How We Can Live A Great Life

Epic Advice From An Amazing Gentleman

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

We should do three things every day of our life.

Number one is laugh, you should laugh every day. Number two is think, we should spend some time in thought. And number three is you should have your emotions move you to tears.

These are not my rules.

Jim Valvano gave them to us in this epic speech he made twenty-five years ago and his wisdom withstood the test of time.

Maybe you don’t know who Jim Valvano is, I sure didn’t until this morning, but that doesn’t matter.

The man knew how to give a speech, that’s for sure.

I wish I could talk like him.

That’s my goal now.


Wasting Time On Empty Talk

I thought about the speech all day.

What made it so memorable?

One thing seems obvious straight from the bat.

This man is fighting cancer and knows Death is stretching its vicious claws in his direction.

Being in the presence of a person for whom death is near and real is one of the most existential experiences you’ll ever have.

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I witnessed that first-hand last year, when my uncle was battling leukaemia.

A person staring Death in the cold, dark eyes doesn’t waste their time on niceties or empty talk.

Time is too valuable to them.

Every word, silence or gesture means something.

That’s one reason this speech is so powerful.


Magicians Mastering Time

Another reason is the sheer skill involved.

Jim Valvano was an excellent basketball coach and spent countless of hours talking to his players in the locker room.

And it truly shows, he grips his audience and never lets them glaze over, not even for a second.

That’s the power of sheer skill in the hands of a professional.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

I noticed that skill in a lot of other professional speakers as well, they make you forget that time exists.

They’re magicians bending time and making it all about the moment.

In this speech, Jim does it by using humour, structure and repetition.

That speech, my friends, is the result of a lifetime of crafting a skill.

But it’s not all skill though.


The Real Deal

You can have the skills.

Sure.

And you can even have Death on your doorstep to make your message even more precious and heartfelt.

It doesn’t mean that we, the audience, should have to buy what you’re selling.

However, we totally do in this case.

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Why?

Because we believe Jim Valvano, we believe that he’s a good person with love in his heart.

And we believe that he does those three things himself too.

He’s the real deal.

You can’t fake that level of authenticity.

That speech made me realize how phony our world has become. We desperately need that level of honesty back in our dialogues.

Let’s bring it back.


One day I’ll be able to talk like Jim.

That day I’m going to have the skills, message and authenticity to pull it off.

I definitely strive towards helping people that way.

In fact, I would even add one fourth thing to the list:

Count your blessings.

Jim Valvano stayed grateful with the shadow of Death cast upon him.

If he could do that then, we have to do it all the time.


Listen to the audio version: