I recently came across this interview with Kobe Bryant the legendary basketball player.
I don’t follow sports that much, but I am aware of how, as a culture, we worship successful athletes more than many other folks who actually make a big impact on our lives.
I’m not here to diminish athletes and entertainers. I find many of them inspiring — their focus, determination, mindset, discipline. These are qualities to be celebrated for sure.
That said, I felt sad reading Kobe’s interview. Particularly when he discusses the lack of “good” friends in his life. I imagined an entire world out of reach for the man who could have anything. From this perspective I have to ask — Is Kobe a loser?
The Shadow Side of the High Achiever
You see, the shadow side of the high achiever is the devotion to answering questions like, “How do I prove I’m the best? How much more can I do?”
I’ve coached men and women who sadly define themselves and their self worth by answering these questions. Before they reach the top of the ladder they’re already seeking the very next one.
It never ends.
Reminds me of the labrador at the dog park who obsesses over the ball and begs for it to be thrown again and again.
There’s a Bigger Game to Play
And even if these men and women get good at retrieving the ball, they’re perpetually empty inside. And for what? So somebody else can cash in?
Do we want to idolize guys like Kobe when in reality he’d be invisible if he didn’t sell season tickets, shoes, and hot dogs so that somebody else can cash in?
Or the guy killing himself to get funding for his start up so that somebody else can cash in?
Or the guy tolerating metric tons of BS to climb the corporate ladder so that somebody else can cash in?
Usually the folks who believe they are the top of the heap are, in my opinion, the ones getting played.
There’s a bigger game here, my friend. One that you can define. It’s on the other side of the false belief that there’s anything to prove to anybody — including ourselves.
What Would You Do If…?
What would you do if there was nothing to prove?
This is the real game. This is where the real fun begins.
Do you want to play?