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Are you dissatisfied with where you are in life? Do you ever look around and know deep within yourself that you could do more? That you could do better?

In today’s podcast episode, Dr. Rick will tell you exactly what’s holding you back and what steps to take today to start moving forward.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The counterintuitive way to stop struggling and live an epic life (1:47)
  • What it REALLY means to live an epic life (Hint: it’s not the B.S. that pop-culture is trying to sell you…) (3:39)
  • Tennis legend Arthur Ashe’s recipe for success (8:24)
  • The only thing you need to start living an epic life (11:57)
  • Why comfort keeps you locked in the prison of an average life, and what to do instead (14:30)
  • How to destroy the fear that is slowly killing you (16:18)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to How Y'all Livin', a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker, and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Dr. Rick, so excited to share with you today. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit with you. I have such a great topic that I want to share it with you. I want you to see that it can be your lifestyle. It can be the very thing that has the potential to take your life to a whole different level and I want you to listen to the very end because I've got a secret that I want to share with you that if you follow this will cause your life to go to the next level, starting today. [0:01:00.0]

Oh, thanks for spending just a few minutes with me. I want to talk today about living an epic life. Now, wait a minute - I know what you're thinking right now, "I'm not a hero. I'm not rich. I'm not famous. I don’t own a lot. I don’t even have business cards. How can I live an epic life?" Well, I want to tell you something. I want you to think differently about the word "epic." What if I were to tell you that a simple mailman who gets up every single day, no education but yet is early for his job and delivers mail flawlessly with a low failure rate in terms of incorrectly getting mail to certain addresses. What if I were to tell you that that person who executed his job to the best of his ability for 50 years lived an epic life? Well, I believe he did and you will too when you hear my rather un-informal definition. [0:02:01.6]

What if I were to tell you that I know a woman who successfully reared five children, all of them are very successful, then in her mid 50s, she decides to go back to work. She's a wonderful wife. She's an incredible grandmother and she also reared five children for 25-30 years before going back to work and has done what it takes to matriculate back into the workplace. I would say that is living an epic life. Friend, I want to tell you something. Just because people don’t know about you does not mean that you're not living an epic life. In the case of the mailman, in the case of my friend who dedicated her life to being a mom, just because they didn't make the front page of Time magazine, just because they weren’t on World News Tonight or on NPR doesn’t mean that they did not live an epic life. [0:03:02.0]

See, I think that we tend to think that epic means you got to be a hero, you have to save the day, that epic means you have to be famous, you have to have all kinds of material success. I think that we think that epic means that you do something that no one else in the world could possibly do or that gives you such fame and such notoriety. That's not epic. Epic is a standard of living that sets you above the norm. Oh, oh, baby! Epic is a standard of living that pushes you to go above average, way above average and I believe that it is inherent within every one of us to live that lifestyle. As a matter of fact, I believe that so strongly I want you to stay tuned for a simple secret that I have used in my life that I want you to use that will push you into that epic domain. Let me give you an example so I can put some hands and feet on this definition of epic. [0:04:02.1]

I want you to think in terms of something that endures for a long period of time, like that mom or like that mailman and something that is marked during that long period of time with a certain quality or qualities of excellence. So think about this now - in the back of your mind, you're thinking something that endures with quality over an extended period of time. That's a good starting point. With that thought firmly planted in the back of your mind, here's a visual for you that will put hands and feet on my un-informal definition of epic. Think for a moment about a person, a simple person who is born in the midst of Jim Crowism in the 1920s in the United States and teaches himself how to read, teaches himself how to write, doesn’t have much formal education at all but yet, figures out a way to exist and survive to the point that he holds a few jobs. [0:05:01.7]

He continues to develop himself, even plays semi pro baseball as a young man, goes to war and supports our country during World War II, learns some skills in the war, learns some basic skills, gets out of the war, gets his GI Bill, decides that he is going to take that money and invest in a house. He moves from one part of the United States to another part of the United States. He falls in love and he gets a job as a cook, takes his GI Bill and buys a house, marries his sweetheart, has a few children. You're thinking no big deal. This man begins his career as a cook at a school that trains merchant seaman. These are men and women who go into the tug boat business and the ocean liner business and this person, this gentleman, in his role as a cook at a maritime academy, sails the world 10 times over in a 30-year career. [0:06:03.9]

