Category Archives: jim valvano

Laugh, Cry, and Think.

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In what is probably my favourite speech of all time, these words from Jim Valvano as he was fighting his battle with cancer, resonate with me daily:

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

In every “talk” that I do, this is my hope in what I create for the people I am serving. Laugh, cry, and think.  There are so many things that we talk about for today’s schools, but these are some of the “basics” that might not be acknowledged as much as they should.

What if this was a goal for schools each day? Laugh, cry, and think.

What if this was a focus in how we work with our colleagues? Laugh, cry, and think.

I know that it might seem simple, but think of those that have made the biggest difference in your life. The ones that I have connected with the most are people that I have always shared these moments with.

This quote resonates:

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” James Corner

And although I love the above quote, I like how it is framed from the movie, “Jerry Maguire”, just a little bit better:

Laugh, cry, and think.

A very simple concept that means more than the credit we give it.

Push and Support

Steve Jobs:

“If we want to move forward, see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us, that’s great … And if we screw up and don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault — it’s our fault … So the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned. This is about getting Apple healthy, and this is about Apple being able to make incredibly great contributions to the industry, to get healthy and prosper again.”

Ross Cooper sent me this quote and it really resonated.  I think competition in some ways (I talk a lot about competitive-collaboration here) is good because it pushes you, but I also know why educators need to work together.

This post could be applied not only at an organizational level, but as a personal level as well.  How often do we (myself included) get frustrated because someone else gets recognized for something that they have done?  This doesn’t mean that we are “less” and that someone is “more”. It is just that they got recognized.  I know that if I just focus on doing my best work, then good things are more likely to happen.  One of my favourite quotes is from Jim Valvano:

“Hard work does not guarantee success, but lack of hard work guarantees that there will be no success.”

When we both push and support each other as organizations and individuals, students are the ultimate winners, along with our schools.

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“Hard Work is No Guarantee of Success”

This is a post where I am trying to write to understand and process my thoughts.  I think it is important that we try to make the process of learning visible, not just what we have learned.

One of my favourite speakers of all time is Jim Valvano. His speech at the ESPY’s where his famous words of “don’t give up, don’t ever give up”, remain powerful so many years later. I love watching his other speeches as well, and in this one, he shares something his dad shared with him;

Hard work does not guarantee success, but lack of hard work guarantees that there will be no success.

I have noticed this theme in some articles that have passed through my feed as of late. James Harrison, a football player with the Pittsburgh Steelers known for his amazing work ethic, while also having one of the greatest touchdowns in Super Bowl history, shared how he took the trophies away from his children that they received for participating. He shared this on his Instagram below which has gone viral.

This is not about demeaning the effort of people “showing up”. In myself, I am trying to get back into better shape, but going to the gym is not enough. It is what I do with that time that matters, and how I eat. It is a struggle. Waking up early to go to the gym means something, but not if I slack off while I am there, and do not achieve results.

This is also understanding that winning isn’t everything as well, but how we develop as people under adversity.  As a coach for many years, I would try to communicate to my team that at the end of the year, only one team would ultimately be the “champion”, so if we deemed success as winning it all, we would most likely fail.  But if we looked at how we developed as people, how we would look at working together as a team, and how we were when we faced adversity, those were things that were really important.  How you are when you win and how you are when you lose, in my opinion, are both equally important.

In an article titled, “Iterate, Iterate, Iterate, Innovate”, they share a story of how WD-40 came to be, it shares the name that the “40” comes from the number of times it took to get the formula right.

The term WD-40 is derived from “Water Displacement, 40th formula”.  It was the 40th formula the chemists tried before finding success. The product is produced by the Rocket chemical company and is distributed in over 160 countries.

If the company stops at 39, this is not being shared, but since it kept going, here we are talking about it.

I have shared before that failure is nor the thing that we should be celebrating, but the grit and resiliency to move forward. But “showing up” is only part of the story. I believe that school should be enjoyable, but I also believe that it should be challenging. “Flow” is something that we should constantly strive for in our learning with ourselves and our students, but it takes hard work.

Whether it is “success” or “innovation” or both that we are striving for, the common element is the work ethic that it takes to get to that point up. It goes way beyond showing up, and is important that we help to instill that into ourselves as well as our students.