This snake you see is a black mamba! It is an extremely aggressive and venomous snake species. While watching this scene from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,” famous basketball player Kobe Bryant suddenly jumped to his feet. No, not out of fear. He saw himself in that snake…
Adult black mambas have an average length of around 2.5 meters (8.2 feet). It is the second-longest venomous snake in the world. Black mambas get their name not from their olive-green body color but from the black color inside their mouths. The black mamba is known to be one of the fastest land-dwelling snakes. It is claimed to reach speeds of around 20 km/h (12 mph).
Long, black, fast, venomous, aggressive. It’s because of these snake characteristics that Kobe Bryant found himself in it. And also due to another very important feature of snakes… As you know, they shed their skin. In fact, we humans also need such a change from time to time. To a second identity… Kobe Bryant created his own alter ego, inspired by this snake.
I was 10 or 11 years old. During summer, we would play basketball. All summer long, I couldn’t score a single basket. Not even one? I couldn’t make a single one. A kid who can’t make a single basket. Just imagine. At least one should go in by chance. How can you not make any baskets?
Because I was a disaster. I couldn’t score when I was wide open or even by chance. Zero points. I remember crying. Isn’t it a bit difficult to imagine big Kobe like this?
One day, my dad came up to me, hugged me and said: Look, whether you score zero points or 60 points, I love you and always will. This is the best thing you can say to a child. Do you know why?
Because at that point, I had the confidence to be as unsuccessful as I wanted. But you know what? I’m still going to score those 60 points!
The confidence to be as unsuccessful as you want. If you have nothing left to lose, you feel more free.
At such a moment, you have two paths: Label yourself as a loser, give in, and retreat. Or choose a second path. Create a label like #MambaMentality for yourself. Create a symbol, an alter ego, and push forward with determination.
Of course, everyone’s life is different. The same rules don’t apply to everyone. Many of us don’t play basketball, maybe we don’t even do sports. However, thinking with the psychology of a successful athlete and thus being able to control not only the body but also the mind is a necessity for all of us.
That’s why we have something to learn from Kobe and his snake.
Science and technology are advancing rapidly. We’re struggling to keep up with the news. Every day, new technology enters our homes, changing our lives.
But our bodies don’t change that fast.
We spend hours in front of the computer, at the desk. Backaches, neck pain, increasing cardiovascular diseases, obesity… Just during the quarantine period, many diseases increased because we were all confined to our homes. We became inactive. Yet our bodies are not used to this. Just a generation or two ago, we needed much more physical strength. We were moving!
That’s why, even if we are not athletes, we must get our bodies moving. But it’s not enough. It’s not even enough for athletes. How will these people, who reach their physical limits, stand out in the competition?
By using this. That’s what Kobe realized. That’s why he talked about mentality. It’s a matter related to the mind.
He first used the concept of #MambaMentality as a hashtag on Twitter. It was embraced by people and quickly became a movement. Trending topic. Starting with the athlete’s psychology in the body, but when deepened, it was completed with the mind. It has turned into a kind of life philosophy. Look at the title of the book: How do I play?
Life and game.
Not only basketball players, not only athletes are playing. We are all playing in this life. Perhaps that’s why children who read the #MambaMentality tag started sharing it too. Professors from elite universities… CEOs of big companies…
So, what did they find in this mentality?
We often hear such cool phrases, especially in the world of personal development. If you do these 3 things, your life will change. Secrets of success in 5 steps. Break the Chain!
No, this last one is good; it really works 🙂
I guess Kobe’s is like that too. Because he doesn’t give you a prescription like me. He doesn’t make empty promises like “do this, and you’ll be successful too.” Everyone’s life is different. You can’t give fish to everyone. But you can teach them how to fish. At least you can inspire.
Do you know what the best way to do this is? Not by telling, but by doing.
Kobe did that. His daily routine was very strict. He worked relentlessly like an aggressive mamba. Waking up as early as 3 in the morning… Staying up late into the night…
It’s different from a typical athlete’s routine. Many athletes avoid strenuous activities before important matches to conserve energy. But he didn’t do that. He constantly ran in a tiring pace. Because he realized that this situation made him stronger. Stretching, weightlifting, training, playing basketball, recovery… He thought this way, he prepared better for the Play-offs.
Of course, I’m not telling you to wake up at 3 a.m. and work; if necessary, get up at 2 a.m. 🙂 It’s not about what time it is. It’s not about strictly following a given prescription. It’s about being flexible.
I tried waking up early in the morning many times, but it didn’t work. If it doesn’t work, change immediately. Like a snake. Try another way. Follow the path you draw, not what’s laid out before you.
Break the mold. If you do what everyone else does, how can you make a difference?