He learns portions of five foreign languages. He develops a kind of worldly wisdom that you cannot get from just simply sitting around. He forces himself to interact with people that are smarter than him - oh, there's a key. You want to really grow? Get people around you that are smarter than you. He challenges himself to listen more and to talk less. Oh, oh … there's another key right there. He would challenge himself every single day to learn something new. I had a lot of talks with this man and he probably, when he first started cooking, didn't know much more than how to boil water or how to make a sandwich and now, he is cooking along with other cooks for captains and navigators and chief engineers as the ship sails all over the world. When the ship returns back to Northern California, he is cooking for those students along with a team of other cooks, challenging himself to grow every single day, forcing himself to have people around him who are smarter than him, where he could learn, figuring out a way every day to get out of his comfort zone and learn something new. [0:07:19.1]

So here's a man who functioned in relative obscurity and yet today, he is being quoted on every continent throughout the world. Oh, oh baby! Rick, how could that be? Well, that man was my father, a simple third-grade dropout who did what Arthur Ashe once said. I remember Arthur Ashe, a great tennis player. A great tennis player in the 60s, 70s, 80s, tragically died when he went into a hospital in the 90s for a heart ailment and when he got a blood transfusion, that blood was tainted with AIDS and Arthur Ashe died way too young, but in his amazing career, he really took a stand for that which was right, and you have an opportunity to read anything about his life, it will really challenge you to live a better life. [0:08:11.9]

Arthur Ashe once said this, "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." I love that basic way to life. You know what that is? That's a recipe for living an epic life. You know what else that is? That makes living an epic life attainable to anyone. Listen again: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. If you are listening to me in a jail cell today, start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. If you're listening to me and you're confined to a hospital bed, listen to these words: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Let's say you're in a marriage that's going down, for a moment, consider this: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. [0:09:06.2]

Say your body is failing. Let's say you're hitting rock bottom. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. This third-grade dropout lived that. He lived it in such a profound way that I have called him the wisest man I've ever met in my life, yet he's a third-grade dropout. How many third-grade dropouts do you know quoting Michelangelo? "Ricky?" "Yes, daddy?" "Ricky, I'm not going to have a problem if you aim high and miss. I'm not going to have a problem if you aim high and miss, but I'm going to have a problem if you aim low and hit." He challenged me and my brother in such a way by first of all challenging himself. How did he challenge himself? He was cornered. He was cornered. Bishop Joseph Garlington, a dear friend of mine, says "Leaders are cornered." My father had no other choice. He had to make a living for his family. [0:10:01.4]

He had to put that GI Bill to use. He had to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. That meant he had to teach himself some things - how to read, how to write, how to listen, how to bring into his sphere of influence people that are smarter than him. He literally had to start where he was and he had to use what he had; he had to do what he could do. To this day, that simple man from Huntsville, Texas, who sailed the world all those years on a training ship for a maritime academy in Northern California, smartest man I ever met because of that simple formula. I have four degrees, friends. My baby brother in Washington, D.C., I'm so proud of him. He is a presidential appointed judge in D.C. He is a retired colonel, United States Army. My mother and father couldn’t afford to send Bobby to law school, so he joined the ROTC and went the military route. He has practiced law all over the world, parachuting into the Persian Gulf, to chasing mobsters in D.C. [0:11:05.2]

It is the result of a third-grade dropout daddy who lived an epic life. Four degrees. My brother has three. He's a judge. We weren’t the smartest ones in our family. That was reserved to a man who functioned in relative obscurity who lived a very epic life. You're going to tell me that an epic life is attainable? I will argue to my grave quite the opposite. Living an epic life has nothing to do with your social status. It has nothing to do with your education level. It has nothing to do with how famous you are or what other people think about you. You know what it has to do with? "Am I willing to start where I am and use what I have to get where I need to go?" And so friend, I want to tell you something. Here's evidence of an epic life, a life that makes an impact, a life that moves people. [0:12:10.0]

