The Last Dance: 3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Howard Chai on Unsplash

Need a Content Writer? Work with Nick Wyatt/HERE | You can also follow me on Twitter, Like My Facebook Page or Check out 227-mn.com!

With the ESPN premiere of ‘The Last Dance’ featuring 6-time NBA champion Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The documentary focuses on Michael Jordan’s dominance in sports by highlighting the challenges, obstacles and adversity that he had to overcome throughout his career. I think this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the importance of resilience, being competitive and motivating those around you to deliver greatness. The docuseries covered everything from managing a rocky relationship with the Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause to handling over the top personalities like Dennis Rodman. ‘The Last Dance’ gives a first person view into Michael Jordan’s life as he ascends through the NBA to become a megastar. The 10-part series has also restarted the comparisons surrounding Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. While the documentary pushes a certain narrative, Kobe Bryant makes an appearance in Episode 5 giving an homage to Michael Jordan as they pay tribute to the late Los Angeles Laker. Overall, the documentary does a great job of drawing the lines between the three athletes without the need to reiterate who’s the GOAT. With Michael Jordan competing in a totally different era, there’s no comparison when it comes to the NBA Hall of Famer’s physical and mental onslaught he deployed against opponents. Check out the article below as Men’s Health highlights ‘31 The Last Dance Memes That Show Michael Jordan’s Absolute Savagery’

Without a doubt Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan are three of the greatest athletes to ever step foot into an arena. For the last four decades they have shown us what it takes to achieve the impossible. If you look closely and pay attention to the steps they have laid out for others to follow. You will quickly realize that everyone can follow these moves. It’s ultimately a choice of, “Are you willing to do what needs to be done to achieve your goals?” No matter what your goals may be, big or small. They have shown us that their God-given talent, diligence and mental toughness continue to transcend across multiple generations. You don’t have to have Michael Jordan’s level of competitive nature, you DO have to have a certain level of commitment as an entrepreneur when it comes to achieving your goals. At the end of “The Last Dance”, Michael Jordan highlighted his growth and heightened mental toughness as what separated him from the competition at the end of their 1998 championship season. Noting the fact, that his physical abilities had finally caught up to his superior mental toughness. ‘The Last Dance’ does a great job painting the picture of a mentally tough competitor who is willing to do whatever to achieve his goals. Passion in its purest form.

Everyone isn’t born with the same mental toughness and competitive nature as Michael Jordan. So you might ask, how does a person strengthen their mental toughness? The same way you would enhance any muscle on your body. Through, strength and conditioning. This same concept can be applied to your mental faculty. The more you exercise in your mental gym, the more your mind will become stronger and stronger. It starts with resilience, never giving up when you are faced with adversity. Perseverance, putting in the necessary effort to be who you want to be and where you want to be in life. Lastly, consistency, having the awareness to develop a routine that produces greatness and sustains the test of time.

Life has shown us, that success doesn’t happen by chance. Kobe Bryant is famously known for saying,

“Boos don’t block dunks!”

The greatness behind that statement and why people have revered Kobe Bryant as a philosopical genius is that not only is he describing a physical action. He is putting his mental toughness on full display. It’s one thing to dismantle a player that can’t guard you. When an individual can find joy in dismantling a crowd of 20,000 spectators, you’re dealing with a totally different animal. The lesson learned here is that no matter the situation at hand, being mentally tough allows you to amplify your actions with confidence and reassurance. At that point, it isn’t a matter of being hindered. It’s a matter of control, focus and being totally aware. Another essential aspect of mental toughness is having the ability to combine the past, present and future. In a number of situations, the difference between success and failure could lie solely in an individuals ability to find those gaps and close them. Effectively using the three allows for self-assessment, self-reflection and creativity by way of collaboration.

Never limit your imagination.

This is a basic fact. Having a keen sense to know what’s developing around you, while also maintaining an elevated focus on your objectives is a skill that can be cultivated. To better understand Michael Jordan as a competitor and his supreme mental toughness. Check out the quote below, where he talks about the importance of failure and the even more important: perseverance.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.

I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

— Michael Jordan

If you want to perform highly at any level. Given it be, Corporate America, sports, business, entrepreneurship, etc. You have to be mentally tough. Keeping in mind, mental toughness is not necessarily defined by an individuals ability to be aggressive or flamboyant. It is simply being present and having the ability to combine hard work with consistency, while not giving up in the face of adversity. We’ve heard countless stories where the biggest difference maker in an individual’s journey is their will to succeed. Undoubtedly, as Michael Jordan described it, failure is expected on your road to success. It is up to you to determine what you learn from those experiences. The key is to retrace your steps and see where improvements can be made.

