Jeremy Lin’s Graduation Speech at NCCU in 2018
|Jeremy Lin delivers his first Commencement Speech in Taiwan. Photo: Li-Wen Ho (何立文).|
|Group photo of Jeremy Lin and the Deans. Photo: Office of Student Affairs.|
|Thanks to Alumni Jiang Fong-Nian (姜豐年), NCCU Griffins’ Honorary Team Leader, for inviting Jeremy Lin to come. Photo: Li-Wen Ho (何立文).|
NCCU Graduates enthusiastically welcomed the NBA basketball star Jeremy Shu-How Lin (林書豪), guest speaker of the 2018 NCCU Commencement Ceremony in the morning session.
Jeremy Lin mentioned that he never actually went to a college graduation, even to his own, and the encouragement in a sense was also a letter to himself. He brought 7 things to share with NCCU graduates.
First, stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone, especially early on in your career, even it ends out in failures. “My greatest time to growth came during my greatest time of failure,” said Jeremy Lin. He cherished the time of his pain and failure like a muscle-building process. He explained, when we work-up muscles, they will tear forth apart, and when we rest, they will grow back a little more. And to stay out of the comfort zone, one needs to keep good company. “Never be the smartest person in the room,” Jeremy emphasized, and “make sure you keep the company of people who are smarter around you.” Besides, don’t play safe and don’t be afraid of criticism when getting out of the comfort zone. The best example is Jeremy’s hair style, but for him, it is a challenge for him to prove to himself that he was not worrying about what other people are going to think.
Second, to be great, you have to be a little bit crazy. “Normal, gets you mediocre; being crazy, will give you to greatness.” When Jeremy graduated from college, he wanted to chase his dream of playing basketball. His mom, even crazier, took money from her retirement fund without telling him that they were struggling financially and gave Jeremy the opportunity of 2 years to pursuit his dream. Jeremy stated, to fulfill dreams, one must have certain level of wanting it. He encouraged graduates, “as you go to the next step of cooperate world, jobs are how you feed your family, and the ones who really succeed are the ones who wanted more.”
Third, enjoy the moment of slowing down. “If you cannot enjoy the moment, you cannot enjoy your destination.” Jeremy’s biggest regret in his entire life was the first five years in NBA. He was so focused on what he wanted to achieve and could not enjoy and appreciate the process, the audience, and little things. He told himself as well as the graduates to learn to be content where they were, enjoy the destination at the end, and when having success, stay grounded and be humble.
Fourth, to be confident and seize the opportunities. There is a difference between humble confidence and being a doormat. Humble confidence does not mean that you are a doormat, to be stepped down by others. Jeremy gave the example that he was once confronted with James Harden, because James was right in what he was trying to say but was wrong in his body language and attitude. It took a long wait and lot of courage for Jeremy to take his stand and say something and finally earned James’ respect. “You can have a certain level of confidence with humility” and work hard on it, and when opportunity comes, make sure you seize the opportunity. Jeremy also brought up another example of Jay Chou (周杰倫) challenging him to basketball. In Jeremy’s eye, it was really dumb on Jay’s part but Jeremy did respect Jay’s attitude of “playing to win” and not “playing not to lose.” Jeremy shared his third example with one of the greatest and proudest game Jeremy ever had, which was the game playing against Washington Wizard. Though his team lost by 20 and he shot over 10, the fact that he continued to shoot even while he was missing showed that he has trusting the hard-work he had putting in. Jeremy thus encouraged students to put in the hard work at work, but when opportunity comes, by all mean, go for it.
Fifth, promoting joy and confidence over people. When it comes to work, a lot of people do IQ-based job, but when it comes to the position of leadership and power, what you need is no longer IQ but EQ. To Jeremy, true leadership is promoting joy to people around you and keeping your relationship above the issues and performance, so people would be confident enough to work for you. During Linsanity, Jeremy’s team won 7 games in a row but lost in the 8th, where Jeremy had 9 turnovers, career high. He got a call from their head coach Mike D’Antoni after the game, telling him to get 9 turnovers again in the next game, not to change anything, and just continue to be himself. Jeremy analyzed, “That is the big reason why his team always do well, because he promotes joy and confidence in the people that are following him.” As one becomes a leader, look for feedback before start blaming other people. Always hear the other side when you jump into conclusion, and down plan your opinion. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Sixth, do things the right way. Treat people the right way; being a humble servant. Jeremy would always remembered this touching story. When he was a rookie, he only owned a pair of jeans. A teammate noticed that and bought him 20 pairs of jeans, each worth 200$ and up. As to treating parents, Jeremy shared a sentence that he learned in Harvard, “don’t get caught in life and do not remember who have brought you today.” We all need to take care of our parents. Besides, be honest and loyal to friends and family, and always protect the people who protect you. “You got to make sure you enjoy the people who surrounded you with and work on day to day bases and be loyal.”
Seventh, find purpose. In high of Linsanity, two and half weeks after breakup game, when Jeremy was the toast of the world, his team was about to play with Chicago Bull, but he felt empty inside and could not sleep before the game. Through Jeremy’s journal of athletic life, he truly found a lot of joy and purpose in faith.
After the speech, Jeremy Lin congratulated the audience and passed the basketball to NCCU Griffins, signifying the passing on of the spirit of sport and wished Griffins good games in the future.