Folks often joke about lawyers, comparing lawyers to “sharks.” This is supposed to be a derogatory thing as far as my chosen profession, law.
But after indulging by watching a little Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” this past week, I don’t think it is such a bad thing to be compared to a shark. It’s actually a compliment in many ways.
1. Sharks are smart and resourceful.
These are great qualities to have as a shark, but even better as a lawyer. Their ability to adapt to any condition is one of the reasons that sharks are practically a living dinosaur. Now, I am not saying I want to be known as a “living dinosaur” but…
2. Sharks don’t take no for an answer.
Anyone ever seen a 20 foot long, 2 ton Great White Shark say,
No, I don’t think I am going to eat that baby seal right now. I’ll pass thanks. I’ll come back later.
Once sharks are in, they are all in. Take it or leave it world. Love that. Enough said.
3. Sharks are always thinking ahead of the game.
As a lawyer with more paper on my desk than I care to admit, I wish I could think ahead of the game and throw some if it away. I get attached to a pile of paper that doesn’t need to be sitting here anymore. My “in box” just keeps getting higher and higher, no matter what I do. Keep only the essentials and think ahead of the game.
4. Sharks use every God given talent that God provided them.
Even though sometimes it may be gruesome to watch, sharks are so efficient, when they hunt and eat. There is never any wasted movement. Between all their senses, they harness the use of all that God has given them. Sharks can detect a single drop of blood (or a chicken nugget) in an Olympic sized swimming pool. Wow.
5. Sharks don’t care what anyone thinks of them.
Does the Mako shark worry and say, “Is my tail too long?” Does a Tiger shark say, “Hey do these strips make me look fat?” Does he Bull shark wonder, “How do I look in these jeans?” (Okay that one was my bad). Some of us need to be more like this. Confidence is everything in so many things in life.
6. Sharks are not solitary creatures.
Contrary to popular belief, this past week’s “Shark Week” reveals that sharks can and do work together to trap and kill food. I found this absolutely fascinating, given that we have been taught just the opposite growing up.
7. Sharks are opportunistic.
Sharks take full advantage of what each day holds. If they happen to be near an island with baby seals, they go to town on the baby seals that day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and shark “snacks.” If they are near an fisherman’s hook with a 500 pound Marlin being brought in, well, let’s just say the only part of that Marlin that makes it on the boat is the head. The rest goes to the shark. If a bull shark sees a license plate, it will eat it and sometimes spit it out. Now I can’t say I would eat a license plate. The point is that many of us worry and dwell on things we have no control over instead of looking for the good in what is directly in front of us.
8. Sharks come in all shapes and sizes.
From the Great White to the bottom dwelling Ghost shark, one need only watch shark week to learn that sharks come in all shapes and sizes. Just like humans.
9. Sharks are single-minded in their pursuits.
One need only watch a Great White shark attack from down below as it makes up its mind about its next meal. It rockets up and out of the water with dinner in its mouth – sometimes, its entire body breaches right out into the air. Fantastic and scary at the same time. At the end of a week on any given Friday, I wish I had that kind of singular focus, drive and determination. I need a weekend to recharge my batteries.
10. Sharks are like machines – they never quit and never surrender.
Maybe, this is why I admire sharks so much. They embody my personal motto – “never quit and never surrender.” They are who they are – killers, hunters, creatures of the deep. Relentless, resourceful, cunning. I wish I had more of these qualities. But then, after watching Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” I think maybe I do.
So the next time someone makes a lawyer/shark joke in your presence, and chuckles, smile at them warmly and say, “thank you. I appreciate the compliment.” You’ll blow them out of the water.