This lifehack is called 'failing forward fast’.

  1. Generate a new goal or objective.
  2. Fail forward fast.
  3. Evaluate your experiences and come up with a strategy to not fail again.
  4. Execute your new strategy.
  5. Test it out and replay steps 2–4 (if necessary) until you have reached your new goal or objective.

Mental toughness goes a long way in any profession. Giving the necessary attention to your mental toughness can allow you to have a psychological edge over your competition. If you study Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, they both acknowledged their greatness and gave credit to their above average work ethic. It’s a strange subject touch on, because I think most people are aware of what needs to be done in life in order to achieve greatness. But most people aren’t willing to offer up the sacrifices, by putting in the time and making the commitment.

It is action in its purest form, either you do it or you don’t.

Mental toughness is not only about resilience, perseverance and consistency. It’s also about knowing when to move forward and when to step back. For many athletes and professionals alike, this is an age old question. If you love playing the game, when is it appropriate to walk away? We often hear individuals speak of how they have lost their passion or that they are not fully committed to the preparation. Along with placing a physical strain on your body, the mental fatigue adds up as well. For many retired athletes, the common questions remain the same.

What is the first to go? Is it the mind or the body?

Another two great examples of mental toughness is Barry Sanders and Brett Favre. Here, you have two totally different athletes with two totally different paths but the end result still remains the same. They’re both legends in their own right and inductees in the NFL ‘Hall of Fame’. The obvious elephant in the room though, is that Barry Sanders walked away at the top of his game and Brett Favre rode the wave for 19 seasons. Essentially retiring, coming back and then retiring again.

In the realm of mental toughness, you have Barry Sanders who played 10 grueling seasons in the NFL as a running back with the Detroit Lions. He ultimately decided to retire because of his ideological differences with his former franchise. The ‘Hall of Famer’ managed to piece together a legendary career with the highlight reels to match, but primarily did not want to play for an organization that did not put an importance on winning.

Below is a partial statement he released on the day of his retirement in 1999.

The reason I am retiring is simple: My desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to stay in it.

I have searched my heart through and through and I am comfortable with this decision.

— Barry Sanders

Barry Sanders played for the Detroit Lions from 1989–1998. He retired just 1,457 yards shy of the career rushing record. This is an all too familiar situation in the business that is professional sports. We’ve seen the harsh reality of the NFL and it’s ability to claim the passion of some the World’s greatest athletes. Ultimately, it is the love for the game that keeps many individuals chasing greatness. Brett Favre is known for his risk-taking but after 19 seasons, he even had to question if he played too long. As he sat down with Peter King on his podcast, they discussed his retirement and health.

“I wonder every day what tomorrow will bring just from [how] I did play. John Wayne was cool then. Maybe not so cool now.”

For me, what I have fear of more than anything that 20 years ago was not even a thought is the mental side of it. You and I were talking before we started the podcast—some of the stories you brought up, I don’t remember. There was a point in my life where I remembered everything..

A story I should know, whether it’s one from you or someone else, I have no recollection of it. It bugs me. It makes me wonder."

— Brett Favre

Brett Favre was drafted in 1991 by Atlanta Falcons and played 19 seasons with the Packers, Jets and Vikings. For many individuals, your passions are often found early in life. For example, we all see the commonalities in sports because of its public nature. It starts out as extra-curricular activities and the individuals with certain God-given talents have the opportunity to compete professionally. For anyone who has followed a sport, we witness the change before our eyes. There’s prep, high school, college and then professional sports. The same progressions can be viewed in business as well, we go to college, choose a major and ultimately have a choice of the profession we choose to pursue. At every level, the stakes become higher and higher. Along with these higher stakes, comes a higher level of stress.

So a number of questions must be asked, how does a game born out of love spur into events like ‘The Malice at the Palace’? Why are professional sports considered such a sacrifice? What does this teach a person about mental toughness? Why is it imperative that athletes be aware of their surroundings The beauty of mental toughness is that its underlying function works like a pair of scissors. You have one blade that cuts with resilience, perseverance and consistency. While, the other blade cuts with failure, awareness and self-assessment. By nature, these two should function together to make up a piece of the whole mental faculty. The ‘Malice at the Palace’ is a great example of why mental toughness is crucial, for all individuals.

Quick Refresher: After a hard foul and fight that occured on the court. A Detroit Pistons fan threw a beer and hit Ron Artest at the conclusion of a Pistons-Pacers game in 2004. A brawl erupted between the Indiana players, coaches and fans. The event left people with injuries and what would be the Indiana Pacers championship season went down the drain as well. Ron Artest was suspended for 86 total games (the remainder of the season), Stephen Jackson received a 30 game suspension and subsequently, both players were charged with misdemeanor assault.

Stephen Jackson spoke with ESPN’s Dan Le Batard in 2013 and recalled the intricacies of event.

“Well let me say this. All the racial slurs, all the things I’ve heard, all the things I’ve heard about my mom and my basketball game and my kids, and all this, it felt good to punch a fan one time.

I’m not going to lie. I regret it, because I lost three million dollars and I almost lost my job. When I initially went into the stands, I went in there to help Ron, if you look at the tape. I go up to a row above Ron, because I was trying to grab him.

Well as I got up there to grab him, another fan threw another beer in his face. I felt like he got assaulted at the time, so if you’re up here, you should be breaking it up. But if you throw a beer, you deserve a lick too.

He got it.”

Stephen Jackson continues, by speaking on the apparent lapse of judgement on Ron Artest’s part.

“I don’t think [Artest] was thinking at the time. Me and Jamaal Tinsley every time I see him we laugh at this. Right after the brawl, we’re in the locker room. And this is why I said [Artest] never said ‘thanks.’

So we’re in the locker room, legs all scratched up from hopping over the bleachers, our adrenaline pumping, we laid a couple people out, like we did something, know what I mean? We all sit back, and Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace, leans back and looks at Jamaal Tinsley and asks us,

‘Do you think we’re going to get in trouble?’

I said ‘Ron, in trouble?! We’re lucky if we still have a job!’ That was the funniest thing ever. Trouble? We’re lucky we have a job Ron.”

The effects of the brawl changed the NBA landscape forever. It was ultimately one mental mishap that put a landslide of events in motion. Events that changed a number of individual’s lives and careers forever.

“We would have won a championship that year, man.

We had the best team, best young team, We had a Hall of Famer in Reggie Miller.

We had every piece to the puzzle, great coaches, great team, great owner, great general manager. And everything was working.

So I think a lot of guys are still bitter, like,

‘Dang, that was my chance to win a championship and Ron was real selfish to do that.’”

The Malice at The Palace can be categorized in a number of different ways.

Who’s fault was it? Who’s to blame?

Was it the fans coupled with the consumption of alcohol?

Was it the player’s fault for their lapse in judgement?

One thing you can take away is that no matter the situation, you have to be fully aware. Aware of the consequences and aware of what you have to lose. More and more athletes are becoming aware that they not only have to be physically strong and conditioned, they also have to be mentally strong and conditioned. The times have evolved and so must the athletes too. The NBA took steps to beef up security, as well as hire professionals like George Mumford to train players in the mental arena of life.

George Mumford was Kobe Bryant’s and Michael Jordan’s meditation coach while they were in the NBA. He joined ABC’s Dan Harris for his podcast, “10% Happier,” as he sat down to discuss how he was able to get some of NBA’s fiercest competitors to embrace mindful meditation. The primary focus of mindful meditation is aimed at improving a players game through being “present”, breathing, relaxing and utilizing the power of visualization.

Mumford further describes his approaches through a number of concepts. He starts off by speaking to the players on a more relatable level.

“First I talk about being a warrior, like a samurai…but also about ‘the zone. They know what ‘the zone’ is, they know what ‘being in flow’ is, so when I talk about that, they’re all ears.”

One of the many concepts he describes, requires everyone in the room

“to breathe together, to become one.”

He calls this practice,

“One breath, One mind.”

Along with his relaxation techniques, he also dives into the physiological aspect of “mindful meditation”.

“You start talking to them about how the mind-body interacts, you start talking to them about how you can slow time down when you create space between stimulus and response — [then] three seconds is an eternity.”

This fundamental technique teaches players to take the time develop a sense of perception. Totally “being present” within the moment.

“It’s more a monitoring aspect with more — rather than ‘I got to make this shot’ — no just shoot.”

This is comparable to the art of creating. You don’t think about the end result of your creative efforts. Your primary focus is the creative process.

Mumford describes the art of what is being mindful and focused.

“You’ve trained your nervous system to do it, so now your conscious thinking needs to be quiet and let your body do what it does…

Nothing exists but this moment and what you’re doing. Meditation is not trying to go anywhere or do anything, meditation and being present is just seeing what’s there and letting it speak to you.”

Mumford makes a case for his point by describing how athletes can find those gaps where they lose focus and close them by combining the past, present and future.

“The goal is to be present to what is. … Can you create space where you can observe it without being identified with it.”

Along with his “Mindful Meditation” practice, Mumford also advises players on creating new and positive thought dialogues. This helps players cultivate their thoughts on love and compassion for themselves and other teams, even when they get beat.

“Here’s the key, they’re not competing against them, they are competing against themselves…

the enemy is within.

Mindfulness is not judging, but learning from it and letting it speak to you. … we’re not really hearing what’s there, we’re interpreting it based on what we already know, and so part of this is to have the vulnerability to not know and just see what this is.”

George Mumford makes a great point, subconsciously training and preparing your mind for all situations allows an individual to deeply focus on the task at hand. This includes being mindful of what has to be accomplished on all levels to secure success. Visualization and Mindful Meditation can pack a powerful punch when utilized properly.

Deploying The Power of Visualization

This technique probably has the most dynamic effect on the subconscious mind. When autosuggestion is combined with the power of visualization. It amplifies success and allows individuals to elevate to a new height. It is simple, relax your mind until you reach a meditative state. Then visualize your ultimate goals as you reaffirm your autosuggestions.

Over time, you will recognize that your subconscious mind is driving you towards achieving those predisposed goals. It is important to keep it simple, do not bombard your mind with an array of uncolored mental imagery. Remain within reason and visualize what you strive to attain. Autosuggestion will play its part and muscle in to manifest that actuality. ‘Mindful Meditation’ and the power of visualization can be some of your most invaluable assets on your road to beefing up your mental toughness.

Another important aspect of building mental toughness is an individual’s ability to alleviate stress. This is probably the most essential skill that entrepreneurs can cultivate. Having the ability to focus and prioritize when life becomes chaotic. The ability to stay calm while staring adversity in the face can make or break a person. Everyone can row the boat and stay focused in calm waters but who are you when the perfect storm comes your way. Some of the most stressful occupations include Active Duty Military Personnel, Police Officers, Senior Corporate Executives, Public Relations Executive, News Reporters and Event Coordinators. The harsh reality of never knowing what could happen but understanding that anything can happen is a very real actuality that many law enforcement officers have to process. Being exposed to violence, human suffering, physical work demands and a nonstandard schedule, places police officers at the top of the list of the high-stress, high-risk occupations. With this being the situation, it’s worth taking a deeper look at the resources and support that are offered to police officers to help reduce stress, anxiety and negative outcomes.

Many law enforcement publications, conferences and websites are addressing such topics relevant to mental and physical wellbeing, behavioral health issues, stress and peer support. In a way, as entrepreneurs we are dealing with similar situations as we are learning more about the connection between mental toughness and performance. The apparent difference is that law enforcement is an all-enveloping, 24/7 profession. Entrepreneurs are protectors of their business and brand, while law enforcement officers face a higher level of responsibility, as protectors of the public. That is not only mental toughness but bravery.

3 Self-Care Tools We Can All Take From Law Enforcement

Dr. Kimberly Miller is a law enforcement consultant and presents frequently on the topic of self-care. She utilizes the metaphor, “filling one’s bucket” with coping strategies and tactics that aid police officers in staying positive, cultivating self-worth outside of work-related activities, establishing an identity and connecting more with their deep mental state.

Here are three self-care mechanisms she instills in police officers.

1. Cultivate A Life Outside Of Work.

She recommends participating in activities outside of the work place and making time for relationships with those within your circle. Including activities such as listening to music, hiking, swimming and reading. Citing that “alone time” is beneficial and should be enjoyed on the regular.

2. Establish Healthy Habits.

Dr. Miller also advises to stick to an exercise routine — preferably one that can be sustained. This includes improving your eating habits. She suggests meal prepping to ensure healthy eating patterns while working on shift. Cooking breakfast/dinner is also a great way to invest more time with your significant other and/or children. Last but not least, she advises officers to get as much sleep as possible. Preferably, six to nine hours for most individuals. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a number of detrimental health effects, including cancer and can exacerbate the effects of post-traumatic stress.

3. Visualize, Meditate & ‘Be Present’

Dr. Miller is in agreement that a focused method of improving the mental toughness of officers can be found in visualization, meditation and mindfulness aka ‘Being Present’.

Now let’s get to ‘ 3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Michael Jordan & Kobe Bryant’ below.

