Keep It Simple

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Overview

Fans raved about the no-nonsense honesty and hilarious humor of Terry Bradshaw's New York Times bestselling memoir, It's Only a Game. Now, in Keep It Simple, the four-time Super Bowl winner, Football Hall of Famer, two-time Emmy-winning Fox NFL Sunday co-host, and popular inspirational speaker shares his thoughts on how to tackle life's most complicated problems.

You may not know it from Terry's many accomplishments -- his television commercials; his awards for sportsmanship, ...

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Overview

Fans raved about the no-nonsense honesty and hilarious humor of Terry Bradshaw's New York Times bestselling memoir, It's Only a Game. Now, in Keep It Simple, the four-time Super Bowl winner, Football Hall of Famer, two-time Emmy-winning Fox NFL Sunday co-host, and popular inspirational speaker shares his thoughts on how to tackle life's most complicated problems.

You may not know it from Terry's many accomplishments -- his television commercials; his awards for sportsmanship, broadcasting, and public speaking; or his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- but behind the warm smile and easy, down-home demeanor is a man who has lived and learned not just through his triumphs but mostly through his struggles.

Whether he's talking about recognizing and treating his attention deficit disorder, coping with his three failed marriages, accepting his fate as the benchwarmer everyone loved to hate during his early years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, or forgiving himself for spending $7,000 on those two ostrich eggs in a get-rich-quick scheme, in Keep It Simple Terry does it with the humor and honesty that has made him one of the most beloved personalities in sports history.

In chapters covering topics such as financial matters, surviving love, the value of teamwork, and overcoming adversity, Terry makes no attempt to become the next self-help guru. He offers the simple lessons he's learned through his faith, his family, and his friends.

"We are all searching for the same thing: a hand to hold and heart to understand," he says. "Keep it simple. Smile a lot. Be nice to other people....Life is a joy."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In Keep It Simple, the follow-up to his bestselling It's Only a Game, Terry Bradshaw describes how he transformed himself from an NFL quarterback into an award-winning broadcaster. Like its predecessor, this memoir excels in candor, and it's clear that, for Bradshaw, not even four Super Bowl rings can sooth the pain of three failed marriages. His mistakes and false starts are redeemed by irrepressible good spirits that have made "the bald one" such a popular inspirational speaker and Fox's NFL Sunday co-host.
Publishers Weekly
Four-time Super Bowl champ and current Fox Sports commentator, Bradshaw continues to mine the lovable goofball persona that he (and co-writer Fisher) first developed in his earlier bestselling It's Only a Game. The formula remains simple: Bradshaw discusses a range of standard truisms ("Having a positive attitude will definitely help you overcome failure") in a down-home style that mixes a great deal of self-deprecating humor ("There are people who think I'm loud, ill-informed and silly. Mostly, those are the people I try not to date") with just enough sincere personal revelation. In the last book, Bradshaw forthrightly discussed his attention deficit disorder; here, he discusses his three marriages and divorces ("I felt like my life had turned into the making of a great country album"). What is refreshing, and saves this book from being just another self-help lecture from a media/entertainment figure, is that, unlike most sports superstars, he is surprisingly open to understanding his problems as well as accepting the kind of basic Psychology 101 solutions that he needs. And the simple structure of each chapter Bradshaw leisurely explores many tangents before tying all the loose ends together with a simple maxim is remarkably entertaining. The overall effect is not unlike that of Dennis Miller's rants: while you may not agree with the author, there can be no denying that the writing is clever, entertaining and the product of a distinctive voice. (Oct.) Forecast: Given the popularity of Bradshaw's first book and his own personal popularity, this one should quickly hit the bestseller lists. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743417303
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Bradshaw is a Hall-of-Fame, four-time-Super-Bowl-champion quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is currently co-host of Fox NFL Sunday.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: An Important Chapter in My Life

Welcome to my book, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you very much for coming to this page today. Let me ask you this question: How many of you reading here have heard my album of gospel songs? Now don't you be shy, speak right up, right out loud. Anybody looks at you funny, you just tell them you're talking to a book. I promise you, they won't bother you again.

Just be grateful that all I asked you to do was say a few words out loud. Usually when I address people I begin by asking them to smile. I love to see people smiling. Love it. A smile is the mirror to the soul. It's a reflection of the character that's inside you. It reflects exactly how you feel about yourself. It tells the world, I'm happy! So go ahead and smile. I mean, you paid for all that dental work, you might just as well show it. When you buy a big expensive car you don't keep it locked in the garage. With all the money you've spent at the dentists don't keep those teeth locked in your mouth! That's right, show off that big Buick grill of a mouth!

And then I usually ask people to turn to the side and look at the person right next to them directly in the eyes. And shake their hand. Get to know them. Then after you get to know them, if they're nice enough give them a hug. Just go ahead and hug on 'em. And then I ask them to kiss -- wait, don't you go doing that. You'd definitely have a tough time convincing a judge that you kissed a stranger because a book told you to.

Obviously there is a big difference between reading a book and listening to me speak in person, but some things are exactly the same. Let me tell you, when I askan audience how many people have heard my gospel album those people usually give me exactly the same answer I get when I ask that question to people reading my book; total silence. My friends, if you really want to hear my album you just go on into your local record store and look for it; though you might want to look in the section labeled "landfill." When an album is successful it goes "gold," my album went "lead." That didn't bother me, I knew I wasn't really a singer. What I was, was the quarterback of the Super Bowl champions. That's a well-known rule; you win a Super Bowl you get to record an album.

Not really a singer is only one of the many things I am not. Besides married, I mean. I am definitely not married. I am also not a movie actor, a television show host, or a talk-radio host, although I've also tried to do those things. Unsuccessfully. And those aren't the only things I've failed at, those are just some of the highlights. I've failed at a great variety of jobs. If there is one subject at which I am very good, it's failure. If failing was considered a profession, I'd be a legend at it.

But I got to record several albums, host my own TV show, appear in movies, host a talk-radio show, and make numerous commercials because I was very good at handing off a football to another man or passing it to a receiver and letting him run with it. Let him get hit by the big guys. That was my primary experience, handing off a football or passing it. So when record producers heard my voice they probably said, "Maybe he don't sound that great, but he won a Super Bowl." Or when television producers saw me acting they might have decided, "That boy sure doesn't look that good, but he won a Super Bowl!"

Can I have an amen on winning the Super Bowl, please?

You win just one Super Bowl and people'll amen you to death.

Lemme have an amen on amening! Hallelujah to that, Brother Terry!

There was one other thing I could do. I could talk. I mean, I could definitely talk. I could fill a silence better than jelly filled a doughnut, better than a cow filled a milk pitcher, better than Pamela Anderson filled -- well, you get the concept. So I began making speeches. I spoke anyplace they would have me. I spoke in auditoriums, I spoke in gymnasiums, I spoke standing up in the back of a '52 pick-up truck. And I became very successful. In fact, by the time I realized I had nothing of true importance to say it was too late, I was already a big success at making speeches.

