Troy Polamalu, an NFL Hall of Famer, is best known for his 12-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. During his time at the University of Southern California, he was a two-time All-American.
Polamalu's leadership as a defensive player led the Steelers to seven playoff appearances, five division titles, and two Super Bowl championships. In 2010, he was named Defensive Player of the Year, thanks to his impressive stats, which included seven interceptions for one touchdown, a sack, and 63 tackles.
Despite his on-field reputation as the "Tasmanian Devil," known for his explosive impact and range, Polamalu is kind and soft-spoken. I had the opportunity to talk to him about his motivations for success, including his faith, humility, and what truly matters in life.
VM - What's your personal belief that helps you stay motivated and push forward?
TP - "I would say, just be yourself. I guess, maybe, cliché as that sounds or easy, identify with yourself, who you want to be. A lot of people who are not confident in themselves or have no identity are always trying to look for inspiration from other people. When the truth is really within them and finding themselves."
VM - How can parents instill values in their children when they can afford to give them everything they want?
TP - "That’s a good question. I think the more important things, though, are to have a faith foundation. I think that if you have a general understanding of the foundation of faith that your family has, that’s where all your values should be. It should be centered around it."
VM - How would you say that respect and respecting others has helped you in your career?
TP - "I don’t think the mentality should be how it can further your career. I think it’s just a general welfare of love for mankind. It’s not only respecting. I think it’s easy to be cordial and talk to people that can do things for you."
"Respect is also how you act when you’re away from your wife, for example, or when you’re away from your parents. When you make good decisions and you act properly, that’s a sign of respect for your parents. There’s different forms of it and to value true and authentic respect has got to be more holistically approached in your entire life rather than just, what people refer to as, the cordial meeting. It’s very respectful but how do you act when nobody is around. How do you treat your wife when you’re not around your wife or your parents."
VM - How do you stay humble and balance that with your drive to win and be the best?
TP - "I honestly would say that I’m not a humble person. I know people that are authentically humble. Humility and pride are something that I struggle with but there are people that are authentically humble that I know and I’m far from that."
Troy Polamalu's success on and off the field has been shaped by his belief in being true to oneself and having a foundation of faith. Respect, according to Polamalu, is about how you behave when others are not looking. Polamalu's insights offer a valuable perspective on achieving success with dignity and staying grounded in the face of fame and fortune. We wish Troy success in all he does.
This interview was originally posted on my former website Male Standard.