3 Things All Entrepreneurs Need Right Now

1. Be Consistent & Remain Loyal

In business, sports or any arena of life. What seperates most people is there commitment to having a strong work ethic. Everytime you set a goal or new objective. Ask yourself, has this been done before? If it has, you will quickly come to the realization that your overall effort is tied to your success. Being consistent and remaining loyal requires mental stamina. Concentrating your focus and applying it to your craft.

When asked about mental toughness, he describes it with mastery as if he was recounting his signature fade-away jumper.

“Mental toughness is about not getting too high or too low, but staying at an even keel …

Now, I think it’s a point where if something’s frustrating me I can always get right back to the pocket that I need to be in pretty quickly.”

— Kobe Bryant

Not many players have played on the same team for 20 years. The short-list includes Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. and Kobe Bryant. Coming out of high school, Kobe Bryant signed with sports marketing icon Sonny Vaccaro and Addidas to a shoe deal. To capitalize on maximum exposure, Vaccaro wanted Bryant to be in a big city market. The Lakers (his prized team growing up) and the Sixers (his hometown). The overall dilemma? The Lakers had the 24th pick in the 1996 draft, suggesting that almost every other NBA franchise would have first dibs at the high school phenom.

The New Jersey Nets and then-head coach John Calipari, specifically expressed interest in Kobe and had the eighth overall pick. To take charge of the situation, Vaccaro and the rest of the Bryant camp started circulating the rumor that if any other team drafted him, he would go overseas and play for Italy. To further express their stance, Bryant’s camp personally told the Nets if they drafted Kobe, Calipari would be at their post-draft press conference standing next to a empty microphone.

“It was my duty to inform people: buyer beware.

So I had no compunction about going around telling everybody — especially New Jersey — that the possibility existed that Kobe Bryant might go to Italy …

and the New Jersey Nets bit.”

Legend has it, that in every practice Kobe Bryant would shoot jumpers until he reached a total of 400 baskets. When a person questioned Kobe about how he knows when he’s hit his mark of 400, he responded,

“What do you mean, How do I know? I know because I counted them.”

2. Prepare More & Work More Than Anyone Else

When a person does commit to putting in the work to become great, the effort shows in the results. I believe this is what Michael Jordan saw in Kobe Bryant. An athlete, who is keenly aware of his ability and talent but chooses to commit to being the greatest at what he does. A pure hunger to compete.

“There was a reason for his greatness. There was a reason for his cockiness.

Kobe prepared, he worked, he prepared and he worked again.

When your best player is your hardest working player, first in the gym, last out of the gym, first in every drill, first in every weight room activity, that makes it easier.”

As told by, Coach Gregg Downer (Lower Merion High School), in rememberance of Kobe Bryant.

John Celestand, a former Lakers teammate, remembers when Kobe broke his wrist in a preseason game early in the 1999 season. Bryant made it a routine of being first to the practice facility, despite living over a half hour away. Celestand thought maybe with this injury, he could have an opportunity to be the first to the facility. Given Kobe broke his wrist on his shooting hand, he even gave chance to the possibility that he wouldn’t be there at all.

“As I walked through the training room, I became stricken with fear when I heard a ball bouncing.

Kobe was already in a full sweat with a cast on his right arm and dribbling and shooting with his left.”

NBA-Legend and former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal reminisces about Kobe in his book, Shaq Uncut. As he described one of Kobe’s very unorthodox basketball drills.

“Sometimes he’d be working on his moves without the ball.

You’d walk in there and he’d be cutting and grunting and motioning like he was dribbling and shooting — except there was no ball.

I thought it was weird, but I’m pretty sure it helped him.”

Author of “Michael Jordan: The Life”, Roland Lazenby, wrote about how Jordan viewed Kobe Bryant’s work ethic.

“[Jordan] said Kobe had done that work to deserve the comparison.

He says Kobe’s the only one to have done the work.”

Kobe Bryant played for the United States men’s basketball team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The team took gold both years and the legendary anecdotes from those years shine a light on Kobe Bryant, the competitor. Chris Bosh competed with Kobe during the 2008 Olympics, the former Miami Heat Forward shares one of his stories.

“We’re in Las Vegas and we all come down for team breakfast at the start of the whole training camp and Kobe comes in with ice on his knees and with his trainers and stuff.

He’s got sweat drenched through his workout gear and I’m like, ‘It’s 8 o’clock in the morning, man.

Where in the hell is he coming from?’

‘You never forget stuff like that,’

I felt so bad. I’m like, ‘What is he trying to prove?’

But he was just doing his normal routine.