One reason I have been successful at it is because I begin almost every speech by making a promise that I know I can fulfill. And I hereby make that same promise to you right on this very page: By the time you finish this book you will feel better about yourself. Because after you read my words you will know for certain that you are more intelligent than at least one person in the world.

Here's a little hint; most times when somebody tells you they are not very smart they are trying to outsmart you: "Ah, shucks, ya'all, I'm too dang dumb to know that this here marshmallow roaster is worth a lot more than the $99 in three easy installments I'm selling it to you for."

I am not trying to outsmart you. Not me. Not with my family background. When I got my job at the Fox network, for example, my Momma was just thrilled. "Baby, that's wonderful," she said. When I asked her why, she told me, "'Cause it's much easier to spell than ESPN."

Throughout my entire professional football career I was known for being dumb. That was my professional image. Dick Butkus was ferocious. Walter Payton was as elusive as mercury. Terry Bradshaw was dumb. D-u-m. Dumb. Bradshaw was so dumb he couldn't pass a physical. In the off-season Bradshaw works as a test dummy. And truthfully it hurt me when people said that. It was said about me that I couldn't spell "cat" even if they spotted me the c and the t. Other people laughed. But it was not something I thought was funny or clever. It was not an image I embraced. I wasn't even smart enough to realize how beneficial that image might be to me later in my life. Being dumb became my character.

You ever see me doing a commercial? I'm the one fishing in the swimming pool. I'm the one driving two ways on a one-way street. I'm the one getting insulted by a puppet.

It is a character that has worked very well for me. For example, when I make speeches to large groups -- not like right now when I'm addressing you personally -- I explain that I'm not really as dumb as my image. I have a PE degree from Louisiana Tech, I say proudly. I have a PE degree! Some people laugh when I say that, but there's nothing at all funny about a PE degree. When I earned that degree my family was mighty proud of me. Not counting my older brother, I was the very first person in our family to graduate from college. Although admittedly my grandfather, my pawpaw, didn't quite understand my degree. "A Pee degree?" he kept asking. "Heck, when I was coming up they didn't have to teach it, they just sent you out back behind the house and told you not to do it upwind."

Truth is, though, all along I was smart enough to understand that I wasn't really that smart. That was an important piece of information. At times I've struggled with life the way an ant struggles with a suitcase. I have a perfect record in marriage, for example: three marriages, three divorces, a perfect record. I've made and lost and made and lost a considerable amount of money. I've done so many things in my life that even I don't understand -- buying two ostrich eggs for $7,000 would be a particularly fine example of that -- that I no longer worry about it.

But for a long time I did want to understand my life. Part of my problems, I discovered as an adult, came from the fact that I had ADD, attention deficit disorder. That made it hard for me to focus on things I didn't really like. School, for instance. It also made it difficult for me to retain information. I'd read a question on a test, I'd know the answer, but before I could write it down I'd not only forget the answer, I'd forget the question. I didn't do well on tests. The problem with that is when you're young and people tell you that you're not very smart you tend to believe them. No matter what happens later in life that leaves pretty big scars on your personality. No question that it shaped me. I found that in the classroom I couldn't compete academically -- but I could definitely make people laugh. I would say funny things, most of the time intentionally. So I grew up just loving the sound of laughter. And I could compete with anyone on the football field. I could throw a football farther than anyone else. So I grew up throwing a football and making people laugh. Not at the same time, of course.

It made growing up interesting. It also made being grown-up difficult. So much so that I've spent considerable time in therapy. In my life I've been to see five different therapists. The first time I went to a therapist I was so embarrassed about being there that I made up problems to impress him. I went to him once. The second counselor I went to was much too direct for me. "Look, Terry," he told me, "you're with the wrong gal. There's nothing wrong with her, she's just the wrong girl for you." That was a pretty shocking thing to hear. Maybe if he had just sort of eased into it -- "You know, Terry, the crops need to be picked and she doesn't know how to drive a tractor" or "You know, Terry, when you're climbing a mountain it's better to take a mule than a duck" -- I might have figured it out. I could have accepted it, but he just told me right off. So it was difficult for me to accept; some things in life are just cut and dried when we need them to be folded and wet. If he had told me I was driving the wrong car maybe I would have traded it in. But I couldn't do that with my wife. You can't just take her to a Used Wife Lot and trade her on in for a new model. That'd be some good business, but you can't do it. So instead I changed therapists.

Then I went to see two different women therapists. Both of them were very nice, but I was just uncomfortable telling my problems to women. It was amazing. I needed help, and either of these women was more than qualified to help me, but my biggest problem at that time was with a woman so I was embarrassed to be telling a woman about it. I didn't want so much to impress them, as I did the male therapist, as entertain them. I'm always most comfortable with women when I can get them laughing. So I'd be telling them my best stories about my mother's tooth or going to a restaurant and ordering steak tartar medium well.

But the first woman therapist confused me so much I had to go to the second woman therapist just to interpret what the first one was telling me: Oh, that's what she meant. Wow, that's pretty smart. Then I'd run right back to the first one with my response.

It wasn't working. My friends, I flunked therapy. Just downright dunked it. And then I met Mr. Bill Bush. Now admittedly Bill Bush has a weight problem. I don't know if it's because he got weaned off the breast too young, which I think might be a common problem among therapists; and he does tend to cry pretty easily, which he tells me is because he is in touch with his feelings; and he definitely stutters when he is asking me about any sexual problems, which naturally I don't have any of -- no how no way do I have any sexual problems thank you very much.

But he has a nice soft voice. And he has a way of getting right to the core of the situation: "Terry, I don't think it has anything to do with her deep-rooted feelings of hostility toward men based on her own early insecurity, I think she just wasn't interested in going to the Monster Truck Rally." And also, he is a Christian counselor, meaning that in addition to using the accepted techniques of traditional therapy, he often uses basic scriptural principles that apply not only to my specific problems, but also to basic daily life skills. And most of all he helped me change my life. He helped me to understand the difference between those things I could not change and those things that I could change and to accept those things I could not change and fire those people who needed to be fired.

He made me the person that I am today.

That last sentence is what is known in comedic circles as a straight line. You can fill in the punch line to suit your taste. But the fact is, Bill exposed me to some pretty basic truths about my life that I intend to communicate to you. And we're very fortunate to have Bill with us in this chapter, to help you understand me just a little better. This way you won't make the same mistakes I've made, which is definitely the purpose of any self-help motivational-inspirational book.

So without further distraction, my therapist Bill Bush is now going to do his diagnosis of me for you....

"The day Terry arrived at my office for the first time I watched through the window as he got out of his car and looked around. Then he unbuttoned his jeans and tucked his shirttail into his pants. At least he was going to be properly dressed for this meeting with a counselor. I greeted him at the door. He is taller than me but I had more hair, but not too much more. He was all smiles until we began the session and then another Terry appeared. This wasn't the smiling character I had seen on television; this was a man who was strong yet fearful, a man with feet of clay.

