4 Things I learnt from Sheldon Cooper

Uncontrolled variation is the enemy of quality — W. Edwards Deming

Big Bang Theory is one of my favourite comedy shows of all time. I consider Friends a close second. I have watched Big Bang Theory countless times, but the last few times, I began to pay close attention to the mannerism of the fictional character Sheldon Cooper on a deeper level.

Even though he is only a fictional character played by the brilliant Jim Parsons, I couldn’t help but start to take note of some things I could apply in my personal life.


Sheldon Cooper is a theoretical Physicist at Caltech with three very close friends, Leonard, Raj and Howard. He values the relationship of his friends listed in that order from first to last but doesn’t consider them equals in terms of intellect and accomplishments.

Raised by a very religious mother in East Texas, even though his mother tried to instil in him the value of humility, that is one character trait Sheldon Cooper does not possess.

His inability to understand sarcasm is also detrimental to how he interacts with the rest of the world. Although I do think he got better at it as the seasons progressed.

Not understanding sarcasm makes it almost impossible for Sheldon to understand jokes levied at him or someone else, which always take conversations with him into uncomfortable territory.

Another shortcoming of Sheldon is his over the top germ phobia, which reminds me of the Aviator biopic movie character Howard Hughes played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Sheldon’s germ phobia isn’t as bad as Howard’s, but it is bordering on insanity, as people thought Howard Hughes was truly mad in the latter stages of his life.

I could list the shortcomings of Sheldon Cooper all day, and I wouldn’t know when to stop, but I want to delve into the mannersims of Sheldon that I think would be valuable for you and me.

Sheldon has an eidetic memory that enables him to recall an image from memory perfectly, even if it was only seen for a brief time.

This ability and his curious mind bordering on genius have allowed Sheldon to accomplish feats that wouldn’t be possible for the average person, such as starting college at the age of eleven, receiving his first PhD at 16 or perhaps having the audacity to build a nuclear reactor in his parent’s garage.

We don’t all have an eidetic memory, but we can learn four things from this character that we can all apply to our lives and I believe will make us better humans.


Sheldon is obsessed with his routine to the point where he has a bathroom schedule for himself and his roommate. Now I believe that is a bit excessive, cause sometimes you’ve just got to go!

His daily meals are scheduled, and he knows what to eat without much room for variation. One of my favourite quotes from the show goes like this:

“Every Saturday morning since we’ve lived in this apartment, I have awakened at 6:15 a.m., poured myself a bowl of cereal, added a quarter cup of 2% milk, sat on that end of that couch, turned on BBC America and watched Doctor Who.” — Sheldon Cooper

The moral of the story is routine is good for you. Most humans fear routine because they feel it’s rigid and non-spontaneous.

So let me paint this picture for you — Have you ever been busy working towards the end of a day, and you suddenly hear your growling stomach, which is your body’s sign of saying, feed me!

You being tired, start to think of healthy foods you can cook because you promised yourself to go on a diet, but it takes a mental effort to even think of something, and you realise it’s just easier to order Chinese, burgers or Indian etc.

You think it’s just this one time; it’s harmless, but you know it isn’t deep down.

What if you had a food schedule for every day of the week? You save yourself the mental effort of thinking about it; and because you’ve cooked it so many times at that particular time, it’s easier to get off your butt and make the healthy food you promised yourself. Problem solved!

This also frees up mental real estate that will allow you to accomplish meaningful creative feats that add value to your life.


The confidence in Sheldon is something legendary; it’s vast amounts of self-belief and arrogance. But, of course, as humans, we have to exhibit some measure of arrogance and, most importantly, self-belief.

Nobody will belive in you unless you belive in yourself — Liberace

Sheldon is considered an awkward character and the least social among his friends, but he doesn’t let that affect his outlook on life. Of course, they always make fun of his mannersims and quirks, but he more than makes up for it in other aspects of his life, and he is well aware of that.

There are countless times Penny, who is Leonard’s girlfriend, has solicited his advice because she knows, as weird as he might be, Sheldon can analyse a situation with an emotional detachment that Leonard doesn’t have when it comes to her.

Whatever Sheldon tells her is backed up by self-belief and confidence because he is assured of himself.

The moral of the story is as imperfect as you think you might be, there is someone out there in the world who would value your input and appreciate you the way you are, and they will embrace all your eccentricities and quirks.

But you always have to remain self-assured no matter what people might say or think about you!


There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly — R.Buckminster Fuller

That is one of the most powerful quotes I have ever heard. It’s so true beyond all measure.

Sheldon’s friends thought he was incapable of having a girlfriend and loving another human except for his mum and meemaw. But like the Buckminster fuller quote said, where you are today does not determine the kind of person you will become tomorrow!

Sheldon didn’t even know he was capable of having a girlfriend (Amy Farrah Fowler), but not only did he have a girlfriend, but he also ended up making her his wife, and they would go on to win the noble prize together!

Wherever you are today, and whatever dreams and aspirations you might have, don’t have to correlate. I am not a massive NFL fan, but Tom Brady’s story is a real-life example of “never a finished article”. From the 199th Draft pick to being arguably the greatest NFL player of all time, and yet people say talent matters! What a load of s**t!

If it was all about talent, how can you go from having one of the worse stats in the NFL Combine to being the best to play in the NFL?

The moral of the story is to reject the limitations society place on you!


Sheldon always dreamed of winning the noble prize, which he finally did in the last season of the series; if you would ask him — he would probably say it should have happened sooner.

No one is immune to the sting of failure; I believe everyone breaks down and stresses at some point, especially if we have been pushing the capabilities of what we can achieve, but the most important thing is to stay steadfast in our resolve.

In the series finale, whilst Sheldon and Amy were working on proving a new particle physics theory called Super Asymmetry (I’m not going to try and explain what that means cos it isn’t real. lol). However, I did read there is an actual one called Super Symmetry.

They were researching for citations for a theory that they hoped would eventually win them the noble peace prize, and they found out that a Russian paper had already disproved it. Naturally, this sent Sheldon into a meltdown and sowed some doubts about his abilities.

The moral of the story is no matter how smart, talented or hard-working you think you are, you will consistently fail if you push your boundaries.

Sheldon thought it would be a walk in the park because he is super smart. But as we know, life will throw curve balls if you consistently push your boundaries.

Thanks for reading, and Never stop believing!



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Embrace the failures in life. It’s all part of the journey