Hunger defines me. I’ve always been hungry, but now my appetite has risen to a new level. My will is greater than ever. The motivation to succeed runs through me like blood. [...] The mountain I once climbed to reach the top looms in front of me again. I realize how hard it will be to climb it, how much I will have to sacrifice and overcome to get to the top again, how many people have told me I can’t do it. But I savor that challenge. Feed off of it. That challenge helps give me purpose and inspiration. It helps me define life.
At the beginning of [all] this [...] there was a question floating around in my mind. What is my purpose? On one level I understood the reasons for why I do what I do, but on another level I felt an even greater commitment tugging at my soul. I’m a ballplayer, a teammate. A leader. But is that it? When I look back at my [past], I realize that all of the faces that once surrounded me are gone. I was a kid back then, eager to please, eager to find my place in a world that seemed familiar but different. The game was my refuge. [...]
[...] The struggles I’ve encountered over the last few years have made me realize just how much more there is for me to accomplish. I’ve begun a new phase of my life; I’ve opened new doors. And with new doors comes a whole new world of challenges. [...]
What I have come to learn is that my desire to win, the will to pursue my goals with the highest level of intensity and passion, defines me. But I have been careful to keep my motivation pure. The distractions that come with winning, the idea of [doing it] for the money or [...] for the fame and prestige — I’ve watched all of these things consume other[s]. My thirst for domination is fed only by the game. I refuse to get distracted by outside forces.
This is a new book in my career. Volume One has already been written. Everything that I accomplished before is behind me: not forgotten, but placed on the shelf. My past success only serves as a measuring stick for my peers. [...]
I have learned that it is OK for me to be me, and what being me entails. It means that I will not rest; I will not sleep, relax, relent or be satisfied until my goals have been met, the challenge answered and all my doubters silenced. I will not give in to my foes; I won’t let down my teammates. I won’t stop inspiring those who look up to me or stop giving motivation to those who motivate me. I will not back off until I’m back on top, back in the place where they said I could never be again. Mountains don’t scare me. The LACK of mountains scares me. The climb up, the struggle for every inch of ground and every level of ascension is what feeds me. I welcome that challenge. I welcome that chance to be fed because no matter what — no matter how hard, how far, or how many stand in my way, I remain determined.
[Read the whole piece]
Screw academic impartiality. Kobe Bryant is the real-life Courage Wolf. He is the most determined, the most focused, clutchest player in basketball history. His story is much more than pure basketball skills or talent or hard work; it’s rather the sense of purpose, sense of mission, and the self-confidence that make Kobe what he is. No pressure or external influence can crush his willingness to win; no excuse can alleviate the pain of failure. In the rather erratic, profane world of professional sports, Kobe is the only old-school gentleman left, fighting for almost outdated values of pride, honor, dignity and ultimately, winning it all, but winning it gracefully. I just love re-reading this piece he originally wrote years ago, when he just parted ways with Shaq and was left with a mediocre Lakers team.
Since then, Kobe became an MVP, won two more titles in three trips to the NBA Finals, engraving his name in history as one of the greatest. Coming of one of his worst seasons last year which ended with a playoff sweep by the Mavs, Kobe this year plays through the toughest of physical and emotional pain – battling a myriad of injuries, and going through a divorce [which also stripped him off half his wealth]. And while many analysts wrote him off as too old and past his prime, his response comes in the form of leading the Lakers to currently #1 spot in the Pacific, by bombarding opponents [averages 28.1/5.4/4.6 and had made several epic game-winning shots], or just by being Coach Kobe on the sidelines.
Again, in his own words:
That mountain, the one that I climbed once and now face again, is huge. I’m looking up at it again. And because I know how hard it was to climb, I sometimes feel drained because I know how difficult it will be to conquer. It’s much harder to go from top to bottom to the top again than it is to simply go from the bottom to the top. But desire is the ultimate fuel. Hunger changes any situation. My past experience gives me knowledge that backs up my will. I know what must be done.
Being at a crossroads myself, coming of age, and having a long road ahead to reclaim what I once had achieved, I just have no other option but tag this post “personal” as well.