"Terry was in the process of separating from his third wife. He wanted to put the relationship back together, but she had different ideas. We talked often during those difficult times. Terry was a broken man and handled his pain with many emotions; he would be alternately angry and deeply sad. It was during this period that he won an Emmy for his work on the Fox NFL Sunday show. 'I do my best work when I'm hurting,' he told me.

"Some of Terry's failings were of his own making. Others just happened. He is a complex man; he is incredibly private, but is exhilarated by people. He wants everyone to like him, a people pleaser, sometimes to his own detriment. He often gives things away in an attempt to please other people; he gave away his shotgun, he gave his former brother-in-law his boat and a brand new truck, he was even about to invest in a former in-law's wooden rocking-horse business.

"While on the surface he appears to be very tough, very strong, a man's man, in fact he is actually a very tender, sensitive person. At one point, for example, we were talking about some of the things he had done in the past, nothing so terrible it couldn't be forgiven, but I pointed out to him, 'Terry, that behavior was wrong.'

"He said, 'I know it was.'

"'Well then,' I said, 'you must feel awfully guilty about it.'

"At that point he just broke into tears, 'I'm just consumed with guilt,' he told me.

"When people say negative things about him he usually acts as if he doesn't care, but it can be very hurtful to him. That is a primary reason he tends to shy away from people and places where he has experienced that emotional pain. That's probably one of the reasons he hasn't spent much time in Pittsburgh since he retired.

"His normal behavioral patterns were certainly impacted negatively by his attention deficit issues, which sometimes caused him to act impulsively. As a student he could not possibly have tested well because he just couldn't remain focused on the questions. He likes to get things done. Even with me he became extremely impatient to finish our counseling sessions. At one point he said to me, 'Why aren't I well yet? I mean, I've paid you all this money and I'm not well yet.'

"To which I responded, 'Terry, I'm not sure you have enough money for that.'

"Terry set out to learn about himself and I think, to a large extent, he has succeeded. At least now he understands why he behaves as he does. And he understands why he so much enjoys the sound of other people laughing..."

Thank you very much, Bill, thank you. The check's in the mail. The point that Bill was trying to make is that my life is so messed up how can I give advice that has any value to anyone else? That's a warning from my very own personal therapist. The fact is that I can't help you find the solution to your problems, and please don't expect me to provide the answers. What can I possibly offer you that you don't know? Basically, about all I can do is try to make you feel a little better than you did when you started reading this sentence. Make you smile, and maybe even laugh. I'm being honest. I just flat cannot help you with the serious problems of your life. That's not my job. I'm a mess myself and I brought my therapist here to prove it.

But I'm a wonderful mess. At least that's what my momma tells me. "Oh, Terry, that's okay," she tells me, "you didn't mean to cause that entire company to go out of business. It was their fault; who in the world ever told them to hire you?"

Not me. Definitely not me. If you believe that self-help books or motivational speakers can really help improve your life there is no shortage of them available to take your money. You can read about the Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, for example, which basically comes down to beating the competition by cutting off their heads and putting them on stakes. Then there is the woman's version of that, Leadership Secrets of Elizabeth I, which includes particularly good advice for women who want to defeat Spain. There are books that reveal the secrets of happiness from Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, even Robert E. Lee -- people who have one thing in common: They're all dead! My question is if they really had these secrets how did the people who wrote these books find out about them in the first place?

One of these people wrote a best-selling book that promises a "ten-minute test that can make your favorite daydream come true." Now I seriously doubt that, because that particular daydream's husband would most definitely have an opinion about this. What am I going to do? Tell him, sorry, but it says right here in this book that my daydream is coming true.

The only people these self-help inspirational books really help are the people who got paid to write them. I promise you, I am not going to make you smarter, younger, or a better leader. You are definitely not going to learn management techniques from me. You aren't going to double your income working from your own home. When I speak to people I tell them right at the beginning not to bother taking any notes, because nothing I am going to say is worthy of writing down. I learned very early it isn't what I said, but how I said it, as long as I said it funny.

It made me proud to hear people saying as they walked out after listening to me speak, "I don't know what he said, but, boy, he was funny saying it." Or, "Boy, that was some speech; it sure used up a lot of words."

I love speaking to people and the only claim I'll make is that they will smile. At least most of the time. One time I was invited to speak at the convention of the National Physicists Society in Washington, D.C. I am not making this up. When I tell you about giant pig eggs I'm pretty definitively making it up, but this story is true. Initially when they asked me to speak I turned them down. I felt this was a group that might not understand my sense of humor. I just didn't believe people who spent their time figuring out the basic structure of the universe would understand the status my grandfather derived in Hall Summit, Louisiana, from having a two-holer in his backyard.

But when this group insisted they wanted me to speak, I agreed. The members had come to Washington from all over the world. They were very wealthy, very successful, they were true intellectuals; these were the kind of people who drink their wine from glasses! For many of them English was a second language, and those people definitely did not speak drawl.

The chairman gave me a rousing introduction, and I was greeted with polite, cordial, lukewarm applause. Maybe some people would have been a little hesitant after that response, but not me, no siree, not me. I took that response as a challenge. I became determined that I was going to reach them with Terry's own brand of homespun humor, I was going to make contact with their emotions, I was going to move them. Move them! I said. Uplift them! Can you hear me, my friends, I was going to give them my A-number-one speech, the big one, the wowser, the neutron bomb of speeches. I don't do it too often, it takes too much out of me to climb to that peak, but these people were going to get it all.

I started that speech and let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen, if you get to page 150 of this book you will never read about another speech like this one. Oh, my Lord, it was something beautiful to hear. I put everything possible into it. Now generally I sweat easy; I've been known to work up a sweat toweling off after a shower, but this time within minutes I was wringing wet. I got down on the ground, I ripped out my heart and held it up high for them to see. I screamed and I hollered and I whispered, I beseeched these people. I was imploring them. I was a blur on that stage. I knocked over the podium. I was up and down and around. My words were stirring and meaningful and...and as I ended this speech I brought myself to tears as I stood there expressing my love for my sweet, beautiful, innocent little girls. When I finished I was dripping wet, totally exhausted.

And I received polite, cordial, lukewarm applause.

I ended up with a migraine headache. Backstage one of the organizers was ecstatic. "That was incredible," she said, "absolutely unbelievable, the best we've ever heard." She asked me if I had any questions.

"Just one," I said. "You got any Demerol?" The best ever? If I was the best, I couldn't begin to imagine the speakers they'd had in previous years. Rainman? Snoop Doggy Dog? Andrew Dice Clay? Marcel Marceau?

I've spoken before literally hundreds of different groups. I've spoken to corporate groups, civic groups; the smallest group I ever spoke in front of was twenty-three people, the top salesmen of a company; the largest group was about ten thousand Amway salespeople. I've spoken in front of ethnic groups, among them the Dallas/Fort Worth Jewish Society. Jewish Texans, who knew? Yippee oi vey! I loved that speech; the people who were introducing me were telling all these "two Jews walked into a bar..." jokes and I was writing them down as fast as they told them. When I stood up I noticed that many people in the audience were wearing their skullcaps, their yarmulkes. I'd come a long way -- a few years earlier I hadn't even known what a yarmulke was; I'd guessed it was an Israeli car, the Jewish Honda. This time I complimented them, I told them I loved their "Jewish cowboy hats." I've never spoken in front of a predominately African-American group, but I'm ready; I'm waiting on the NAACP to invite me, Brother Terry, yo bro, let's give it up for the cracker from Louisiana.

