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Everyone faces challenges at some point in their life. You may have faced more than others, but what truly matters is how you respond to those challenges. Your legacy is determined by how many times you get back up after you’ve been knocked down.

No one remembers the quitters.

In this episode, Dr. Rick discusses what you can learn from the failures of several well-known individuals, why opposition in your life is a good thing, and a trait you must have to become more resilient in the face of adversity.

Show Highlights Include:

  • JK Rowling’s profound lesson on being resilient (3:05)
  • Why you shouldn’t fear opposition in your life (7:10)
  • Without this, you will never be resilient and life will crush you (8:31)
  • Here’s how you can build resilience when you feel like you can’t go on anymore (10:30)
  • How you do this determines whether challenges will cause you to grow, or defeat you (12:05)

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 You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Welcome to this week's podcast. I'm so glad that you could tune in. I want to talk to you today about a quality in life that you have to have to be successful. You have to have this quality to overcome that. That quality is resilience.

I can't think of one person who has accomplished anything in life without facing insurmountable odds and then growing in the area of resistance to combat those odds. You know it's true. The struggle is the classroom for growth. It produces growth. “Enthusiasm is common,” Angela Duckworth said, but “endurance is rare.” I like that. [01:10.4]

Muhammad Ali, the great heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali said on one occasion, I hate training, hate every minute of training, but then I said, ‘Don't quit because if I can suffer now, I'll be a champion for the rest of my life.’ Ah-ha, I like that resilient perspective.

You know what? We admire people who are resilient. We love come-back stories. I want to share during this episode a few of my favorite stories and I want to do this in the hope that you will be inspired to grow your resilience, because I know that many of us are facing challenges, facing insurmountable odds, facing difficult situations, dealing with pressures and dealing with problems. It's called life. And so, let us use the struggle of the hour to grow our resilience. [02:09.6]

Just a couple of my favorite stories. Let me start with probably one that's at the very top of the list. It's about a divorced woman. She was divorced, but the marriage resulted in a child, so she's a single parent on government assistance, trying to write a novel and get it published. This woman is turned down by 13 publishers, but the 13th publisher had a daughter that somehow read the manuscript and went to her dad and said, Dad, this is good. You've got to publish this particular novel.

And, of course, that woman is J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, but just think about all that she went through. He could have quit at any moment. Most people would have given up after the first publisher rejected them, but she went through 13 rejections and kept going. Come on, somebody. [03:05.6]

How about Mother Teresa? Against insurmountable odds, against the worst living conditions that you can imagine, she dedicates her life to fulfill her calling to serve people, to help people, even in failing health. Resilience was always in her heart, and she worked to help encourage, serve and love to the very end of her life.

How about a man that opens up a grill in 1946 with his brother? And two years later, this man gets married. His wife's name is Jeannette. And so, this man, his wife, Jeannette, and his brother, Ben, they start running this grill that gets to be pretty successful.

Then, suddenly, the brother, Ben, is killed in an airplane crash. The husband and wife continue going. They start a second restaurant. That second restaurant burns down. [04:01.4]

In the process of rebuilding the second restaurant, the man finds out that he has some polyps, some serious health issues. His wife encourages him, Don't stop. Keep going. We can do it. I mean, you talk about a heart filled with resilience.

Who is this man? He developed a simple chicken sandwich. His name is Truett Cathy. And as a result of that chicken sandwich, when Truett Cathy died, Chick-fil-A was worth billions. Now, you might say it's worth billions because of a chicken sandwich, but I would say it's worth billions because of the resilience of a man and a woman.

Here's one of my favorite stories. One of my favorite stories is about a guy named Chris Gardner. It is a true life story brought to the big screen by Will Smith in the movie The Pursuit of Happiness.

Let me just summarize briefly. This movie features Chris Gardner who also went through a failed marriage, has a child that he won in a custody battle. [05:08.8]

This man is trying his best in the San Francisco Bay Area to sell outdated, antiquated medical equipment, much to no avail. And so, he is so broke, he can't pay his rent, gets evicted. He and his son end up sleeping everywhere and anywhere they can, including a public bathroom in San Francisco. They go in and out of shelters.

One day, Chris Gardner discovers that there's an internship available at a prestigious brokerage in San Francisco, I believe Dean Witter. He applies for the internship, gets the internship. At the apex of the internship, there's an opportunity to take a brokerage exam to get your license and a couple of the best students will possibly get offered jobs as brokers. Chris has nothing to lose. He has no place to go but up. [06:04.8]

Against insurmountable odds, Chris Gardner passes the brokerage exam and gets his brokerage job. He becomes from a bum to a broker. The favorite scene in that movie, my favorite scene, makes me cry every single time, it is when Chris Gardner goes in to meet the partners on the last day of the internship, tells them, You know, I wore a nice shirt today, this being the last day and all, and the head of the brokerage firms says, Well, why don't you wear a nice shirt tomorrow, too? Because tomorrow will be the first day of your life as a broker.

And I want to tell you that man didn't take one second of his struggle for granted. As a matter of fact, Chris Gardner has said all over the world in interviews, it was the struggle. It was the struggle. It was the struggle that motivated, that challenged, that demanded his best to come out. [07:04.5]

Friend, you can't be resilient unless you're facing some kind of opposition. Resilience doesn't just grow during peaceful times. You've got to want it bad. It has to summon the courage that is inside of you to come out and to act boldly.

