Jeremy Lin is currently one of the most talked about basketball player in the NBA. The hype is fortunately not unfounded considering he could be ‘sensational’ for the wrong reasons (cheating oh his spouse e.g. Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods. Or for really inconsequential reasons like, him dating a super star model etc.)
Anyway, I am happy Lin is in the sport-light for very good reasons. We can all learn a thing or two ( or perhaps 10 things) from his current success.
Before I share these points with you, allow me to share some info on him. Lin currently has 200,000 Twitter followers, 400,000 Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and probably will get more followers after Friday’s 38 point performance against the LA Lakers. He has also helped his team, the New York Knicks to 4 straight victories. Now that is phenomenal for a starter right?
So what can Jeremy Lin teach us about success? Here are 10 tips;
1. Believe in yourself: Jeremy Lin was taken on to play in the D-League – a lower tier league in the NBA – for the Knicks. Prior to that, he’d been cut from 2 NBA teams. Mind you, is only the 4th Harvard Graduate to make it to the NBA. These setbacks or challenges did not deter him from believing that he could play top-flight basketball.
2. Seize the opportunity: Many of the regular players for the Knicks teams were either injured or unavailable. Lin was therefore given the opportunity to play with the team and, well, you know how the story has been since. Your ability to take advantage of an opportunity also stems from your self-belief and preparedness.
3. Keep working hard: While you may not be at the position you desire at the moment, you need to put your all into what you do. If you are an athlete you need to keep training hard, if you are an assistant to something or someone and hope to become the number one person, be excellent as an assistant. It is said that Michael Jordan became an exceptional player because he trained very hard.
4. Don’t take your support system for granted: We all have or need someone or people to pick us up when we are down, to cheer us on when we are up and to encourage us to greatness. These person or people may be your family, your spouse or best friend. They will always be there for you so you also need to be there for them. When success comes, do not forget them. And in some cases, while success has not come yet, this support system may need your help, don’t be selfish.
Until Lin signed a contract with the Knicks, we was sleeping on his brother’s couch because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.
5. Stick to what works for you: Jeremy Lin is not a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. He is a passer and distributor of the ball who can also score. This is his strength and he keeps to it. He doesn’t try to be like any other great player, instead, he sticks to what he is excellent at and executes on his strength. Perhaps this should also guide your decisions on your choice of who or where to work . Always choose to work in a situation where you can execute on your strengths.
6. Be original: People will love you and remember you for who you are. There’s no need to be like someone else when you can be you. Why be a second-rate someone else when you can be a first-rate you? Lin doesn’t try to be Michael Jordan or Kobe, he is just himself.
7. Stay humble: Save the “I am the greatest” speech for someone else. Focus on doing your job excellently. No need to start bragging or comparing yourself to other greats. No need to sound like some ‘you-cant-touch-me I’ve got money’ rappers or R&B stars. Your fans will love you more for keeping your head out of the skies. Lin’s fans love him also because he does not let the hype and sensationalism get to his head.
8. Make others also look good: Chances are you work in a team or require a team to become truly successful. Yes you have worked hard and are truly exceptional at what you do but you are not an island onto yourself. You need a team to function and so there is a need to acknowledge your team mates. Even in highly individualistic sports like golf and lawn tennis, you still need a coach, a caddy (if you are a golfer) and maybe a fitness trainer (if you’re a tennis player). Even in some cases, your opponent can contribute to your success as they force your greatest capabilities to the fore. Don’t make it seem like you’re the only one on the team, recognise the efforts of others too.
9. You need luck also: Whether you believe it or not, there are things you just can’t control but you need in order to be successful. Call it luck, fate, chance, door, window or grace, you need that ‘extra thing’ that places you right in the middle being successful. Had there not been injuries to players on the Knicks team, Lin probably would still be playing in the D-League.
10. Don’t overlook talent: You may be a team lead or manager who oversees the activities of a team. Be sure not rely only on over-used and even out-dated evaluation tools. Jeremy was not accepted to play in two NBA teams before he got onto the NY Kincks team. Even though these other teams had the money, scouts and testing mechanisms, they still let talent slip through their fingers. Perhaps it is time you gave that young, under-one-year team member some new, bigger tasks. You might be surprised how well she will perform.
So there you go, 10 things Jeremy Lin teaches us about how to become successful.
One more thing, Jeremy Lin takes inspiration from Romans 5:3-5;
suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.