I speak directly from my heart. I don't plan my speeches, I certainly don't write them down and memorize them. I have a vague concept of where I'm going and how I'm going to get there. There are certain stories I've used many times to make a point. For example, I used to always include some football material. I'd talk about a player we had on the Steelers who wasn't very big of stature, but he was large of heart. What he lacked in size he made up in determination. He succeeded because he believed in himself. In his heart he was a giant. A giant, my friends, a giant. At the training table one day, I remember, they were serving steaks and asking everybody how they wanted them cooked. One by one we gave our orders until the waiter asked him how he wanted his cooked. And this boy said confidently, "Don't worry about me. Just break the horns off of that steer and run him through; I'll just rip me off a piece."

I used to tell stories just like that one but then word got back to me that some of my former teammates didn't quite understand that these stories were complimentary. Not complimentary? In my entire long life -- which I intend to be a lot longer -- I have never said one single uncomplimentary word about any man weighing more than 275 pounds who can clean and jerk more than his bodyweight. Therefore I dropped most references to my teammates.

I have an admission to make: Some of the facts that you will read in this book aren't the real actual truth. For example, my momma doesn't drive a tractor and have one tooth. That's a character I made up. The actual truth is that Ole Gummy, as we lovingly call her, hasn't driven that tractor since the night she got that welding job. And she's real bright too, follows those directions real well; I remember I walked into the kitchen one day and found her just sitting there staring at a can of frozen orange juice. "Momma," I said, "what are you doing?"

"Well, Baby," she said, "it says right here on the can 'concentrate.' So I am."

Some of the material I use has been distilled from other books that I've read. Read? Did that boy say, read? I read a lot. When I get interested in a subject I become a voracious reader. At my ranch my bookshelves are filled and I've read pretty much every one of those books. I love world history, I'm fascinated by World War II. I've read all of Churchill's books and much of what has been written about Hitler and Stalin. I also read inspirational books and some self-help books. I've read a considerable amount of psychology. I love those basic psychology books, books that make a complicated subject relatively easy to understand, even for me. You know: Run, Jane run. See Jane run -- right to the pharmacy for her Prozac.

The books give me a direction; I get a lot of reassurance from them: When I'm done reading them I'm confident that I don't know just as much as these people don't know. As you'll learn, I never, ever quote anyone. I learned that from Mark Twain, I believe, who said, "A man who relies on quoting others is weak of mind!" Or maybe it was Tommy Smothers. The real problem with quotes is that you have to remember them. And sometimes it's difficult to work the few quotes I do know by heart into a speech. For example, growing up I loved The Three Stooges. People don't take them very seriously in the United States, but in France, Les Trois Stooges, as they're known, are considered avant-garde comedic geniuses whose work explored the deeper meaning of banging people over the head with rolling pins. I saw every movie they ever made and I definitely could quote them in my speeches, but I haven't been able to figure out how to work "Nyuck, nyuck" into a speech. I can't even figure out how to get it into this book.

I also try to provide for people just a little more information than they originally had. I want you to close this book today knowing more than you did when you opened it. That's important to me. So I'll tell you some of the things I've learned from experience, things I know about from my own life that can be applied to your life. The best way to buy a watermelon, for example. Now men don't know a blessed thing about buying a watermelon. You see men in the supermarket trying to figure out if a watermelon is ripe and what are they doing? They're thumping on it. Am I right? Don't answer, I know I'm right. Men just thump, thump, thump, just like little Peter Cottontails, thump, thump, thump. And they never, ever buy the first watermelon they thump. Do you know why? Because they know they are not supposed to, that's why. These are educated watermelon thumpers. They never buy the first one they thump because they know somebody is watching them. And probably trying to steal their thumping technique and get the best watermelon. So they have to thump two or three. By that time the other man is thumping his own melons. There is no actual reason to buy the fourth one, but generally that's what men do. Men don't even know what they're listening for, but modern watermelon thumping brings us back to our ancestors who had to grow their own watermelons. When people thump now they listen for a deep sound. A thummmmmmmmp. That deep sound means there is water in that watermelon and that water is curing the sugar in it. That's going to taste sweet. The key to good thumping is that as soon as you hear a deep, resonant thump, buy that watermelon.

You now know more than you did just three paragraphs ago. I try to educate my audience. One of the things I definitely try to teach is the importance of being able to laugh at yourself. I have found that if people don't like to laugh at themselves there is generally someone nearby willing to do it for them. Is there anything as humorous as someone who takes himself too seriously? Like those people who use cell phones in public and speak loudly enough for everyone around them to hear their entire secret conversation. Love those people: Sell ten thousand shares, pick up the Rolls, make the reservations to Paris. Gotta go now, I'm using up all my free minutes.

Those are the kind of people who need to show their importance. To me, they are just insecure. Sometimes you see them walking down the street looking like they are talking to themselves until you see that they're wearing a headphone. That never impresses me. I grew up watching my momma walking down the street talking away just like them -- and that was years before the cell phone was invented.

Truly, I don't understand these people. Never have, never will. Do they really believe that they are so important they can't be away from a phone for a few minutes? What do they think is going to happen: "Oh no! I was away from the phone for three minutes and my wife ran away with the plumber, sold the house, and moved to Des Moines." These are the same people who immediately buy a new phone as soon as a smaller system comes out. For some reason the smaller things get, the more expensive they become. So these people have got to have the smallest cell phone possible just to show other people that they can afford to pay more for less. I had a cell phone once, it was one of the "smart phones." I took it out back and killed it with a shotgun. Didn't seem so smart to me, never said a single word.

Not only do they have cell phones, now they carry Palm Pilots with them. You have to go to class at night, which keeps you away from your family, to learn how to use that Palm Pilot. You have to learn how to take a little stick and punch it to bring up information. Give me a stick and I'll beat the information out of it.

We do need to laugh at ourselves because we are not perfect. Of course for me it's a little easier than for most people; admittedly I've got a lot to work with. When I was young I didn't enjoy it when other people made fun of me, so I decided I would beat them to it. It took me some time to get comfortable making fun of myself, but now I find I'm driving the bandwagon. Maybe a lot of people jump on, but it's always going in the direction of my choice.

The other thing I try not to do is use the same old clichés. I'm not someone who closes the barn door after the chickens have come home to roost. I don't need to tell people things they already know, just so they think I'm smart enough to agree with them. I don't need to tell people things that are obvious: Don't make bad investments. Don't pay any attention to astrologers unless they predict good things. Don't get married and divorced three times. What I do try to do is discuss things that relate directly to real life. My friends, real life can be tough. I mean, tough! It can be real difficult. There are people who look real serious and advise you that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That may sound clever but it is just wrong; when was the last time that anybody gave you a lemon? Oh, thank you for this beautiful lemon; it was just what I was hoping to get for my birthday. A much more accurate philosophy -- at least applicable to my life -- would be: When people throw lemons at you, you just be darn grateful they're not grapefruits!