These days, I get letters from a lot of people from all over the world. The letters that touch me the most are letters from former cadets from California Maritime Academy saying, Dr. Rigsby, I just want to tell you about your dad. He was a classic example." "I want to tell you about your dad, Dr. Rigsby. I lived a long way away from where the Academy was and I didn't have enough money to buy food one weekend and I shared that with your dad. His nickname was Rigs. I shared that with Rigs and your dad said, 'Come by the galley.' That was the term and he also called it the mess hall. Today, it's called the dining facility. But come by the galley on Friday afternoon before I leave." So this gentleman in this letter told me he went by the galley and my father handed him a loaf of bread and some cold cuts. [0:13:03.8]

You know, when I get letters that share with me the impact that this man had, it just simply causes me to break down and cry. He lived his life in a very simple way. You know what his basics were? "Son, you tell the truth. I want you to think the best of people. I want you to do what you say you're going to do." And my father executed those basics in such a profound way that the impact he had on those cadets, the impact he had in our neighborhood, the impact he had was so profound that at his funeral, the people that spoke were everyone from his barber to the captain of the ship - all because this man challenged himself to start where he was, to use what he had, to literally do what he could do. To me, that's living an epic life. [0:14:00.3]

So no matter who you are, no matter what condition you may find yourself in, no matter your social status, no matter the numbers in your bank account, it is possible to live an epic life. Here's the secret. Are you ready? I believe that everyone who lives an epic life is forced to take a chance. They're forced to take a risk. If you're not forced to take a chance, you will live at the same level because it's comfortable, because it's safe. I was scared to death to do a podcast. Mm-hmm. Didn't want to do it. You know why I was scared? Because I had to learn. I had to grow. I had to be vulnerable. Over the weekend, I was watching one of my favorite programs to watch. It's on the NFL Network and it's called A Football Life and it profiled this man that most of y'all have probably never heard of named Aeneas Williams. [0:15:01.1]

I had the pleasure of meeting him at a Christian gathering. He was one of speakers where I was speaking. Aeneas was an all pro defensive player for two poor teams for 14 years, in two small markets - one was the Phoenix Cardinals, one was the St. Louis Rams. So he didn't get much notoriety, but the people, the players in the NFL knew him, loved him, respected him, so much so that Hall of Famer Charles Carter said, "If I get in trouble, if anything happens to me, I have it known in my personal papers that the first person they need to call is Aeneas Williams." NFL player after NFL player after NFL player talked about this guy. He functioned in a spotlight in relative obscurity and made such an impact, but he said he would have never made an impact had he not conquered his fear. [0:16:02.3]

Friend, I want to tell you, if fear is holding you back, keep this secret in mind: Challenge yourself to take a risk. It is the only way you'll be able to execute your fear. When I say "execute" I don’t mean performance, I mean kill it. The only way I have learned to kill my fear is to take a risk. Why? Because I have to depend on a greater power than myself. In my case as a man of faith, I have to depend on God, but whatever it takes, take a risk. Bet on yourself today. Take a chance. I love what Denzel Washington said on one occasion. Denzel said, "If you're going to fail, fail big." My father took a chance, moved from the comfort of Texas to the unknown of California with nothing but a GI Bill and he produced an epic life by telling the truth, thinking the best of people, doing what he said he was going to do. What are you saying, Rick? Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. The secret today: Take a risk. Bet on yourself. It's the first steps to living an epic life. [0:17:22.4]

Friends, I've loved being with you, every second of it. I hope this has helped somebody. This is Dr. Rick, just reminding you of the most important question I can ask you today: How Ya' Livin', and my hope, my prayer is that you will contemplate living an epic life. Until we meet again. I'll talk to you soon.

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his best-selling book, Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout, absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/freegift to get the print or audio book right now.

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