My generation has made a habit of choosing poor role models for ourselves. We ignore the useful, the wise and the charitable and instead idolize ‘lucky shot’ celebrities: ‘right face, right time’ actors and those who crave nothing but fame.
Every once in a while, though, we find a worthwhile role model in the world of entertainment; someone who deserves our respect not just for their acting skills or physical prowess, but for their courage, tenacity and drive to succeed against insurmountable odds. Jeremy Lin is one such man.
Jeremy Lin is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to make it to the NBA. That would be extraordinary in itself, if only for the fact that it’s rare for Asian ball players to attain the height necessary to compete in the professional leagues, but Lin’s career is much more than a fish out of water story. Lin’s journey to the New York Knicks has been anything but smooth, and we could all benefit from taking a few lessons from him. Jeremy Lin may not be able to teach you how to dunk, but he can certainly offer a few insights into what it takes to be the best.
10 Things the World Can Learn From The NBA Asian Sensation “Jeremy Lin”
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect a skill, and Jeremy Lin clearly believes that. His skills have been developed over years of constant, unrelenting training. There are no free rides… in basketball or in life.
- Carpe Diem
When Jeremy Lin was picked up by the Knicks he arrived with no expectations. Just a kid with no hype surrounding him, nobody expected Lin to be the next big thing. He was only started because the team was suffering too many injuries and absences, and he knew he had to make a splash if he was going to make it. You may only get one chance to blow the audience away. Don’t waste it.
Nobody would have foreseen Jeremy Lin making it all the way to the NBA. As an Asian American the odds were stacked against him, and when he wasn’t offered an athletic scholarship to college he took the hard route. He studied hard, pushing his GPA to 4.2 and heading to Harvard on the strength of his academic achievements. The path of least resistance rarely leads to success.
- Risk Comes Before Reward
Lin’s contract with the New York Knicks wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter. Before he was signed he slept on his brother’s couch in the Lower East Side as he couldn’t afford to pay rent. If you want to succeed you have to take risks. Leave everything out on the court. Sleep on a couch. People who play safe rarely make it big.
Jeremy Lin’s professional career up until now could be summed up in three words: ‘Seriously, this guy?’. Nothing about his success was pre-destined, and he had to fight for every inch. He’s one of the few Asian Americans to make it in the NBA, and the first Harvard graduate in the league since 1954. Without a degree of self belief as tough as titanium he would have given up long ago.
- Don’t Brag
We’ve seen success go to the heads of far too many athletes to count, but Jeremy Lin has so far resisted. It takes guts to be a gracious loser, but it’s often more difficult to be a gracious winner. Lin accepts victory with class and style.
Before joining the Knicks Lin played for Golden State and the Houston Rockets, and was dropped by both teams in order to free up funds to pay for new players. Lin isn’t a flashy player. He doesn’t dazzle, but he’s a great passer and distributor. It was only when the Knicks recognized his strengths that he found a permanent place in a team. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, and find an organization where you’ll thrive.
- Look for a Lin
On the flip side, you can take a lesson from the New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. Look for the strengths of the people in your life and work. You might have employees right now who aren’t performing as well as they should. Do you have them dunking when they should be passing? Re-tasking can be better than replacing.
Too many players set their sights on being the next Michael Jordan, and they rarely realize that this is a fool’s errand. Jeremy Lin is content to be the best he can be. He isn’t trying to emulate anyone else. He’s simply doing what he does best. Forge your own path.
- Make Your Team Look Good
Finally, success is a team effort. Jeremy Lin knows this. He knows that the top of the league is full of great teams, not great individuals. Going for personal glory is rarely the best approach. Make the team look good and everybody wins.
Jeremy Lin – What It Takes To Be Jeremy Lin