I want for you the same things you want for me! Or, the same things I hope you want for me -- there are probably some Dallas Cowboy fans reading this who are still angry. I want you to be filled with joy inside. I want you happy. I want you to walk around with your head up high. Don't be ashamed of how God made you -- you are special. Special! Trust me, you are special. I want you to be so elated by who you are that you just hold your head up high. I want you to find the passion in your life and the freedom to pursue it. I want you to identify those things in your life that are making you unhappy and do something about them. Get rid of them. Annihilate them. Don't just read a book, do something about them.

If you can do all those things, then we are definitely on the same page. This one.

Copyright © 2002 by Terry Bradshaw

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Table of Contents

Contents

Dedication

1 An Important Chapter in My Life

2 My Basic Philosophy for Beating Life's Challenges

3 The Not-So-Secrets of Happiness

4 The Heart Has a Heart of Its Own and Other Disasters

5 My Biggest Break -- And How I Survived It

6 Keeping the Faith

7 Following the Leader

8 There's Always Time for a Good Time

9 Good Health Doesn't Hurt

10 Your Are Your Most Important Product

11 The Best Thing in Life Is Life

12 Team Works

13 Keep It Simple

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First Chapter

Chapter 1: An Important Chapter in My Life

Welcome to my book, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you very much for coming to this page today. Let me ask you this question: How many of you reading here have heard my album of gospel songs? Now don't you be shy, speak right up, right out loud. Anybody looks at you funny, you just tell them you're talking to a book. I promise you, they won't bother you again.

Just be grateful that all I asked you to do was say a few words out loud. Usually when I address people I begin by asking them to smile. I love to see people smiling. Love it. A smile is the mirror to the soul. It's a reflection of the character that's inside you. It reflects exactly how you feel about yourself. It tells the world, I'm happy! So go ahead and smile. I mean, you paid for all that dental work, you might just as well show it. When you buy a big expensive car you don't keep it locked in the garage. With all the money you've spent at the dentists don't keep those teeth locked in your mouth! That's right, show off that big Buick grill of a mouth!

And then I usually ask people to turn to the side and look at the person right next to them directly in the eyes. And shake their hand. Get to know them. Then after you get to know them, if they're nice enough give them a hug. Just go ahead and hug on 'em. And then I ask them to kiss -- wait, don't you go doing that. You'd definitely have a tough time convincing a judge that you kissed a stranger because a book told you to.

Obviously there is a big difference between reading a book and listening to me speak in person, but some things are exactly the same. Let me tell you, when I ask an audience how many people have heard my gospel album those people usually give me exactly the same answer I get when I ask that question to people reading my book; total silence. My friends, if you really want to hear my album you just go on into your local record store and look for it; though you might want to look in the section labeled "landfill." When an album is successful it goes "gold," my album went "lead." That didn't bother me, I knew I wasn't really a singer. What I was, was the quarterback of the Super Bowl champions. That's a well-known rule; you win a Super Bowl you get to record an album.

Not really a singer is only one of the many things I am not. Besides married, I mean. I am definitely not married. I am also not a movie actor, a television show host, or a talk-radio host, although I've also tried to do those things. Unsuccessfully. And those aren't the only things I've failed at, those are just some of the highlights. I've failed at a great variety of jobs. If there is one subject at which I am very good, it's failure. If failing was considered a profession, I'd be a legend at it.

But I got to record several albums, host my own TV show, appear in movies, host a talk-radio show, and make numerous commercials because I was very good at handing off a football to another man or passing it to a receiver and letting him run with it. Let him get hit by the big guys. That was my primary experience, handing off a football or passing it. So when record producers heard my voice they probably said, "Maybe he don't sound that great, but he won a Super Bowl." Or when television producers saw me acting they might have decided, "That boy sure doesn't look that good, but he won a Super Bowl!"

Can I have an amen on winning the Super Bowl, please?

You win just one Super Bowl and people'll amen you to death.

Lemme have an amen on amening! Hallelujah to that, Brother Terry!

There was one other thing I could do. I could talk. I mean, I could definitely talk. I could fill a silence better than jelly filled a doughnut, better than a cow filled a milk pitcher, better than Pamela Anderson filled -- well, you get the concept. So I began making speeches. I spoke anyplace they would have me. I spoke in auditoriums, I spoke in gymnasiums, I spoke standing up in the back of a '52 pick-up truck. And I became very successful. In fact, by the time I realized I had nothing of true importance to say it was too late, I was already a big success at making speeches.

One reason I have been successful at it is because I begin almost every speech by making a promise that I know I can fulfill. And I hereby make that same promise to you right on this very page: By the time you finish this book you will feel better about yourself. Because after you read my words you will know for certain that you are more intelligent than at least one person in the world.

Here's a little hint; most times when somebody tells you they are not very smart they are trying to outsmart you: "Ah, shucks, ya'all, I'm too dang dumb to know that this here marshmallow roaster is worth a lot more than the $99 in three easy installments I'm selling it to you for."

I am not trying to outsmart you. Not me. Not with my family background. When I got my job at the Fox network, for example, my Momma was just thrilled. "Baby, that's wonderful," she said. When I asked her why, she told me, "'Cause it's much easier to spell than ESPN."

Throughout my entire professional football career I was known for being dumb. That was my professional image. Dick Butkus was ferocious. Walter Payton was as elusive as mercury. Terry Bradshaw was dumb. D-u-m. Dumb. Bradshaw was so dumb he couldn't pass a physical. In the off-season Bradshaw works as a test dummy. And truthfully it hurt me when people said that. It was said about me that I couldn't spell "cat" even if they spotted me the c and the t. Other people laughed. But it was not something I thought was funny or clever. It was not an image I embraced. I wasn't even smart enough to realize how beneficial that image might be to me later in my life. Being dumb became my character.

You ever see me doing a commercial? I'm the one fishing in the swimming pool. I'm the one driving two ways on a one-way street. I'm the one getting insulted by a puppet.

It is a character that has worked very well for me. For example, when I make speeches to large groups -- not like right now when I'm addressing you personally -- I explain that I'm not really as dumb as my image. I have a PE degree from Louisiana Tech, I say proudly. I have a PE degree! Some people laugh when I say that, but there's nothing at all funny about a PE degree. When I earned that degree my family was mighty proud of me. Not counting my older brother, I was the very first person in our family to graduate from college. Although admittedly my grandfather, my pawpaw, didn't quite understand my degree. "A Pee degree?" he kept asking. "Heck, when I was coming up they didn't have to teach it, they just sent you out back behind the house and told you not to do it upwind."

