“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” -Kobe Bryant
I was shocked to hear, as we all were, about the passing of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash this week. It was a tragedy that 9 people passed away in that accident, but it was Kobe’s death that obviously garnered all of the attention. I saw many people on social media, who I know personally as not particularly sentimental people, express grief or sorrow. I don’t remember a celebrity having such a universal and widespread outpouring of sorrow at their passing and it made me think about why this was. I came to realize that it is because he seemed invincible, a way we often view ourselves, and he was gone.
Human beings tend to naturally feel invincible. It is a feeling that fades over the years, but there are still days where I feel it myself, at the ripe old age of 44.
Less so today than before, yet, it was just a few years ago I was running with the bulls in Pamplona Spain. I have jumped out of perfectly good planes, raced cars, and a host of other less than risk free adventures. Getting hurt is what happens to the other guy. Admittedly, many of these were before I met my wife and we had our son. Now the biggest risk is from what my wife would do to me if I got hurt doing something like the adventures of my younger days.
Is there anyone who seems more invincible than our sports heroes? These men and women we see on TV who are larger than life. The average NFL player is 6 foot 2 and 246 lbs and the collisions between these athletes are like car crashes. The average basketball player stands at a staggering 6 foot 7 inches and they move like ballerinas. Kobe is one of the all-time greats in the game. Whether it’s Kobe, Michael, Walter or whomever, they rise above a pool of athletes who put their bodies through immense physical strain and seem to rarely be the worse for it. They are the elite of the elite. All this and now, Kobe in the prime of his life at age 41, has passed away.
Mortality, it is something we all must come to grips with. We, as humans, do not process it very well. Many have faith of an afterlife and many others believe there is no such future. Either way, there is a great deal of uncertainty as we look towards it.
When someone like Kobe Bryant dies suddenly, it makes people who may otherwise still have the illusion of invincibility about themselves, take note of their own mortality. To realize we are all susceptible to accidents that can take our health or our lives.
This also made me think of how this should motivate people to do that which they have been putting off. It is both wise to plan for the best AND prepare for the worst. We all walk through our personal and business lives managing risk whether we realize it or not. Ignoring the issue is not an answer and luck is not a strategy, as I have written about in one of my earlier newsletter HERE.
We should all take time to plan for the day when we are either no longer here or can’t make decisions for ourselves. I hope Kobe had gone through the process of estate planning. Aretha Franklin and Prince are among the notable celebrities who passed without an estate plan and family members are still fighting over how to divide their estates. Estate planning is one of the five pillars of financial planning.
Most of us don’t have the money of a Kobe Bryant so you and your family have risk if you died or became disabled.
If you have people, whether it is family members or business partners, that depend on you for your income you should review your life insurance to make sure you are adequately covered.
If you depend on your income you should review your disability insurance to make sure it’s adequate. There is a host of other risks to understand and see if you are managing your risks to the best of your ability, whether it’s through insurance or other means. Risk Management is also one of the five pillars of financial planning.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Whether you do it yourself or you work with a professional, financial planning can help us be better prepared for whatever life throws at you. Are you likely to get into an accident, get sick or die tomorrow? The answer is no, but that does not mean it can’t or won’t happen. Plan for that which is likely but prepare for what can and does happen. If it can happen to the invincible it can happen to you.