I think that’s the essence. Kobe didn’t apply the same intense routine throughout his life. He even says that himself. He says:
“My routine changed over time, but my approach did not.”
To develop such an approach, you need to draw inspiration from something. You need a story to motivate yourself. That film and snake appeared before Kobe when he needed it. He chose it.
Here’s another example. I mentioned it in the video about The Last of Us series; the creators of the game that inspired the series were influenced by the cordyceps fungus they saw in a documentary.
If you want to develop an approach, pursue your own stories and symbols.
For athletes, the Olympics serve to motivate the formation of such stories. It aims to be a target for athletes to prepare psychologically.
Mamba Mentality. This is a matter of mindset.
This mindset is not about seeking a result, but about the process of reaching that result. Kobe called it a “lifestyle.”
Taking the strategy of a game like basketball and applying it to life… We may encounter problems during this process, changes may be needed. But the goal and approach remain the same.
Kobe hasn’t been repeating the same things every day with blind, rigid discipline. When we say he works hard, this should not be misunderstood. Undoubtedly, he has great discipline. After all, he’s a mamba! He’s fully dedicated to basketball. He never loses sight of his goal. But it’s a discipline that is intelligently and dynamically structured. Is he feeling tired that day? He doesn’t push himself further, takes a break and rests. Does he feel like he needs to take more shots that day? He continues taking shots. In other words, he listens to his body and mind.
A sound mind is in a sound body. Behind this saying, which seems unrelated at first, there are significant scientific findings today. The idea that if you work your mind, your body may stay small, but your mind grows, or if you only work your body, your brain stays small isn’t quite accurate. We need both.
There isn’t a single prescription for everything. Our lifestyles have changed. Diseases are changing too. Depression and anxiety are growing problems of our age. Nowadays, 1 in 3 teenagers aged 13-18 is affected by anxiety. 1 in 3! Are we aware of what this means? Research shows that if we don’t address this issue, school performance decreases, and the rest of life is affected. Moreover, we have recently experienced a much more extraordinary situation. During the pandemic, anxiety has increased 6 times and depression 8 times!
During the pandemic, the question of why such an increase occurred is a research topic on its own for science. However, one thing is clear for us. Our lives changed, and they changed very quickly. Our bodies and minds couldn’t adapt to this. We couldn’t change our clothes fast enough. Maybe while we used to have to walk 20 minutes every day, we ended up sitting at home. On top of that, we indulged in sweets! We almost got a belly.
In fact, this situation tells us something very striking. The mechanism hasn’t been fully understood yet, but there’s a very clear fact that the scientific world is aware of. Doing just 10-15 minutes of exercise a day significantly reduces your risk of anxiety and depression. It doesn’t stop there; it also strengthens your ability to think effectively.
We talked about doing, not just saying. Let me talk about what I do myself. When I get stuck on a problem, do you know what I do? I go out and take a 10-15 minute walk. I even named the path I walk on. I call it the eureka path.
So, I create my own story and my own symbols.
When Kobe felt tired, he would rest instead of continuing to shoot. He wouldn’t stubbornly choose to work unproductively. When I get stuck, I don’t force it either; I go for a walk to boost my mind’s performance. During this time, I also maintain my physical health. I effectively utilize the limited time for every resource. It seems to remind me of permaculture, doesn’t it?
When Kobe wanted to take more shots while his shots were good, he continued to do so. I don’t take shots, but I write. When I’m writing a text, is everything flowing smoothly? I don’t stop in the middle and look at my phone! I continue until I finish or get stuck. I try to make good use of productive time.
But as I said, this is not a prescription. This is reasoning. A body-mind coordination. Not everyone can behave in the same way. The way each snake coils must be different. For example, I don’t stop when the writing flows, but the famous writer Ernest Hemingway would leave a story at the most exciting point when he knew what would happen next. Then he would continue from where he left off. Because when he returned the next day, there was an exciting story to continue, and he already knew what would happen next, which would encourage him to write! Well, if the challenge you face is continuing from where you left off, here’s the solution. Create your own motivation.
Look, even though there are different prescriptions, they all share the same mentality. As Kobe said, routines may be different, but the approach is the same. Clever strategies we create to use our minds effectively. However, to achieve this in a healthy and productive way, we need a strong body. In our busy lives, we may not be able to find 30 minutes to exercise. But even 10-15 minutes a day can significantly impact our lives.
If you want to constantly grow, be determined, compete, and cope with challenges, there’s no obstacle other than yourself in front of you. To overcome that obstacle, if you love Kobe, apply the Mamba Mentality. If you love me, don’t break the chain.
But most importantly, if you love yourself, pursue your own story.
Let’s go. Right now, today. Change the shirt you’re wearing. Coil around the obstacle in front of you. Go for a little walk on the eureka path.
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