GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich revealed to CNN how his family has played a huge role in shaping his life.
His remarks came during a recent Red Chair interview - a CNN series that examines the lives of headliners to see what made them who they are today.
Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House, said he learned his cheerful optimism from his mother who told him "everyday can be filled with interesting things."
"I'm like a 4-year-old who gets up every morning knowing there is a cookie somewhere and I just have to find it," said Gingrich.
The GOP presidential candidate credited his stepfather for teaching him about discipline and determination.
Gingrich's passions include a love for nature, animals and education. He also collects items related to dinosaurs.
"Early on in life I thought I'd be a paleontologist or a zoo director," he said. "I've visited about 100 zoos in my life and enjoy them."
Regarding his career, Gingrich said if he were House speaker again, he'd "do it in a significantly different way."
Learn more about his family life, passions and lessons learned in his CNN Red Chair video interview. Look for conversations with other presidential candidates in upcoming weeks.