double blacks during my first season. Learning to confront your fear head-on is one of the great skills of adulthood.

Inspire others

The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great at whatever they want to do.

As a leader on and off the court, Kobe learned that inspiring others is a powerful tool. You can’t show people how to get where they want to go, but you can inspire them on their pursuit.

Take responsibility for your legacy

It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.

Kobe pursued his dream. He embodied greatness. He showed the world how he wanted to be remembered. And even though he left us early, he left a hell of a legacy.

We’ll miss you Kobe.

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