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If you’ve never heard of the word ‘gusto,’ it means doing something with zest or a spark. That’s the way most of us want to live our lives.

But most people don’t live with gusto. They’re stuck in their comfort zones, which prevent them from taking on the challenges they need to grow.

Having gusto is about pushing out of comfort zones to live life to the max. If you can’t step out of your comfort zone, then you can’t grow into something greater.

In this episode, you’ll discover how to find enjoyment in your days and give life meaning with a little gusto.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How to use a 1960s beer commercial to uplift your spirit and define life on your terms with the. (0:35)
  • The ‘George H. W. Bush’ way to add more zest to your life (no matter your age). (4:50)
  • Why stepping out of your comfort zone makes you enjoy life more. (7:16)
  • How to be so full of life that people say you’ve “died young”- even if you’re 80 years old. (9:22)

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. Thank you so much for tuning in today. I want to talk to you about living life to the max, living life with gusto.

Now, admittedly, I have to be honest with you, the very first time I could recall hearing that word, I was about 10 years old. I remember growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and I wanted to be like my dad. My dad was my idol. He was my hero, and my dad loved listening to San Francisco Giants Baseball on the radio, and so I would listen to San Francisco Giants Baseball on the radio, just to be with my father. [01:03.3]

I can hear the announcer's voices ringing in my head with a piercing familiarity. “San Francisco Giants Baseball is on the air. Hello, friends. Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons welcoming you to today's game between the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. Friends, today's game is brought to you by Hamm's Beer from the land of sky-blue waters. Hamm's Beer, refreshing. And by Schlitz Beer.”

Uh-oh, here comes the word “gusto.” It was in a Schlitz beer commercial titled, “Go for the gusto”, and if you are a certain age, like born after 1965, you will likely remember this commercial. It went something like this. Let me get my best broadcast voice, my best radio voice ready for you. “You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can. Even in the beer you drink, why settle for less?” and then the famous tagline. “When you're out of Schlitz, you're out of beer. Schlitz, the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” [02:18.4]

I think at some point in elementary school, I looked up the word “gusto.” I love the way that word sounds. That word, not surprisingly, means enjoyment. It means vigor. It means doing something with zest. Now, we all know people who live with gusto, don't we? We know that person who runs with the bulls in Pamplona and then actually comes back and shows us the pictures of their survival. We know people who climb Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest. We know folks who scuba dive and they experience a whole new world underwater. [03:03.2]

We know people who are simply moved to tears by something they see in nature or by a beautiful piece of music. I know many people who love off-roading or four-wheeling, or dirt biking. I know people who have learned a new language at 60. They’ve learned ballroom dance at 70. They teach a yoga class at 80, even jump out of an airplane at 90.
These folks are just going for it. They're living life with enjoyment. They're living life with vigor. They're living life with zest. They're living life with gusto. Every single day is an adventure. They're willing to push beyond their comfort zone. They're not afraid to do things that scare them, no pun intended there. I think we admire these people. I think many of us wish we had more gusto in our lives and it is certainly possible for that to happen. [04:09.0]

This is the point that I really want to make—you define gusto in your own terms for your own life. It may not be jumping out of an airplane or climbing to the top of a dormant volcano. It might be taking a class. It might be learning how to garden. It might be discovering the beauty in birdwatching. But commit, friend, to doing something that adds zest to your life, that adds a spark to your existence, that produces gusto in your spirit. Oh, baby, I'm fired up.
My wife suggested I do this podcast after we watched Jenna Bush Hager parachute out of an airplane. Jenna, as many of you know, is an anchor on NBC's Today Show. She's also the granddaughter of the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. [05:11.1]

Back to Jenna jumping out of an airplane. She traveled nearly two miles up in the air—that's about 10,000 feet—to parachute with the exact same team that her grandfather would parachute with, the United States Army’s Golden Knights. The landing target, the new National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir, Va.
Now, the museum originally opened in March 2020, but had to immediately shut down due to COVID. It reopened in 2021, and it is beautiful. It's state-of-the-art. In fact, officials say that it was really important to capture all the stories and historical moments of the men and women who served our country, noting that the Army's history is America's history. [06:01.4]

Back to George Herbert Walker Bush. Many of you know his story. It's well-documented. Early in life, when the former president was 18 years old, he became one of the Navy's youngest pilots. During World War II, his plane was shot down. He lost some crew members. He never forgot that. It forced President Bush, then just George Bush pilot, to parachute into the Pacific Ocean. He was rescued by an American submarine.
President Bush should parachute out of a plane on milestone birthdays to honor those men who lost their lives. He did this on his 75th, 80th, and 85th birthdays, and despite protests from his wife, Barbara, he left his wheelchair and jumped on his 90th birthday. To honor what would have been the president's 97th birthday, Jenna honored her Gampy, as he is affectionately known to all the grandchildren, by parachuting, with the same team that he jumped with out of an airplane that bears the former president's name. [07:11.1]

Now, many of us who are connected to Texas A&M University in College Station, Tex., we've witnessed firsthand the president jumping out of these airplanes because that's where his presidential library was, which served as his landing spot for several of those jumps. In this emotional reenactment carried live on the Today Show, Jenna, terrified and scared, mustered the courage to do what many people simply will not do. What was fascinating to me is that, after the landing, after all the curse words that were circling in her head, she said she’d do it over again a thousand times. Why? Because she said, when she was floating in the air, she never felt closer to her grandfather. [08:04.7]

I'm telling you it was emotional, friends. The anchors on the set were moved. Some were crying. I had tears in my eyes. So did my wife. It was just emotional to watch this granddaughter pay tribute to her grandfather by doing something that pushed her out of her comfort zone.

Years ago, I heard President Bush make this statement. “Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around, drooling in the corner. Get out and do something. Get out and enjoy your life.” You know what he was saying? Go for the gusto. Live life with excitement. Live life with zest. His love of life inspired Jenna to live hers to the max. His love of life communicated to his children and grandchildren, go for it. Not even the sky is the limit. She said, “I was so inspired by my 90-year-old grandfather jumping out of an airplane at 90, I said to myself, if he can do it, I can do it.” [09:15.5]

There are lots of great stories about the gusto of former president Bush. One was shared by his son, George W. Bush, President Bush, as President Bush eulogized his dad. He said, “I once heard it said that the idea is to die young as late as possible.” I like that line. Then the younger Bush went on to say, “At age 85, one of my dad's greatest pastimes was firing up his boat, the Fidelity, opening up those 300-horsepower engines to fly, and then joyfully flying across the Atlantic Ocean with the Secret Service boats straining to keep up.” What a picture. [10:04.0]

George Herbert Walker Bush may mean many things to many people, but I think we can all agree the man lived with gusto to the very end of his life. Here's the question. Could your life use a boost today? Could your life use a bit more gusto?
Remember, gusto is not reserved for the privileged. In fact, it costs absolutely nothing. It's an attitude. It's a state of mind. It's something that you can apply to any activity in your life. Remember the definition, enjoyment, vigor in doing something, zest.
So, let's make this day count, friends. Don't just do something today. Do it with vigor. Do it with enjoyment. Get all the gusto you can out of this day. Oh, baby, what a great challenge. I hope it's a challenge that lifts your spirits and pushes you out of your comfort zone. [11:14.4]

Friends, that’s going to do it for this episode. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask, how you livin’?

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 audiobook right now.

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