Jeremy Lin Success Guide: 8 Limitless Lessons You Need to Come From Behind and End Up on Top

Jeremy Lin Dunking
Our favorite underdogs have one common trait—an unrelenting desire to improve themselves.

They reflect our desire to break away from ourselves and become who we want to be.

How to Come From Behind and End Up on Top

Less than a month ago, 23-year-old underdog Jeremy Lin burst onto the New York Knicks’ starting lineup, commanding our attention and respect.

A no-name benchwarmer when the Knicks added him to their roster, he might have continued sitting on that bench had it not been for his teammates.

On February 4th Jeremy Lin got his chance to play in a game against the Boston Celtics. It wasn’t because his coach thought he could be the key to team’s success, but because he was one of the few healthy players left on the bench.

On the court that night Lin’s teammates couldn’t pass or shoot the ball to save their lives. Coach Mike D’Antoni had little to lose. Putting Lin in was an act of desperation and frustration.

During that game and four more than would follow, Lin scored a total of 136 points. It was more than any other player in the NBA has scored since 1976 and it kicked off America’s newfound fascination with this come-from-behind sensation.

Just a handful of players, like Michael Jordan, have been able to match this winning (or “Linning”) streak.

Jeremy Lin’s 8 Limitless Lessons For Super Success

What can you learn from Lin’s path to super success and how can you apply it to yourself?

In eastern philosophy the number eight represents the state of having no limits. Here are eight key limitless lessons that will help you get and stay in the Lin-Zone:

1. Master your craft

Jeremy Lin clearly has talent. He showed that in the February 10th game against the Los Angeles Lakers when he successfully outplayed Kobe Bryant, scoring 38 points. And yet he continues to improve himself. “I still feel like I have a long way to go and a lot more to do,” he said in a recent Time magazine interview.

What few realize is that during the most recent off-season, when most players were vacationing and taking time off, Lin spent countless hours practicing and turning his weaknesses into strengths. In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Galdwell identified a threshold of 10,000 hours that an individual needs put in to reach a level of exceptional success. Jeremy Lin has logged close to 20,000 hours of practice during the last 20 years.

Michael Jordan — the greatest basketball player in history — also logged more hours of practice than any of his teammates at every level of play. Jordan showed up first for practice and was the last to leave.

2. Never quit

Jeremy Lin never quits. He’s been ignored, overlooked and dismissed, but he keeps showing up for practice and hustling every single day. He presses on even when nobody else thinks he should. He has developed a much stronger set of skills in spite of the fact that no one believed it was possible.

3. Evolve or become extinct

The Jeremy Lin who is averaging more than 20 points a game and handing out 9 assists is not the same player who went undrafted out of Harvard. Nor is he the same Jeremy Lin who was cut by the Golden State Warriors on December 9th.

Lin’s rise to stardom did not begin with his imposing performance in Madison Square Garden on February 4th. It began with a solid frame, a revamped jump shot, more powerful legs, and a penetrating view of the court.

These enhancements came gradually over the past 18 months through relentless practice and countless hours spent working with shooting instructors, fitness trainers and assistant coaches.

Over the past two months, Jeremy Lin has evolved in to the player who has single-handedly resurrected the NBA season.

4. Be a team player

Jeremy Lin is a standout not only because of his superior ball-handling skills, but also because of his selflessness.

He’s not a ball hog who seeks out any opportunity to increase his impressive 26.8-point-per-game average. He looks for teammates to pass to. He stands ready to assist. He speaks admiringly of fellow players, in return earning their admiration and appreciation.

His efforts to be just another member of the team, and not a celebrity, are propelling Lin to stardom.

5. Embrace adversity

Jeremy Lin was devastated when he wasn’t picked in the NBA draft. He’d been working toward that day for his entire life! The hurdle didn’t stop Lin. He continued to work on improving his skills by joining an NBA Development Summer League. That worked. The Golden State Warriors picked him up. No, it wasn’t the Knicks or the Celtics, but it was an NBA team.

During his contract period Jeremy Lin was sent down to the minors – the NBA Development League – three times. Was he frustrated? Yes. Did he quit? No. He kept working. He was ultimately waived by the Houston Rockets and the Warriors and picked up by the Knicks early in the 2011-2012 season. He started the season on the bench. Eventually, during that fateful February 3rd game, he worked his way onto the floor, where he belonged.

6. Find your Lin-Zone

Before his most recent “Linderella” run, Lin did not play well. Instead of focusing on playing well and having a little fun, he spent most of his time in a distracted, stressed-out state of mind. He talked to himself, over-thought issues, and questioned his basketball skills and abilities.

Today we’re seeing a different Jeremy Lin on the court. I recently watched him make the game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds left in the game. He looked like a kid casually hitting the game-winning bucket at a playground pickup game.

7. Plan to play with passion

Jeremy Lin finally stopped doubting himself and started letting those 20,000 hours of practice shine through. (Sports fans refer to this as being in the “zone.”)

Ignore your passions and the likelihood that you’ll quit short of the 10,000-hour mark will be very high. Many people go down career paths that are safe, practical, and socially acceptable to them, but quite often these paths do not lead to the ultimate level of success.

If you’re not excited about what you’re doing it will be difficult to make the extra effort that it takes to get beyond the 10,000-hour mark.

Play your game—and do it with passion.

8. Don’t try to time your success

You may have heard the phrase “don’t try to time the market.” You shouldn’t try to time your success either.

There is no known way to predict when the market will reward you for your hard work and hustle. If you work hard consistently, and on a daily basis, you will eventually be rewarded.

Focus on the career path you want (not what you peers, family members and friends want) and do what is necessary to be successful on that path.

Stick to your goals, learn from your mistakes, don’t quit and you will be rewarded.

Jeremy Lin logged 20,000 hours before he was duly rewarded.

When Lin goes the distance with the world’s greatest athletes we can’t help but think that if a scrawny, short, slow kid can transform himself into a stellar professional basketball player and become super successful, why can’t we?

Do you have any additional success lessons to recommend?

(Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography)

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