Mamba Mentality

Randomness dictates the shape of the world so deeply and in such imperceptible ways that sometimes it’s hard to believe anything happens on purpose. Perhaps that’s why rolling with the punches and making the best of any situation is essential to a satisfying life.

The risk that accompanies this acknowledgment of randomness, though, is akin to hypnosis; we begin dreaming in fear and apathy, thus preventing any action at all. To combat this, the focus must be on the viable middle ground between cognizance and ignorance, where we maintain a healthy respect for what’s out of our control. Fortunately for us, this can be practiced regularly by simply basking in gratitude for our good health each morning.

In January 2020, Los Angeles Laker legend Kobe Bryant died in a freak helicopter accident that also took the lives of eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter. The impromptu memorial held outside of Staples Center the evening of the crash was filled with an atmosphere that was palpable with powerlessness. Kobe was indestructible in the way only a living legend can be, and when the gathered mourners locked their helpless eyes, sympathy for him developed into empathy for each other. Our lives conclude in our deaths, and it’s rarely ours to know when we’ll move on.

The concept of randomness is not a feasible opponent to vilify though, because it doesn’t play favorites or pick sides. In any given moment we’re exposing ourselves to an indeterminate amount of volatility, and oftentimes all we can do is manage the aftermath.

For relief from the anxiousness this might cause, we can look to the most well-known doctrine of Kobe Bryant himself: Mamba Mentality. Mamba Mentality doesn’t concentrate on what outside forces are doing, rather it’s a total focus on the self, building and re-building a better version of the inner structure, day-in and day-out.

With three games remaining in the 2013 NBA season and a playoff berth on the horizon, the ball was in Kobe’s hands as he pivoted around his defender to drive to the basket. It was a move he’d executed thousands of times in his career, but on this occasion it resulted in a torn Achilles tendon, and his season was finished. On his Facebook page that same night, Kobe wrote a post about how upset he was that all of his hard work from the last year would ostensibly amount to nothing. Near the end of the post though, Kobe’s self-made nurture kicked in, and he wrote:

Kobe Bryant’s mythos will live on as a dynamic example that if we put in maximum effort, we’ll be best positioned for maximum results (and minimum remorse.)

An attentiveness toward the fickle nature of the world isn’t an excuse to halt our passions, it’s an argument to push harder than ever toward them. The results may be out of our hands, but showing up each day to put in the work rests entirely on our shoulders. Best of all, it’s through this doorway that we expose ourselves to the optimal type of randomness — good luck.

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