Jan Agaton | Social Media Coordinator
Thaddeus Bullard, also known as Titus O’Neil, is a former WWE entertainer, gave an inspirational talk at Montclair State University, and Purdue’s NSLS chapter hosted a live broadcasting of the event. NSLS stands for the National Society of Leadership and Success; it is the nation’s largest leadership honor society with 596 chapters and about 864,446 members, chosen based on academic standing and/or leadership potential. Their speaker events are open to all, including members and their friends or even families.
Bullard’s talk was titled, “Be A Champion of Character,” in which he told the story of his childhood and what brought him to success throughout his life, all without any speech or notes prepared, and then he ended with a Q & A portion, answering questions posed by students nationwide via Twitter and submitted videos.
Thaddeus Bullard opened with the story of his mom being sexually assaulted at eleven years old and elaborated on how being a product of rape greatly impacted his life and career. “I enjoy my life because I wasn’t even supposed to be here.” His openness towards the situation and sharing his past has inspired many. He even spoke about sexual assault awareness at an AFLV (Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values) conference in Indianapolis while standing on stage alongside Joe Biden.
Bullard continued by stating he is a firm believer that “everything happens for a reason.” He believes that all the hardships he went through as a child, including being constantly bullied, helped him get to where he is today. Bullard mentioned a man named Patrick Moe, who was one of his biggest supporters when he was twelve years old in elementary school; he reminisced on the moment Moe said, “I love you and I believe in you,” and spoke about the importance of “faith [being] rooted in love,” regardless of what you may believe in. After telling that story, he invited a girl from the audience to go on stage and randomly text someone those same words that Patrick Moe told him, and told her that she would get one of three responses:
- “What? Are you okay?”
- “I appreciate that.”
- “I love you & I believe in you, too.”
Then he explained what each response says about the person sending that message. (The girl on stage sent it to a group chat, so she received a variety of responses.)
He also gave us some insight on the kind of household he raises his two sons in. He stated the three biggest rules he enforces at home:
- Love & respect everyone you come in contact with.
- Don’t ever use the word “can’t.”
- Be your best.
He followed by elaborating each one, and my personal favorite was the focus on the second rule. Referring to that one, he said, “When ‘can’t’ is not an option, you can only focus on the things you can do.”
As if that wasn’t motivating enough, Bullard went on about the stereotype projected toward millennials that says they’re “lazy.” He continued by saying: “Don’t listen to people who say y’all in younger generations are lazy. Y’all aren’t lazy. You get up every morning! Screw them.” And loud cheers and applause followed. He then reminded everyone that even on bad days, you must keep in mind that “someone has it way worse” and “this will pass.”
Thaddeus Bullard has an endless supply of wise words, it seems, not to mention his great sense of humor that he found ways to embed into his advice. He shared that his biggest inspirations are Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali. He emphasized and constantly reiterated the fact that he believes that being genuine is the #1 characteristic of good character. “You can’t reach anyone if you’re not authentic.” Thaddeus Bullard definitely succeeded in representing that belief through this very inspirational and mind-opening speaker event.