Kobe Bryant and Daughter Giana

What the Life and Loss of Kobe Bryant Taught Us and How to Keep Those Lessons Alive

It’s been about a month since the tragic accident that ended the life of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, and his 13-year-old daughter. 

When the news broke, it stopped everyone in their tracks and created an instant search to verify the headlines. Once it was widely confirmed that it was in fact, Kobe Bryant’s helicopter, news of the deaths slowly trickled out and with each, you could almost feel an audible gasp by anyone following along. 

In the wake of the accident and after the details unraveled, many felt stunned with disbelief and confusion. Devoted fans, friends, and those who didn’t even know which basketball team Bryant called home, were deeply touched and affected by this incredible athlete, father, husband, and philanthropist who was taken too soon alongside his barely teenage daughter and 7 others.

This tragedy quickly turned into a nationwide conversation. It sparked a time of reflection and collective discussions that focused on the fragility of life and the impact that a single instant can have on a person, family, and community. 

The Kobe Conversations and Making a Mental Shift

Celebrities, friends, commentators, and neighbors kept trying to make sense of such an inexplicable situation. But when words didn’t make sense and no one could make sense of how the universe made this decision, the conversation shifted. Instead of asking “why,” we started asking, “what does it mean?”

Rather than justifying, extracting life lessons became the coping method and it brought on a bigger message – nothing in life is guaranteed and our next breath could be our last.

And with that, many began making mental shifts. They explored ways to ensure that each and every day could be filled with passion and love. They wrote about it, spoke about it, and preached about it. They said to make sure you tell others you love them. To give a goodbye kiss and mean it. And to spend the extra five minutes before bedtime singing a song or reading a story to their children. These small changes were brought to the forefront through conversations, blogs, social media, and headlines that wanted to help others make their lives more fulfilling all the way up until that last breath. 

But now, we are here 30 days later and Kobe, Gianna, and the others were put to rest. While still raw and bothersome, the glistening lessons we shared and tried to absorb from this tragedy are sadly, starting to fade. The lessons aren’t being discussed and the headlines have dropped below more pressing issues. And we, as a whole, are headed back to a place of complacency and back into the daily grind. The lessons have fallen off our priority lists as we have returned to “business as usual.” Which is where we will stay…until the next tragedy occurs and we are reminded of what we should be doing. 

But, what if we didn’t forget? What if these lessons remained a priority and we kept moving in a direction toward living life with passion and love? What if we took steps to honor our legend and the lessons learned from his far-too-short life? What if we kept the spirit alive and could continue to live with a focus on passion and love? What if we didn’t need another tragedy to prompt us to continue living life the way we should be living?

Well, the truth is, we can. That is if we want to.

Keeping Alive the Lessons of Life, Passion, and Love

To keep the lessons of life, passion, purpose, and love alive, we need to rewire our mindset. We need to give ourselves gentle, daily reminders about where and how we should spend our time. We need to keep kindness at the forefront and always know that we have to live in faith that our story will unfold just as it should. 

One way to approach this mindset shift is to give ourselves the reminders we need – in the form of consumed media or physical symbols. 

For example, I heard a story about a woman who has a 5-year-old son. She told me about how hectic her life can get because she and her husband own a business and work full-time. She explained that they are up at 4 a.m. and don’t usually start to drift off to dreamland until close to 10 p.m. 

Their days are full and the family schedule is fluid creating week-by-week planning. So when they used to put their son to bed, they would rush to get through the routine so they could unwind and get some uninterrupted shuteye. Fair enough. 

But one day, they realized that life was flying by and their son was growing up way too fast. They realized that the time they had together as a family might only be those 20 minutes getting ready for bed. So instead of rushing through those minutes, why not embrace them and make the most of it?  

Of course, that is easier said than done, but this woman did one other thing. She hung a sign in her son’s bedroom that read, “enjoy the little things in life, for one day, you may look back and realize they were the big things.” This was her physical symbol that encouraged an ongoing commitment to her mindset shift. The sign was a daily reminder that these moments were the ones that mattered. If bedtime took an extra five minutes, they were minutes well spent.

Staying Aligned with the Universe 

The idea is that we must not forget the lessons the universe offers us. When the next tragedy happens, we shouldn’t feel like we have to scramble to live life with passion and love. Instead, we should feel comfort in knowing that we already learned these important lessons and we are living life the best we can – in full gratitude and appreciation for all things we are fortunate enough to see and feel.

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