Do you recognize these words, made famous by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society?
Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.
British poet Robert Herrick published these words in 1642, one of 1,200 poems in his magnum opus – Hesperides.
There is one single overarching theme to the 1,200 poems: “carpe diem” – seize the day.
Carpe Diem. Seize the day!
How can YOU “seize the day”?
Using Kobe Bryant as a case study – a person who embodied this mantra – you’ll find below five principles to grab life by the horns and seize your day.
Know Your “Why”
Sustained motivation and peak performance comes from a deeply burning passion and purpose – an inner drive, an inner “why.” Seizing the day begins with knowing your why – your vision – and then setting goals (a plan) to realize that vision.
How do you develop a vision and set goals to make it a reality? Here’s an article on how to get started.
When Kobe Bryant was 10 years old, he was one of the worst in his summer league. He didn’t even score a point. But, he truly loved the game and decided that he wanted to be the best in the world. That was his vision. It drove him, inspired him, and permeated everything he did. You know what followed.
“Everything was done in order to become a better basketball player. Everything. When you have that view, the world becomes your library, to help you to become better at your craft.” – Kobe
Effectively Manage Time
It begins with time. It’s not a flashy place to start, but it is THE place to start. Those who don’t control their time have life dictated to them. Those who take control of their time are free to lead a life by design. Learn to schedule your priorities first by pre-week planning. That’s the secret sauce to time management. If you pre-week plan on a regular basis you will prioritize your goals, your vision, and you’ll soon be seizing the day!
Kobe realized that if he could prioritize basketball better than the next person, he would eventually become a better player than that person. And that’s what he did. He managed time towards being a better player perhaps better than anybody else. Where other players would practice three times a day, 9-11am, 2-4pm, and 7-9pm, he realized he could get one additional session from 4am-6am.
“I know that if I start early enough, I’m gonna get more practice in than my opponent. And the gap is just gonna widen and widen, and they won’t be able to get that back.”
“Trivial things weren’t going to pull my attention. It had to be things that had a purpose. Anything that didn’t bring me closer to becoming the best basketball player I could be, anything that was outside of that lane, I didn’t have time for.” – Kobe
Apply the Power of Knowledge
The greater our knowledge, the greater our power to bring about change. Particularly in our own lives. So, apply the power of knowledge towards your passions, your goals, your profession, and your life and you’ll quickly begin to seize the day. Your life will take flight and reach new heights.
Nobody was more hungry for knowledge than Kobe Bryant. He studied the greatest players religiously, and he would sit down with them and just pick their brains. He wanted to know every single detail. He’d ask them about their approach, practices, details of their games, and so forth. Nobody studied the game more than Kobe. It comes as no surprise than that almost nobody played the game better than Kobe.
At the end of the day, we cannot blame or shift responsibility to others for the life we’ve lived. Our life is our responsibility. Period. Full stop. Choose to leave blame, criticism, and victimization out of your life. They are poison that kill dreams. Choose to say, “I am responsible,” and only then can you begin to seize the day.
Kobe never blamed or played the victim. He always took ownership for his performance, for his team, and for the results. That reflects the mindset of a champion.
“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” – Kobe
Never Give Up
It goes without saying that those who persist, succeed. Persist. Try again. Get up. Adapt. Adjust. Innovate. And keep going. Never, never, give up — and you will seize the day.
Kobe never settled for mediocrity. He never eased off the gas. He never aimed low. He persisted until he succeeded in every aspect of the game. Injuries could not stop him. Team conflict couldn’t stop him. Scandals and accusations couldn’t stop him. Most admirably, wild success could not stop him. Even though he was great, he still strove for better.
“We don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.” – Kobe
Wrapping Up – Carpe Diem
Carpe diem, seizing the day, is “a philosophy that recognizes the brevity of life and the need to live for and in the moment.”
Here are photos of Robin Williams and Kobe Bryant. Two people who embodied the philosophy of “seizing the day.”
Both now join those who whisper to us from the grave, “make your lives extraordinary. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Carpe diem. Seize your day.”
Life is a gift – every minute of every day – make yours glorious and beautiful!
“Kobe would want all of us to become the best we can be at whatever we are doing. That’s his legacy.” – LeBron James
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