In 2016, Kobe Bryant shared an all-time great mindset, manifested into a subtle quote that not many people noticed. I can’t get it out of my head, so I wanted to share. You can take it literally or (mostly) metaphorically – both work and can be applied to the dream you’re chasing.
The quote came from Kobe when he was on stage accepting the ‘Icon Award’ at the ESPYS. He was addressing fellow athletes:
“We’re not on this stage just because of talent or ability,” Bryant said.
“We’re up here because of 4 a.m. We’re up here because of two-a-days or five-a-days.
We’re up here because we had a dream and let nothing stand in our way. If anything tried to bring us down, we used it to make us stronger.”
There are thousands of athletes that had similar or even better talent than Kobe. Just like there are thousands of executives, leaders, sales managers, artists, musicians, writers, etc. that have the same and more talent than you and me.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t come down to who has the most talent or intelligence. It comes down to who is willing to make the choices that others are not willing to make.
Who is willing to shoot baskets in the dark when everyone else is sleeping? Who is willing to prepare more for an interview? Who is willing to practice their speech 10X more than anyone else? All are choices we make.
If the dream is small, there’s no point to do things that others won’t if your end goal is not something “extra-ordinary.” There’s just no reason for the “4AMs.” Which is totally cool and fine!
But if the dream is big… the game changes.
The 4AMs and two-a-days become intentional choices. The hard things over the easy, comfortable things become routine. The discipline to put off instant gratification is the standard process. People will say “you’re obsessed, you’re not normal!” and they’re right because its not a normal journey. A big dream is something extraordinary: very different from what is normal or customary.
And over time, as I’m beginning to realize more and more, the choice to take this journey is ultimately the reward.
What’s your 4AM?
This quote is not saying everyone should get up at 4AM or do five-a-days. It’s metaphoric. The idea is that if you have a big dream, then you have to fall in love with doing things that others won’t to accomplish what others can’t.