C.W. Metcalf: When the Going Gets Tough

C.W. Metcalf was a highly respected teacher, performer, and author on the use of humor in stress management. In the mid-1970s, C.W. balanced his time between teaching at three universities and performing in his own touring theater group. He left teaching to pursue a writing and performance career, earning an Emmy for his work in children’s television and writing the bestselling book, Lighten Up: Survival Skills for People Under Pressure.

While in Los Angeles, C.W. visited the Center for Attitudinal Healing to prepare a script on their revolutionary treatment of terminally ill children. His seminar work for hospice groups grew from what he learned while working with those children and, in 1983, led to the formation of a global consulting company that presented seminars to strengthen people’s capacity for resilience and adaptation. C.W. traveled the world, teaching the value of humor to help people cope with challenge and change in their lives.

C.W.’s message was based on his research with crisis and trauma survivors who remained healthy, resilient, and creative through times of uncertainty. Eventually, his own life-and-death battles inspired him the most. In 1996 and 2002, C.W. proved that he practiced what he preached as he overcame a less than 2 percent chance of recovery from two brain cancer surgeries. Those experiences revitalized his commitment to showing others how to develop the abilities that helped save and restore meaning to his own life.

With a survivor’s joy in being alive, C.W. joined Winn Claybaugh for a 2004 MASTERS interview, “When the Going Gets Tough.” where he offered practical tools for developing skills that strengthen resolve, purpose, and control. Sadly, C.W. lost his battle with adult leukemia in 2007. His message of remaining creative, healthy, and productive through times of uncertainty is a wonderful legacy for all of us.