We’re all supposed to be big-time NBA players, Olympians and stuff.

And then there’s Kobe, taking it to another level from Day 1.

And I had been off for like three months.”

On the first day of practices in Las Vegas, Kobe and one of the trainers exchange numbers. The trainer apparently tells Bryant to give him a call if he ever wants to get some additional work in. So the next morning at 4:15 AM, Bryant gives the trainer a wake-up call to see if he could assist him with

“some conditioning work.”

The trainer hops out of bed, gets dressed and is walking in the gym no more than twenty minutes later. Rather than discovering a eager and ready-to-go Bryant getting ready to stretch, he was already soaked in sweat.

The trainer recalls Bryant looking,

“as if he had just taken a swim. It wasn’t even 5 AM.”

Kobe and the trainer went at it for two hours, the official practice wasn’t until 11 AM, so the trainer went back upstairs to his room to rest up. Upon his return, he saw Kobe shooting jumpers and asked when did he finish his morning session, amazingly Bryant answered,

“Oh, just now. I wanted 800 makes, so yeah, just now.”

3. Mental Toughness Is The Final Piece To The Puzzle

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan both shared a commonality for greatness. One key piece to the puzzle is mental toughness.

At 34-years old, Kobe Bryant scored 30 or more points in six consecutive games, becoming the first player in NBA history to do so.

When questioned about making history and competing a such a high level, Kobe said,

“My wind feels even better. I feel like I can run all day long. A lot of that has to do with diet and being committed to it, and watching what I eat. What I’ve done really is just train really hard and watch my diet. I think that’s the thing that catches guys most.

They don’t do self-assessing.

They feel like they can go out there and do some of the things that they did when they were younger and eat some of the things that they’ve been (eating) and not accept the fact that what you put in has an impact.

I’ve been able to be honest with myself and have had to cut down on a lot of things and eat very healthy. It sucks, but it’s worth it.”

Legend and Laker great Jerry West, recalls Kobe Bryant’s fearlessness and his will to succeed. He remembers a game where Kobe put his mental toughness on display.

“If somebody would have shot an air ball on [teams West played on] and they had shot a second one, they would only shoot a third one.

But a fourth? He was fearless.

I think that’s one of the things that spurred him to greatness. He wasn’t going to allow himself to fail.”

Shaq also applauded Bryant for stepping up in the face of adversity.

“I wasn’t upset that he shot those airballs.

He was the only one with enough guts to shoot the ball.”

One important aspect of mental toughness is appropriately dealing with failure.

What is the best teacher? Your own experiences.

Kobe Bryant on dealing with failure and repeatedly losing during a sub-par season.

“Go to the next night. That’s it.”

Kobe Bryant was a creative thinker as well. Staying focused and being mentally strong in the most crucial moments is probably why he was able to knock down 36 game-winning shots. He was known to cold-call companies to speak with their executives about how they would approach certain aspects of business, how they viewed the World, their perspective on prosperity and their overall outlook on life.

“I just cold-call people and just pick their brain about stuff.

And some of the questions will seem simple and stupid, quite honestly, for them, but if I don’t know, then I don’t know.”

What is the end result of learning from your failures? Check out, ‘The Game When Kobe Bryant Scored 81 Points & Became The Legend | January 22, 2006’. Besides dropping 81 points, the significance of this game is that the Los Angeles Lakers were trailing the Toronto Raptors until about a minute left in the 3rd quarter. Kobe Bryant pushes the Lakers ahead with a monstrous dunk, giving the Laker Legend 51 points. What can entrepreneurs learn from this feat? Always believe in yourself and have the confidence to execute.

In conclusion, mental toughness is about challenging yourself to be the best. Being the best you requires certain innate motivations. For entrepreneurs, this skill is imperative because we are faced with constant challenges. To effectively develop every opportunity that comes our way, we must align our personal passions and values with our mission. Being deeply rooted in virtues such as resilience, perseverance and consistency allows an individual to view life from a different perspective.

For all the entrepreneurs that could use an extra push. It helps to keep the 80/20 rule in mind.

I’ll never forget the setting: Hamline University, 6AM Workouts, Running up and down the staircase in the Field House. Coach Hartman leans over in his trademark ‘confident but never cocky’ demeanor.

80% of life is showing up. The remaining 20% is effort.

Chris Hartman

Written by

Entrepreneur based in Minneapolis, MN. I write about Music, Inspiration, Economics & Business. Website: 227-mn.com & Newsletter: http://ow.ly/nBJJ50AbYAF

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store