Kobe Bryant, Mamba Mentality and Perfectionism
"Why are everyone talking about this Mamba Mentality? What is this 'Mamba Jumbo'", exclaimed a 9 year old boy, trying to be funny in front of his teammates.
"Mamba mentality is what you aim to do everyday", said his coach. "Do you want to get better in your sprints?, Do you want to get better in your jumps? Do you want to get better in your passes? Do you want to get better in your goals. Do you want to improve daily as a footballer? Do you want to improve daily as a person?"
The 9-year old said, "Yes, I want to have a 'Mamba Mentality'! How did this term come in to play, sir?"
"Kobe 'Black Mamba' Bryant. You want to know who he is? Listen" and his coach went to give the team a new role model.
So what is this 'Mamba Mentality' philosophy?
Kobe Bryant, coined this term himself. Now before you go ahead reading this, and if you dont know who Kobe Bryant is, I want you to stop reading and google his name. Read about his bio and come back.
“Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. Mamba mentality is about 4 a.m. workouts, doing more than the next guy and then trusting in the work you’ve put in when it’s time to perform. Without studying, preparation and practice, you’re leaving the outcome to fate. I don’t do fate.”- Kobe Bryant
How is it different from perfectionism?
So firstly, athletes who are extreme perfectionists focus on the outcome and not on the process. If they fail to achieve something, or if they lose or they don't get the approval of others after what they've done, it lowers their self-confidence. They may want good results without focusing on their process of achieving the results. Perfectionist athletes:
Lose confidence quickly not performing well
Expect to perform perfectly (make zero mistakes)
Are very self-critical of their performance
Tend to dwell on mistakes and missed chances
Are stuck in a practice mindset, which hurts them in competition
Mamba mentality focuses on the process of the way to achieve something. Its about being 'Work in Progress forever'. It is about being better everyday. There is no outcome of getting better daily. The outcome is the smell of hardwork. There is no replacement for hardwork, there is no fate that comes to rescue you from your hard work when it matters. That is what Mamba Mentality is all about.
Its not about being perfect, its not about chasing success which looks so perfect! For me it is all about finding your 'Ikigai'- purpose of living and going all Mamba over it!
A famous guy in Bollywood called Rancho/Phunsuk Wangdu once said "Always chase excellence in what you dom success will run after you"
That is what all this 'Mamba - Jumbo is all about!
If you feel you are an extreme perfectionist and it is hurting the way you play, the first way to get over it is to focus on the process of the day.
Ill end this piece by quoting Kobe again. He wrote to his daughters
"Those times when you get up early & you work hard, those times you stay up late & you work hard, those times when you don't feel like working, you're too tired, you don't want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. THAT'S THE DREAM."