Jeremy Lin, a point guard for the Charlotte Hornets, opened up about his experience dealing with the immense pressure to succeed in his Palo Alto, California high school.
Using an Atlantic article about a suicide pandemic in Silicon Valley high schools as a jumping point, he poignantly described the anxiety he felt in high school, and classmates he lost to suicide.
“As someone who was raised in the Bay Area, I’ve always taken great pride in being from Palo Alto – the greatest city in the world, as far as I’m concerned,” he wrote on Facebook. Like many others, I read “The Silicon Valley Suicides” in this month’s Atlantic and it led me to reflect on my own experience at Palo Alto High School.”
Lin outlined the stress he attributed to trying to attain perfection in his school work. He explained
“I distinctly remember being a freshman in high school, overwhelmed by the belief that my GPA over the next four years would make or break my life. My daily thought process was that every homework assignment, every project, every test could be the difference. The difference between a great college and a mediocre college. The difference between success and failure. The difference between happiness and misery.”
He wrote about not being able to sleep at night, obsessing over classwork and exams, and waking up drenched in sweat from nightmares.
And he shared his personal experience with suicide, having a classmate commit suicide his freshman year, and a friend the following year.
By nearly all measures, Lin is successful. He was accepted into Harvard University, is the first Chinese-American player in the NBA, and has been a captivating story for basketball and pop culture enthusiasts alike.
But he says much of what he learned about success he discovered as a result of struggling with anxiety in high school.
“As each year of high school passed by, I realised that even though there was pressure to be great, I had to make a personal choice not to define myself by my success and accomplishments.”
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