I never thought that I would be one to use sports analogies to communicate life lessons, but there I was watching the NBA Western Conference Finals, telling my two toddlers (5 and 2) about life according to Kobe Bryant.
We can debate until we are blue in the face about Kobe’s reported cockiness, arrogance, selfishness, and primadonna attitude. But at the end of the day, he has that wicked combination of 1 percent inspiration and 99% percent perspiration. And, in a weird and surprising way, that was the life lesson I wanted to convey to my children.
Unlike most other talented individuals, Kobe does not rest on his God-given talents. He is able to parlay his talents to reach the pinnacle of his field (albeit basketball) because of hard-work and focus. He was always the first one in the gym, and last one out. He was always the player that pushed and pushed for perfection on the court when other mere mortals would have been satisfied with “good enough.” And when the game comes down to the wire, few other athletes (perhaps Tiger Woods) are able to shut out the world and maniacally focus on the task at hand.
So strangely enough, that's the directed drive and work ethic that I want instilled in my children. Whether they decide to be a basket weaver or a Andean goat herder, I want them to find that passion and develop a relentless drive to be the best at that endeavor. Too often, we (myself included) become complacent with our jobs, our relationships, with our lives. It’s when we find our passion and devote the sweat and tears to it that truly great things happen.