In an article published by the The Players Tribune, Kobe Bryant penned a letter to his younger self and gets re-acquainted with his seventeen year old self. What do you think the present Kobe has to say to the past version of himself? If you were to write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell yourself? Just imagine if you were to meet your younger self today, what kind of conversation would you two have? Looking at a younger reflection of you, that is still part of who you are today. Hmmm, I'll let you ponder on that and we'll touch base in a few. In the meantime, let's check out this letter and see what the Black Mamba had to say to his younger self. I'm sure, we will learn a few things from it.
Kobe Bryant gets straight to the point and does not beat around the bush, he informs his younger self that his dreams will come true. With that dream coming true, his younger self needs to do something. Kobe illustrates in bold, capitalized letters the word, "invest." He also addresses the letter to his seventeen year old self. Maybe that time period was a pivotal moment of growth for Kobe.
"Dear 17-year-old self,
When your Laker dream comes true tomorrow, you need to figure out a way to invest in the future of your family and friends. This sounds simple, and you may think it’s a no-brainer, but take some time to think on it further.
I said INVEST.
Bryant continues with the letter explaining the difference between invest and give. Elaborating that it is better to invest in others in a way that will magnify them. And that sometimes when we give, we are actually taking away from others. Does that make sense? Hmmm, let's check the letter and see.
I did not say GIVE.
Let me explain.
Purely giving material things to your siblings and friends may appear to be the right decision. You love them, and they were always there for you growing up, so it’s only right that they should share in your success and all that comes with it. So you buy them a car, a big house, pay all of their bills. You want them to live a beautiful, comfortable life, right?
But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you were actually holding them back..
The Black Mamba expresses to his younger self how he gave for self gratification. That it was not so much about the other person but himself, which was selfish.
You will come to understand that you were taking care of them because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to see them smiling and without a care in the world — and that was extremely selfish of you. While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at their own dreams and ambitions. You were adding material things to their lives, but subtracting the most precious gifts of all: independence and growth.
Kobe emphasizes about the importance of investing in others by making them realize their own dreams and not allow giving to become a crutch that hinders them. Bryant tells his younger self he will become a man sooner than he thinks and as man, it is wise to lead others to become leaders themselves.
Understand that you are about to be the leader of the family, and this involves making tough choices, even if your siblings and friends do not understand them at the time.
Invest in their future, don’t just give.
Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose. Put them through school, set them up with job interviews and help them become leaders in their own right. Hold them to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get to where you are now, and where you will eventually go.
This letter seems to have been a process of healing for Kobe Bryant. Who basically confronts himself (The Gemini Effect) to learn from his past mistakes, in order to break the cycles of them and set himself free. And in healing himself, he'll heal others from the pain of his mistakes.
I’m writing you now so that you can begin this process immediately, and so that you don’t have to deal with the hurt and struggle of weaning them off of the addiction that you facilitated. That addiction only leads to anger, resentment and jealousy from everybody involved, including yourself.
As time goes on, you will see them grow independently and have their own ambitions and their own lives, and your relationship with all of them will be much better as a result.
Kobe Bryant concludes the letter about mixing business with family and how sometimes, it does not work for everybody. He tells himself to prepare for this next transition of his life, for him to reflect, look outside of the box; and try to see the future on how the contract will affect everybody in his life. Kobe reminds his younger self about the whole purpose of the letter and how the act of investing, instills values in others to realize their worth. The Black Mamba tells his younger self that his own investment in his training will pay off as well. And breaks free by advising himself to do the right things, because it will avoid pain from doing the wrong things.
There’s plenty more I could write to you, but at 17, I know you don’t have the attention span to sit through 2,000 words.
The next time I write to you, I may touch on the challenges of mixing blood with business. The most important advice I can give to you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS and not managers.
Before you sign that first contract, figure out the right budget for your parents — one that will allow them to live beautifully while also growing your business and setting people up for long-term success. That way, your children’s kids and their kids will be able to invest in their own futures when the time comes.
Your life is about to change, and things are about to come at you very fast. But just let this sink in a bit when you lay down at night after another nine-hour training day.
Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache, some of which remains to this day.
That was a heartfelt letter. I hope you learned something, I know I did. Hopefully, this will inspire you to write a letter to your younger self, confront something, release and let go of something you've been carrying around for years, forgive yourself and others and; allow yourself to finally heal. Learn from your mistakes so you can grow and evolve into a better you. Think of your future self and do something today to bless your present with the gift of tomorrow.