Living the life of Jerry (cont.)
3. Stop wasting your time with sleep
During our talk Jones told me he'd been averaging two hours' sleep during the week leading up to the opener. He'd go to bed at midnight, then wake up at 2 a.m. and feverishly work out for an hour and a half -- "lots of push-ups, sit-ups and cardio" -- before returning to the stadium to oversee preparations. Yes, his eyelids looked a bit heavy and his voice was a tad raspy, but otherwise he was bursting with energy. "I've found that I can operate on very little sleep for long periods of time," he told me. "Even better than when I was in my 20s."
The lesson? Stop being such a baby. Set the alarm for 2 a.m. Then go straight to your gym, which will probably be closed, and demand you be let in. Then show up at your office, which will probably be locked, and get a start on the day. After a week of this, you'll feel great, look great and be ready to take on the world. Then make sure to tell everyone just how little sleep you get, so they know just how serious you are about success.
4. Go against the crowd
Zigging when others zag is how Jones made all that oil money, and it's how he bought the Cowboys. People forget that when he purchased the team, in 1989, not only were the Cowboys a mess, but one of the stipulations of the sale was that he also had to buy Texas Stadium, at the time seen as a financial handcuff. And just look at his football decisions. He signed Pacman Jones when everyone said he shouldn't, and the same goes Terrell Owens. Okay, those didn't work out so well, but you get the idea: Be a contrarian!
5. Go Big!
This one's self-explanatory, provided you've ever seen a Jerry Jones home game or press conference or followed any aspect of his career (this is a man, after all, who tried to buy an NFL team when he was 24 years old, entirely on credit). One example from Sunday: Just before kickoff, Jones' prized Gargantu-tron showed a series of captioned photos that began with the Pyramids before showing the Parthenon, the Great Wall, Taj Mahal, Roman Coliseum and, finally, inevitably, Cowboys Stadium. You may call that self-congratulatory and tacky. I call it genius.
So look for ways to Go Bigger! every day. Have your own jersey made for pickup basketball games with "Cash Money" on the back. Add a tagline to your e-mail espousing your credentials; for example, "Eddie Jamison is a lawyer at Jacobs, Marley & Jensen. He is also way better looking than you." Remember, superlatives are your friend, and self-aggrandizement is your default position.
6. Be magnanimous
As I walked out of the stadium with Jones around noon, a group of Cowboys fans who were there for a tour -- at $15 a pop! (further proof he's a financial genius) -- saw him and did a double-take. He inquired about their experience. They said the tour had been sold out, so they weren't able to go. "I'm really sorry about that," Jones said, seeming genuinely concerned, then added brightly: "How about we take a picture together then?" At this, the fans lit up and scooted into position and snap went the camera. Everyone walked away happy.
The lesson? Rather than telling the fans the truth -- that it was their fault they were late and missed the tour -- or asking why in the world they wanted to spend a cumulative $60 to tour an empty stadium, Jones was empathetic and offered a (free) alternative.
So here's an example of how it would work in your life. Say you're from Pittsburgh and you run into a Cowboys fan who looks glum. You ask him why and he says, "Because my team hasn't won a playoff game in 13 years." At this point, instead of telling him the truth -- that his team has brought in mismatched parts, has overpaid prima donnas and has underperformed in crunch time -- you could offer to let him take a picture with your Steelers championship banner. That should cheer him right up!
So there you have it: Six steps to a better life, courtesy of Jerry Jones. Go ahead and get to it -- you can thank Jerry later. Seriously, he'll be waiting to hear from you. Don't let him down.
Chris Ballard is a Senior Writer for SI and SI.com. His "On Sports" column appears every Thursday on SI.com and he writes the "Point After" column for the magazine every third week. His latest book, The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA, will be in bookstores on Nov. 3.