Truth is, though, all along I was smart enough to understand that I wasn't really that smart. That was an important piece of information. At times I've struggled with life the way an ant struggles with a suitcase. I have a perfect record in marriage, for example: three marriages, three divorces, a perfect record. I've made and lost and made and lost a considerable amount of money. I've done so many things in my life that even I don't understand -- buying two ostrich eggs for $7,000 would be a particularly fine example of that -- that I no longer worry about it.

But for a long time I did want to understand my life. Part of my problems, I discovered as an adult, came from the fact that I had ADD, attention deficit disorder. That made it hard for me to focus on things I didn't really like. School, for instance. It also made it difficult for me to retain information. I'd read a question on a test, I'd know the answer, but before I could write it down I'd not only forget the answer, I'd forget the question. I didn't do well on tests. The problem with that is when you're young and people tell you that you're not very smart you tend to believe them. No matter what happens later in life that leaves pretty big scars on your personality. No question that it shaped me. I found that in the classroom I couldn't compete academically -- but I could definitely make people laugh. I would say funny things, most of the time intentionally. So I grew up just loving the sound of laughter. And I could compete with anyone on the football field. I could throw a football farther than anyone else. So I grew up throwing a football and making people laugh. Not at the same time, of course.

It made growing up interesting. It also made being grown-up difficult. So much so that I've spent considerable time in therapy. In my life I've been to see five different therapists. The first time I went to a therapist I was so embarrassed about being there that I made up problems to impress him. I went to him once. The second counselor I went to was much too direct for me. "Look, Terry," he told me, "you're with the wrong gal. There's nothing wrong with her, she's just the wrong girl for you." That was a pretty shocking thing to hear. Maybe if he had just sort of eased into it -- "You know, Terry, the crops need to be picked and she doesn't know how to drive a tractor" or "You know, Terry, when you're climbing a mountain it's better to take a mule than a duck" -- I might have figured it out. I could have accepted it, but he just told me right off. So it was difficult for me to accept; some things in life are just cut and dried when we need them to be folded and wet. If he had told me I was driving the wrong car maybe I would have traded it in. But I couldn't do that with my wife. You can't just take her to a Used Wife Lot and trade her on in for a new model. That'd be some good business, but you can't do it. So instead I changed therapists.

Then I went to see two different women therapists. Both of them were very nice, but I was just uncomfortable telling my problems to women. It was amazing. I needed help, and either of these women was more than qualified to help me, but my biggest problem at that time was with a woman so I was embarrassed to be telling a woman about it. I didn't want so much to impress them, as I did the male therapist, as entertain them. I'm always most comfortable with women when I can get them laughing. So I'd be telling them my best stories about my mother's tooth or going to a restaurant and ordering steak tartar medium well.

But the first woman therapist confused me so much I had to go to the second woman therapist just to interpret what the first one was telling me: Oh, that's what she meant. Wow, that's pretty smart. Then I'd run right back to the first one with my response.

It wasn't working. My friends, I flunked therapy. Just downright dunked it. And then I met Mr. Bill Bush. Now admittedly Bill Bush has a weight problem. I don't know if it's because he got weaned off the breast too young, which I think might be a common problem among therapists; and he does tend to cry pretty easily, which he tells me is because he is in touch with his feelings; and he definitely stutters when he is asking me about any sexual problems, which naturally I don't have any of -- no how no way do I have any sexual problems thank you very much.

But he has a nice soft voice. And he has a way of getting right to the core of the situation: "Terry, I don't think it has anything to do with her deep-rooted feelings of hostility toward men based on her own early insecurity, I think she just wasn't interested in going to the Monster Truck Rally." And also, he is a Christian counselor, meaning that in addition to using the accepted techniques of traditional therapy, he often uses basic scriptural principles that apply not only to my specific problems, but also to basic daily life skills. And most of all he helped me change my life. He helped me to understand the difference between those things I could not change and those things that I could change and to accept those things I could not change and fire those people who needed to be fired.

He made me the person that I am today.

That last sentence is what is known in comedic circles as a straight line. You can fill in the punch line to suit your taste. But the fact is, Bill exposed me to some pretty basic truths about my life that I intend to communicate to you. And we're very fortunate to have Bill with us in this chapter, to help you understand me just a little better. This way you won't make the same mistakes I've made, which is definitely the purpose of any self-help motivational-inspirational book.

So without further distraction, my therapist Bill Bush is now going to do his diagnosis of me for you....

"The day Terry arrived at my office for the first time I watched through the window as he got out of his car and looked around. Then he unbuttoned his jeans and tucked his shirttail into his pants. At least he was going to be properly dressed for this meeting with a counselor. I greeted him at the door. He is taller than me but I had more hair, but not too much more. He was all smiles until we began the session and then another Terry appeared. This wasn't the smiling character I had seen on television; this was a man who was strong yet fearful, a man with feet of clay.

"Terry was in the process of separating from his third wife. He wanted to put the relationship back together, but she had different ideas. We talked often during those difficult times. Terry was a broken man and handled his pain with many emotions; he would be alternately angry and deeply sad. It was during this period that he won an Emmy for his work on the Fox NFL Sunday show. 'I do my best work when I'm hurting,' he told me.

"Some of Terry's failings were of his own making. Others just happened. He is a complex man; he is incredibly private, but is exhilarated by people. He wants everyone to like him, a people pleaser, sometimes to his own detriment. He often gives things away in an attempt to please other people; he gave away his shotgun, he gave his former brother-in-law his boat and a brand new truck, he was even about to invest in a former in-law's wooden rocking-horse business.

"While on the surface he appears to be very tough, very strong, a man's man, in fact he is actually a very tender, sensitive person. At one point, for example, we were talking about some of the things he had done in the past, nothing so terrible it couldn't be forgiven, but I pointed out to him, 'Terry, that behavior was wrong.'

"He said, 'I know it was.'

"'Well then,' I said, 'you must feel awfully guilty about it.'

"At that point he just broke into tears, 'I'm just consumed with guilt,' he told me.

"When people say negative things about him he usually acts as if he doesn't care, but it can be very hurtful to him. That is a primary reason he tends to shy away from people and places where he has experienced that emotional pain. That's probably one of the reasons he hasn't spent much time in Pittsburgh since he retired.

"His normal behavioral patterns were certainly impacted negatively by his attention deficit issues, which sometimes caused him to act impulsively. As a student he could not possibly have tested well because he just couldn't remain focused on the questions. He likes to get things done. Even with me he became extremely impatient to finish our counseling sessions. At one point he said to me, 'Why aren't I well yet? I mean, I've paid you all this money and I'm not well yet.'

"To which I responded, 'Terry, I'm not sure you have enough money for that.'

"Terry set out to learn about himself and I think, to a large extent, he has succeeded. At least now he understands why he behaves as he does. And he understands why he so much enjoys the sound of other people laughing..."

