This past month, the world was shocked by the news of the death of sports icon Kobe Bryant along with eight other victims on board a helicopter that crashed in Calabasas. For 20 years, basketball fans watched Kobe game after game and witnessed an athlete who was wholeheartedly committed to excellence.
During Kobe’s jersey retirement ceremony at a 2017 NBA game, he addressed these poignant sentiments to his children: “Those times when you don’t feel like working, you’re too tired, you don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway, that is the actual dream. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
These words are encouraging, yet also a noble analysis allowing us to ask ourselves how many people we know (ourselves included) who are fully and completely devoted to life’s callings. Why is it so important to give our whole-hearted effort to everything in which we believe?
Approaching even a few things in our life with a fifty-fifty, half-hearted approach can be slowly insidious. We find occasions where we listen poorly or speak in non-committal ways; stagnation and a lukewarm approach to life sets in.
Even those of us who seem fully invested in everything go through seasons when we find areas in our life receiving less dedication. This passiveness is encouraged in a society that awards materialistic pursuits versus intrinsic values and where social media and multitasking impede our journey.
Here are a few ways to re-engage and find motivation to give 100 percent of yourself to undertakings and avoid half-hearted actions:
- Watch your mind carefully and notice the times where there is a lapse of commitment. Pay particular attention to procrastination.
- Lean forward, not backward. Encourage accountability with yourself by getting inside your mind and heart. Bust through the veneer of your life! You can’t check out of your life to transform.
- Maintain healthy relationships and communication. Hold yourself accountable to commit to others, clean up relationships responsibly and forego the “shoulds” of life. Courage, compassion and connection are the gateways toward living wholeheartedly.
Ferris Bueller once stated, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Looking around allows us to see examples of whole or half-hearted living every moment.
A recent personal experience sent this lesson home unlike any other. Eleven years ago, I met a man who continued to be my partner for nine years. After nine years, he disengaged and became elusive. For a year we went our separate ways and then re-connected after seeking our own personal lives. During a truthful moment, where every façade was peeled away, this gentleman in a moment of vulnerability said, “At 53, I realize I had never been fully committed in any relationship I had stepped into.” This was a powerful epiphany and one that allowed our relationship to renew with greater depth and transformation. His “all-in” approach feels like comforting devotion.
In the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau, the transcendentalist author lived for years in reflection surrounded by nature, the vision he had for himself was to “suck out all of the marrow of life.” By living wholeheartedly, we benefit from the last drop of nectar and can find our true mission.