Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Optimism – GIYC part 3

The third quality you need to have GIYC (grit in your craw), is optimism. Without it, you give up more easily, are difficult to be around, and miss out on all that life has to offer.


This is the third quality of the eight required to digest the tough stuff life throws at us. The qualities that give us grit and determination in life (as described by Robert Luckadoo*) are: diligence, tenacity, optimism, flexibility, discipline, resilience, confidence, and purpose. This week we look at optimism.

The Story of Coach V

Robert Luckadoo tells the story of an experience he had as a freshman at North Carolina State University of being asked to help manage the basketball team. The team, the previous year, had upset the Houston Cougars to win the NCAA tournament moving Coach Jim Valvano (Coach V) and the team into basketball’s hall of immortality by their fans.

As Robert got to meet and rub shoulders with this incredible coach and leader, he witnessed a contagious optimism. It shone through his whole life and even while he battled and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer which took his life at the young age of 47.

Shortly before he died, Jim Valvano at the 1993 ESPY Awards which continues to inspire the kind of attitude that we truly admire in others. Coach V said these words, “I urge all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter, and some thought to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm.’ To keep your dreams alive in spite of problems, whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.”

Three things to do every single day

There are three attitudes and habits Coach V shares in his speech that inspire. They are:

1. Laugh (laughter releases anger, fear, guilt, anxiety and tension)

2. Think (being thoughtful raises awareness and brings objectivity to your decisions)

3. Feel (be emotional – cry tears of joy or sorrow – be passionate)

Final thoughts on optimism

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. — Dr. Seuss

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston S. Churchill

There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for. ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

What gets in the way of your optimism?
What of the three things to do every day can you grow and how?

*Grit in Your Craw: the 8 Strengths You Need to Succeed in Business and Life, by Robert Luckadoo
Image source: Free image courtesy of

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

Leave a Reply