I got a phone call this week from a friend who was just diagnosed with a life threatening disease, early prostate cancer, and when we talked, I thought I was going to encourage him. He ended up encouraging me. He said, “Rick, I'm going to beat this. I'm going to beat this, and not only am I going to beat it, but soon as my last treatment and as soon as my last treatment is over, I'm buying a travel trailer.” He said, “My family doesn't even know this yet. I'm going to buy a travel trailer, and I'm going to go camp and hike in the mountains of Utah and Colorado, because life is good and I want to enjoy life.” Oh baby. [08:04.2]

Let me tell you something. You know what resilience says? Resilience says, Come on, Disease. I'm going to knock you down and I'm going to keep on living. I'm going to find the inner strength, the faith and the courage to keep on keeping on.

I like that. You see, there's a common thread in resilience and I know you see it. Resilience requires courage, the courage to do something that scares you. You know what? One of my heroes is Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. He was a flying ace during World War I, and he said on one occasion, “Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.” That's a great perspective.

You see, courage develops in dire situations. I have a friend that's a rescue swimmer and his job is to jump from the helicopter into the seas, into the ocean, and save people in distress. And I asked him on one occasion, “When you're standing on the edge of that helicopter, aren't you scared?” He says, “I'm very much afraid, but I know that if I don't jump in, those people don't have a chance of making it.” [09:16.8]

You see, it takes a dire situation to pull the best out of us. It takes difficult situations and struggle, so that we can grow our resilience. There is a book titled Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson. I love the subtitle. The subtitle says, if your dream doesn't scare you, your dream is too small.

What are you saying to us, Rick? This is what I'm saying. You know what resilience looks like? Resilience is fighting and clawing, and dreaming even bigger, against insurmountable odds. Resilience is saying, I'm not going to quit even if it means getting out of my comfort zone, even if it means doing something that I'm not familiar with, even if it means hoping against all odds, I am going to keep standing no matter what. Even if it scares me, I'm going to keep going. I'm going to continue to live. Whenever I feel like giving up, I'm going to say to myself, I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. [10:26.7]

I love that, y'all. I'm just going to keep on keeping on, as the old folks used to say. My daddy, a third-grade dropout, wisest man I’ve ever met in my life, at the casket of my first wife said three words that speak to the heart of resilience, “Son, just stand.” Don't quit. Keep clawing. Keep scratching. Keep fighting. Keep going. Keep walking. Keep breathing. That's the essence of resilience, friends.

And you know what it means? It means finding the courage to keep going. It means finding the strength to keep going. It means finding the faith to keep going. It means finding the motivation to keep going. Those are all choices that we can make in the midst of difficult circumstances. [11:18.7]

You know what resilience looks like? Resilience looks like this. You get a life-threatening diagnosis and you attack it head on with such a confidence of overcoming that you say, Let me go buy a travel trailer and head to the mountains. Friend, if that is not the face of resilience, I don't know what is.

And I think therein is the challenge for me, perhaps the challenge for you, that it's not about the situation. It's how we choose to respond to the situation that really determines our growth. My hope for myself, my hope for all of us, is that we would respond to difficult situations, not by cowering down, not by giving up, not by quitting, but by standing, by fighting, by scrapping. [12:17.7]

And you know what that looks like some days? It looks just like a friend of mine who just lost his wife and has two little kids. You know what resilience looks like in its most simple form? Getting up, brushing your teeth, putting one foot in front of the other and breathing. Friend, I'm going to tell you, that's an epic day for my friend who's a new widower. That's an epic day for a man who, all of a sudden, has to be a mom and a dad to a five-year-old and a newborn.

You see, it doesn't mean necessarily standing in a ring or facing a lion, or jumping out of a helicopter. Today, for you, for me, resilience might mean I am going to make it through this day. Moment by moment, minute by minute and hour by hour, I'm going to change my thinking, change the way I look at things, change the words that come out of my mouth. I will persevere. I will keep standing. I will overcome. I will overcome. [13:23.3]

So, friends, metaphorically speaking, go buy a travel trailer. Let's hit the mountains together. Let's go for it. Let's go for it every day for the rest of our lives, and the end result will be a life well lived because we didn't quit; we didn't give up. We faced every difficulty and every hardship with the highest degree of resilience.

And as a result, our life took on a quality that just simply cannot be explained, a quality that says, There goes a champion. There goes a winner. There goes a courageous person. There goes a faithful person. There goes a person who refused to give up. [14:18.3]

Friend, I have so enjoyed this time together. I want to tell you, I feel encouraged. I really feel encouraged. I feel encouraged to call a few folks as soon as I get off the air and just encourage them to keep standing, keep clawing, to keep scrapping, to keep fighting.

I feel so encouraged that we don't have to just bow down to difficult situations, but we can rise up and face the challenge, and embrace life and enjoy life, even in the face of insurmountable odds. I want you to think about resilience for the next day or two and grow in your resilience in the midst of the battle, in the midst of the struggle. [15:04.8]

Our time is up. Thank you so much for joining me today and let's plan to be together again next week. Until then, this is Dr. Rick asking you the most important question I can ask you today, How you livin’? 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 bestselling 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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