A True Role Model: Lessons Of Success From Richard Sherman
If Richard Sherman's public persona were traded on the New York Stock Exchange, its value would have sharply declined after his infamous post-game interview following Sunday night's NFC Championship game.
The immediate shock hit viewers like a ton of bricks and, in all likelihood, prompted more than a few snap judgments.
"Look at this idiot," many were inclined to say, if not overturned by even worse impressions. The jokes and memes naturally flooded social media, turning the Internet into a comedic land of milk and honey.
Sherman was the obvious butt of those jokes, which ironically may be the reason his stock rises after a steep fall.
As is the nature of the Internet, one click leads to a number of curious other clicks, thus, one joke about Sherman was likely to lead to further research about him.
In searching the Seahawks cornerback, people were likely to find two things: 1) He is, as he claims, the best corner in the league; 2) Nearly everything about his story strongly contradicts all negative snap judgments.
Richard Sherman is a true role model, and like most, there are lessons to be learned from the "cocky" Seahawks cornerback:
You Have To Sacrifice Fun To Achieve Excellence
Like most football players, Sherman is young and rich, which means he has license to do many things others cannot. Let's just be frank: The NFL All-Pro could be spending his wealth to indulge in a wild life of partying and drinking. Instead, he sticks to his idea of what a good night is:
"Watching tape is like my second hobby, because it makes the game easier," Sherman said in a feature for NBC Sports. "The film's on your iPad, so I just sit there in my bed and go through film all day."
While his interview made him look like a loose cannon, Sherman inversely says his career is about self-control.
"You can't be out there partying and think you're going to be the best. It takes discipline on and off the field."
What You Lack In Natural Talent, Make Up For With Diligent Studying
It might seem hard to accomplish something when you just don't have the knack for it, but in these situations, anyone can shatter his or her own expectations with enough studying. Studying, or expanding your knowledge, can apply to anything really: at school, on the job and, especially for Sherman, on the field.
"I feel like I'm a decent athlete, but my tape study and my meticulous attention to detail are what make me a good ball player," Sherman said. "...A lot goes into it man, a lot more than people think. Some dudes play with pure athleticism, I'm not one of those guys."
While he admits he is not the best natural talent in the NFL, Sherman says his obsessive nature of studying is the key behind his success. The same can be applied to any respective field, for anyone looking to improve.
Never Judge A Book By Its Cover
The image of a tattoo-ridden, dreadlock-shaking, intensified Compton native was likely to spark the worst of judgments in many people's minds.
You may have even been tempted to call Richard Sherman a thug this past weekend, a man not worthy of being an example to your kids, brothers or sisters. That same thug, though, is a man who earned a degree from Stanford University while playing for one of the top football programs in the nation.
While the cynic in you might believe that there may have been an aspect of typically preferential treatment for the "star athlete," Sherman has made a habit of achieving in his studies.
He graduated as salutatorian of his high school class, all while earning All-American honors for both football and track and field, making him the perfect example for our youths.
"If there's a role model to follow for high school athletes in Compton it has to be Richard Sherman, the former Compton Dominguez defensive back who went through graduation ceremonies at Stanford last week," wrote Eric Sondheimer of the L.A. Times. "He's going to return for a fifth year of football at Stanford and pursue a master's degree. He has shown what can happen when you combine athletic and academic excellence."
Pave The Way For Your Successors
Growing up in Compton, CA, Sherman faced a tough neighborhood; there's no doubt about that. Yet, he came from a loving home, which extended its love to any kid around who was seeking an escape from the harsh reality of the community. These days, the Seahawks standout does his best to carry on the kindhearted efforts of his mother and father.
Sherman has used a portion of his very modest (by NFL standards) salary of $550,000 to establish a charity called Blanket Coverage, which focuses on providing school supplies for inner city kids, in an effort to ensure that more of them have a chance at achieving the straight-A success he had during his days in Compton.
"I feel obligated to make (the inner city) a better place," he told the San Jose Mercury News. "We shouldn't ever leave a kid behind. But it's hard for them to take the SATs when the textbooks they're using were made in 2000. How can they compete?"
Whether it's helping students from your alma mater, those in your family or the kids in your congregation or community, Richard Sherman provides a good example for how to pave the way for your successors.
Actions Really Do Speak Louder Than Words
This cliché has always been a fascinating one, to be honest, mostly because of our tendency to use it at our convenience. When tangible results are decided, those famous words are abused. Talk is cheap -- that is, when it suits someone's agenda. Exhibit A for this notion is Richard Sherman.
It may not have suited the agendas of some viewers to consider those 30 seconds of Sherman's life during that interview and treat it as just 30 seconds of his life. Therefore, his talk was not cheap; rather, it cost him a lost of respect in the eyes of some fans.
"To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field -- don't judge a person's character by what they do between the lines," Sherman wrote in his column on MMQB.com. "Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.
As the above stated points have mentioned, Sherman has done a lot to earn the public's respect. Let us reconsider our judgments.
Bonus: Humility should always be opted for.
Having said that, it's clear what Sherman's rant has taught us. If you really (really) want to, you can talk like Sherman and get away with it, as long as you produce results.
Top Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images