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No Such Thing as a Bad Kid with Thaddeus Bullard

Thaddeus Michael Bullard is an American college and retired professional football player and American professional wrestler better known as WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil. He  is an accomplished athlete, global entertainer, philanthropist and author of the book “There’s No Such Things As A Bad Kid.” 

He grew up in poverty, labeled a “bad kid” who would be dead or in jail by the time he was 16, but people invested in him when they had nothing to gain in return. As a result, he graduated from the University of Florida with academic and athletic accolades. Bullard has made it his mission to create change for those in need.

His professional wrestling career began when he was part of the second season of NXT and also competed on the show’s fifth season, NXT Redemption. He has been a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion as part of The Prime Time Players with Darren Young and a one-time WWE 24/7 Champion, being the inaugural champion.

Through his Bullard Family Foundation, in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, he’s transforming Sligh Middle Magnet School and the surrounding area in Tampa, Florida into an innovative education and community hub to create lasting generational change. This includes a first-class gym for school staff, a multi-million-dollar track and turf field for community health and wellness, and a prosperity center offering support services to lift families out of poverty.

Recently Bullard was named a finalist for the ESPN Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award.

What You’ll Learn

05:07 Hero Mom

Thaddeus Bullard explains why his mom is his hero. At first they had a very complicated relationship until one day Thaddeus Bullard’s mom told him that he was conceived through rape when she was 12 years old. Then Thaddeus Bullard understood many things and all that hatred turned into love and understanding for his mother, since she could have decided not to have him, but she did have him and was able to have a better life.

08:09 Breaking a generational curse

Thaddeus Bullard says that without his mother’s efforts and sacrifices, the famous character we know today would not exist.

His mother never went to her high school graduation, let alone college, until Thaddeus Bullard graduated from high school and college and was the first in his family to do so. His siblings followed in his footsteps and he believes they broke a generational curse in his family when it came to education.

In fact, Thaddeus’ children will still go to college and the oldest is already studying on an athletic scholarship.

11:38 Respect is learned

Thaddeus Bullard comments that he doesn’t think much about whether he is breaking patterns or not, he is simply very involved in helping people move forward and feels very grateful for that, especially for the people who invested and believed in him when he didn’t have much to offer in return, but he knows that all those people did so with dignity.

Thaddeus Bullard says that people should be treated with dignity and respect, and for him respect is learned, not that it is not earned, but we should know that we come from different backgrounds and education, so something like respect should be taught and not taken for granted.

13:47 On being a relationship person

15:13 Love is a universal language

17:12 Being significant rather than famous

Thaddeus Bullard says he is working to help people move forward. At some point in his life he felt insignificant and in fact was labeled as a kid who would be dead or in jail by the time he was 16 because of the circumstances he grew up in, but he has overcome that and now he is not chasing fame, what he wants is to have a significant life and help people win in life and mean something to the ones they love.

19:56 excellence through significance

Thaddeus Bullard mentions that he is trying to do and give to his children what he couldn’t and didn’t get when he was growing up. But for him the most important thing is to teach them the importance of the significance of giving to others.

He says that many times we confuse giving and receiving and he gives a very good example: he has seen that many people want to donate toys and what they do is to put what is no longer useful in a trash bag and give it to children, when a 12 year old boy or girl opens that bag and sees a stuffed animal or a coloring book, he or she may reject that gift, but it is not because they are ungrateful, it is because someone gave what they did not need instead of giving what the other person wanted.

That is why for Thaddeus Bullard it is important to teach his children that excellence is given through significance, that if you have choices, there will be other people who don’t have choices but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat them with less dignity, and Thaddeus Bullard wants his children to understand the significance of what you give to other people, how you talk to them and how you love them but also how you love yourself.

25:47 There is no such thing as a bad kid

Thaddeus Bullard talks about why he wrote his book. Because of the circumstances in which one is born, there may be certain labels about whether a kid is good or bad, but for Thaddeus this is not true, they are simply children who are in a certain environment which leads them to make bad decisions, but if you put that same child in another environment, he or she will excel.

27:26 On controlling the narrative

28:12 Our differences makes us better

31:36 Letting go prejudices

Thaddeus Bullard’s Links

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