Thank you very much, Bill, thank you. The check's in the mail. The point that Bill was trying to make is that my life is so messed up how can I give advice that has any value to anyone else? That's a warning from my very own personal therapist. The fact is that I can't help you find the solution to your problems, and please don't expect me to provide the answers. What can I possibly offer you that you don't know? Basically, about all I can do is try to make you feel a little better than you did when you started reading this sentence. Make you smile, and maybe even laugh. I'm being honest. I just flat cannot help you with the serious problems of your life. That's not my job. I'm a mess myself and I brought my therapist here to prove it.

But I'm a wonderful mess. At least that's what my momma tells me. "Oh, Terry, that's okay," she tells me, "you didn't mean to cause that entire company to go out of business. It was their fault; who in the world ever told them to hire you?"

Not me. Definitely not me. If you believe that self-help books or motivational speakers can really help improve your life there is no shortage of them available to take your money. You can read about the Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, for example, which basically comes down to beating the competition by cutting off their heads and putting them on stakes. Then there is the woman's version of that, Leadership Secrets of Elizabeth I, which includes particularly good advice for women who want to defeat Spain. There are books that reveal the secrets of happiness from Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, even Robert E. Lee -- people who have one thing in common: They're all dead! My question is if they really had these secrets how did the people who wrote these books find out about them in the first place?

One of these people wrote a best-selling book that promises a "ten-minute test that can make your favorite daydream come true." Now I seriously doubt that, because that particular daydream's husband would most definitely have an opinion about this. What am I going to do? Tell him, sorry, but it says right here in this book that my daydream is coming true.

The only people these self-help inspirational books really help are the people who got paid to write them. I promise you, I am not going to make you smarter, younger, or a better leader. You are definitely not going to learn management techniques from me. You aren't going to double your income working from your own home. When I speak to people I tell them right at the beginning not to bother taking any notes, because nothing I am going to say is worthy of writing down. I learned very early it isn't what I said, but how I said it, as long as I said it funny.

It made me proud to hear people saying as they walked out after listening to me speak, "I don't know what he said, but, boy, he was funny saying it." Or, "Boy, that was some speech; it sure used up a lot of words."

I love speaking to people and the only claim I'll make is that they will smile. At least most of the time. One time I was invited to speak at the convention of the National Physicists Society in Washington, D.C. I am not making this up. When I tell you about giant pig eggs I'm pretty definitively making it up, but this story is true. Initially when they asked me to speak I turned them down. I felt this was a group that might not understand my sense of humor. I just didn't believe people who spent their time figuring out the basic structure of the universe would understand the status my grandfather derived in Hall Summit, Louisiana, from having a two-holer in his backyard.

But when this group insisted they wanted me to speak, I agreed. The members had come to Washington from all over the world. They were very wealthy, very successful, they were true intellectuals; these were the kind of people who drink their wine from glasses! For many of them English was a second language, and those people definitely did not speak drawl.

The chairman gave me a rousing introduction, and I was greeted with polite, cordial, lukewarm applause. Maybe some people would have been a little hesitant after that response, but not me, no siree, not me. I took that response as a challenge. I became determined that I was going to reach them with Terry's own brand of homespun humor, I was going to make contact with their emotions, I was going to move them. Move them! I said. Uplift them! Can you hear me, my friends, I was going to give them my A-number-one speech, the big one, the wowser, the neutron bomb of speeches. I don't do it too often, it takes too much out of me to climb to that peak, but these people were going to get it all.

I started that speech and let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen, if you get to page 150 of this book you will never read about another speech like this one. Oh, my Lord, it was something beautiful to hear. I put everything possible into it. Now generally I sweat easy; I've been known to work up a sweat toweling off after a shower, but this time within minutes I was wringing wet. I got down on the ground, I ripped out my heart and held it up high for them to see. I screamed and I hollered and I whispered, I beseeched these people. I was imploring them. I was a blur on that stage. I knocked over the podium. I was up and down and around. My words were stirring and meaningful and...and as I ended this speech I brought myself to tears as I stood there expressing my love for my sweet, beautiful, innocent little girls. When I finished I was dripping wet, totally exhausted.

And I received polite, cordial, lukewarm applause.

I ended up with a migraine headache. Backstage one of the organizers was ecstatic. "That was incredible," she said, "absolutely unbelievable, the best we've ever heard." She asked me if I had any questions.

"Just one," I said. "You got any Demerol?" The best ever? If I was the best, I couldn't begin to imagine the speakers they'd had in previous years. Rainman? Snoop Doggy Dog? Andrew Dice Clay? Marcel Marceau?

I've spoken before literally hundreds of different groups. I've spoken to corporate groups, civic groups; the smallest group I ever spoke in front of was twenty-three people, the top salesmen of a company; the largest group was about ten thousand Amway salespeople. I've spoken in front of ethnic groups, among them the Dallas/Fort Worth Jewish Society. Jewish Texans, who knew? Yippee oi vey! I loved that speech; the people who were introducing me were telling all these "two Jews walked into a bar..." jokes and I was writing them down as fast as they told them. When I stood up I noticed that many people in the audience were wearing their skullcaps, their yarmulkes. I'd come a long way -- a few years earlier I hadn't even known what a yarmulke was; I'd guessed it was an Israeli car, the Jewish Honda. This time I complimented them, I told them I loved their "Jewish cowboy hats." I've never spoken in front of a predominately African-American group, but I'm ready; I'm waiting on the NAACP to invite me, Brother Terry, yo bro, let's give it up for the cracker from Louisiana.

I speak directly from my heart. I don't plan my speeches, I certainly don't write them down and memorize them. I have a vague concept of where I'm going and how I'm going to get there. There are certain stories I've used many times to make a point. For example, I used to always include some football material. I'd talk about a player we had on the Steelers who wasn't very big of stature, but he was large of heart. What he lacked in size he made up in determination. He succeeded because he believed in himself. In his heart he was a giant. A giant, my friends, a giant. At the training table one day, I remember, they were serving steaks and asking everybody how they wanted them cooked. One by one we gave our orders until the waiter asked him how he wanted his cooked. And this boy said confidently, "Don't worry about me. Just break the horns off of that steer and run him through; I'll just rip me off a piece."

I used to tell stories just like that one but then word got back to me that some of my former teammates didn't quite understand that these stories were complimentary. Not complimentary? In my entire long life -- which I intend to be a lot longer -- I have never said one single uncomplimentary word about any man weighing more than 275 pounds who can clean and jerk more than his bodyweight. Therefore I dropped most references to my teammates.

I have an admission to make: Some of the facts that you will read in this book aren't the real actual truth. For example, my momma doesn't drive a tractor and have one tooth. That's a character I made up. The actual truth is that Ole Gummy, as we lovingly call her, hasn't driven that tractor since the night she got that welding job. And she's real bright too, follows those directions real well; I remember I walked into the kitchen one day and found her just sitting there staring at a can of frozen orange juice. "Momma," I said, "what are you doing?"

"Well, Baby," she said, "it says right here on the can 'concentrate.' So I am."

