As you all know by now, Kobe Bryant and his young daughter, along with seven other people, died in a helicopter crash this past weekend.
It’s a terrible tragedy. My condolences go out to all of the affected families.
I’m not a huge sports fan. Certainly not by American standards.
However, I’m a massive advocate for working hard to make your dreams come true. Kobe Bryant exemplified that.
The guy’s work ethic was legendary. And he wasn’t afraid to let others know exactly how he felt about laziness:
I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.
I’ve lost a lot of people in my life.
My grandmother and mother both committed suicide via the same method around the same age.
My father left me when I was eight years old.
Then I lost my younger sisters to envy and resentment.
To cap it all off, I later found out my adoptive parents were committing truly despicable acts that left me with no choice but to say goodbye.
I’m familiar with loss.
However, much of my loss has been through the choices of others.
What happened to Kobe Bryant was not by his choice. It was a terrible accident. And at 41 years old, he died far too young.
He was only a few years into his retirement from basketball, creating a new identity and living a new lifetime. Kobe Studios and and Bryant Stibel are evidence of that. It was awesome to see that unfold. I love reinvention. And he was an ace at it.
Unfortunately, that’s all over now.
This brings me to the simple life lesson that I took away from this tragic accident.
It could all end at any moment.
We don’t know when our time is finally up. There’s no precise date, time, and location for our end. Furthermore, it can come much sooner than we’d expect.
I’m quite sure that when Kobe woke up this past Sunday, he didn’t roll out of bed thinking he’d be dead before the day was over.
But that’s how it worked out.
It’s a sad tale.
However I think there’s a bright side to this.
Knowing that our time in this life is so short and unspecified means we must live our lives in the now. We have to make the most of our limited time and live out the lives we truly desire.
There is no time for anything else. As Kobe would say, there’s no room for excuses.
It’s exactly why I chased after and achieved FIRE.
I couldn’t stand the thought of spending most of my waking hours on this planet at a job I didn’t enjoy. That’s insanity. If I faced sudden death in my 40s or 50s knowing that I didn’t make my dreams happen, I’d be very disappointed in myself and filled with regret.
Instead, I quit my job at 32 years old, achieved financial independence at 33, and moved abroad at 35.
I’m now living my dream life as an early retiree expat who spends time pursuing a wide range of passions: writing, investing, philanthropy, reading, exercise, etc.
I’m living a lifetime that is completely different than the one I was living a decade ago, just like Kobe was.
If a sudden unfortunate situation were to now befall me, I’d at least have some comfort in the knowledge that I did it on my terms and made things happen. I could leave without regret.
The accident that claimed nine lives is awful.
But accidents happen every day. Anything can happen at any time.
There’s brevity in our lives. That brevity, perhaps, makes life more beautiful. But there’s also a built-in sense of urgency.
This is why we must seize the day.
Make the most of every moment and opportunity you have.
Love and be loved. Be a great human being. Give life your all. Set and accomplish your goals. Lift up others. Leave the world a better place than you found it.
I don’t know when my end will come. But I do know that I’m giving this thing my best effort. And I’m having so much fun doing it.
Ahh. Yes, that’s it right there. Maybe the most important lesson of all.
I think Kobe would have approved of that message.
No, I know he would have approved:
Have a good time. Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile, and just keep on rolling.
Let’s make the most of our time and have a good time doing it.
For all the time we have left.
What do you think? Any life lessons you took away from this tragedy? Did Kobe teach you something?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license.
P.S. If you’re interested in achieving financial freedom, so that you may make your dreams come true, check out some fantastic resources I personally used on my way to becoming financially free at 33!