Some of the material I use has been distilled from other books that I've read. Read? Did that boy say, read? I read a lot. When I get interested in a subject I become a voracious reader. At my ranch my bookshelves are filled and I've read pretty much every one of those books. I love world history, I'm fascinated by World War II. I've read all of Churchill's books and much of what has been written about Hitler and Stalin. I also read inspirational books and some self-help books. I've read a considerable amount of psychology. I love those basic psychology books, books that make a complicated subject relatively easy to understand, even for me. You know: Run, Jane run. See Jane run -- right to the pharmacy for her Prozac.

The books give me a direction; I get a lot of reassurance from them: When I'm done reading them I'm confident that I don't know just as much as these people don't know. As you'll learn, I never, ever quote anyone. I learned that from Mark Twain, I believe, who said, "A man who relies on quoting others is weak of mind!" Or maybe it was Tommy Smothers. The real problem with quotes is that you have to remember them. And sometimes it's difficult to work the few quotes I do know by heart into a speech. For example, growing up I loved The Three Stooges. People don't take them very seriously in the United States, but in France, Les Trois Stooges, as they're known, are considered avant-garde comedic geniuses whose work explored the deeper meaning of banging people over the head with rolling pins. I saw every movie they ever made and I definitely could quote them in my speeches, but I haven't been able to figure out how to work "Nyuck, nyuck" into a speech. I can't even figure out how to get it into this book.

I also try to provide for people just a little more information than they originally had. I want you to close this book today knowing more than you did when you opened it. That's important to me. So I'll tell you some of the things I've learned from experience, things I know about from my own life that can be applied to your life. The best way to buy a watermelon, for example. Now men don't know a blessed thing about buying a watermelon. You see men in the supermarket trying to figure out if a watermelon is ripe and what are they doing? They're thumping on it. Am I right? Don't answer, I know I'm right. Men just thump, thump, thump, just like little Peter Cottontails, thump, thump, thump. And they never, ever buy the first watermelon they thump. Do you know why? Because they know they are not supposed to, that's why. These are educated watermelon thumpers. They never buy the first one they thump because they know somebody is watching them. And probably trying to steal their thumping technique and get the best watermelon. So they have to thump two or three. By that time the other man is thumping his own melons. There is no actual reason to buy the fourth one, but generally that's what men do. Men don't even know what they're listening for, but modern watermelon thumping brings us back to our ancestors who had to grow their own watermelons. When people thump now they listen for a deep sound. A thummmmmmmmp. That deep sound means there is water in that watermelon and that water is curing the sugar in it. That's going to taste sweet. The key to good thumping is that as soon as you hear a deep, resonant thump, buy that watermelon.

You now know more than you did just three paragraphs ago. I try to educate my audience. One of the things I definitely try to teach is the importance of being able to laugh at yourself. I have found that if people don't like to laugh at themselves there is generally someone nearby willing to do it for them. Is there anything as humorous as someone who takes himself too seriously? Like those people who use cell phones in public and speak loudly enough for everyone around them to hear their entire secret conversation. Love those people: Sell ten thousand shares, pick up the Rolls, make the reservations to Paris. Gotta go now, I'm using up all my free minutes.

Those are the kind of people who need to show their importance. To me, they are just insecure. Sometimes you see them walking down the street looking like they are talking to themselves until you see that they're wearing a headphone. That never impresses me. I grew up watching my momma walking down the street talking away just like them -- and that was years before the cell phone was invented.

Truly, I don't understand these people. Never have, never will. Do they really believe that they are so important they can't be away from a phone for a few minutes? What do they think is going to happen: "Oh no! I was away from the phone for three minutes and my wife ran away with the plumber, sold the house, and moved to Des Moines." These are the same people who immediately buy a new phone as soon as a smaller system comes out. For some reason the smaller things get, the more expensive they become. So these people have got to have the smallest cell phone possible just to show other people that they can afford to pay more for less. I had a cell phone once, it was one of the "smart phones." I took it out back and killed it with a shotgun. Didn't seem so smart to me, never said a single word.

Not only do they have cell phones, now they carry Palm Pilots with them. You have to go to class at night, which keeps you away from your family, to learn how to use that Palm Pilot. You have to learn how to take a little stick and punch it to bring up information. Give me a stick and I'll beat the information out of it.

We do need to laugh at ourselves because we are not perfect. Of course for me it's a little easier than for most people; admittedly I've got a lot to work with. When I was young I didn't enjoy it when other people made fun of me, so I decided I would beat them to it. It took me some time to get comfortable making fun of myself, but now I find I'm driving the bandwagon. Maybe a lot of people jump on, but it's always going in the direction of my choice.

The other thing I try not to do is use the same old clichés. I'm not someone who closes the barn door after the chickens have come home to roost. I don't need to tell people things they already know, just so they think I'm smart enough to agree with them. I don't need to tell people things that are obvious: Don't make bad investments. Don't pay any attention to astrologers unless they predict good things. Don't get married and divorced three times. What I do try to do is discuss things that relate directly to real life. My friends, real life can be tough. I mean, tough! It can be real difficult. There are people who look real serious and advise you that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That may sound clever but it is just wrong; when was the last time that anybody gave you a lemon? Oh, thank you for this beautiful lemon; it was just what I was hoping to get for my birthday. A much more accurate philosophy -- at least applicable to my life -- would be: When people throw lemons at you, you just be darn grateful they're not grapefruits!

I want for you the same things you want for me! Or, the same things I hope you want for me -- there are probably some Dallas Cowboy fans reading this who are still angry. I want you to be filled with joy inside. I want you happy. I want you to walk around with your head up high. Don't be ashamed of how God made you -- you are special. Special! Trust me, you are special. I want you to be so elated by who you are that you just hold your head up high. I want you to find the passion in your life and the freedom to pursue it. I want you to identify those things in your life that are making you unhappy and do something about them. Get rid of them. Annihilate them. Don't just read a book, do something about them.

If you can do all those things, then we are definitely on the same page. This one.

Copyright © 2002 by Terry Bradshaw

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2003

    What a way to Keep It Simple

    This book was written in such a way that you are actually sitting one on one with Terry has he's telling his story. This book is very true to real life. One minute you are laughing out loud then within one sentence you are reliving the situation in your own life and tears come streaming down! What a wonderful feel good book!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2003

    Good lesson about life

    Not because I'm a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, but because terry really shows us all a good lesson or two to learn about life in this book. Terry's look into his own problems in his life and how to deal with them was entertaining, and humerous.. I think we can all take a good lesson from this book, to enjoy life, be nice to people and to keep it simple..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2002

    Great Book I really enjoyed reading it

    I wouldn't read a book about sports or any thing with sports, but my husband told me to get this book for him and I started to read it. WOW I really enjoyed reading it i couldn't put it down my husband hasn't read it yet I didn't let him have it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002

    AS THE TITLE SAYS- KEEP IT SIMPLE AS IN THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH ABOUT THE PERILS OF LIFE

    GREAT BOOK- VERY HONEST AND DOWN TO EARTH IN A WAY AS MR. BRADSHAW COULD.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ANY SPORTS FANS OR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A BOOK ON REAL LIFE WITH SOME GREAT HUMOR AND GREAT MEMORIES.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews

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