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. So glad that you could join us. I want to talk to you today about perspective.
Have you ever wondered why it is that young people and older people love to talk about their ages? Being around my grandchildren is so fun for so many reasons, but just listening to them talk about how they're eight and a half and they’ll be nine in just a couple of months, or “I'm almost 13” or “I'm almost 16,” or “I'll be 21.” And then we skip the latter part of the twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and then we get to those golden years, right? And you hear people bragging about the fact that they're in their sixties. “I'm 75.” “Don't I look good for 81?” [01:07.7]
And you know what? It's really funny, we don't talk about advancing in our thirties, forties and fifties, but, boy, we're sure excited about it early and we're excited about it in our latter years. You know what? It's all about perspective.
I happened to be 64. I'm in what they call the golden years of life. I guess that means I've replaced my fake ID with my AARP card. I no longer have my Stingray bike, but I do have my orthopedic shoes.
Our college kids happen to be home for a season. They literally stay up all night. All night, literally. My wife and I consider staying up all night pushing till 10 o'clock. It's all about perspective, friends. It is all about perspective.
You see, I came across an interesting definition of “perspective” that I want to share with you. Listen to this: the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width and depth. [02:15.7]
In other words, it's the way in which we choose to see something. It is the way in which we see something that chooses what we're going to do or how we're going to respond.
So, some people feel as though they're stuck based on how they are seeing something. Some people might feel like they're living somebody else's dream based on how they perceive something. Some folks might even be blaming others over what they perceive to be unwarranted, unmerited circumstances.
Here's the point I want you to think about. How we think determines how we see and how we see determines how we act. Boy, isn't that important? I mean, there are some quotes attributed to Frank Outlaw among others, but I see this quote attributed to Outlaw more than anyone else. Regardless of who came up with the quote, I think it's spot on and it goes like this: [03:12.7]
Watch your thoughts. Your thoughts determine your words.
Watch your words. Your words determine your actions.
Watch your actions. Your actions shape your habits.
Watch your habits. Your habits form your character.
Watch your character. Your character determines your destiny.
And it all begins with how we think and how we think really does help shape our perspective. I have found that perspective is often lost in times of great jubilation and also in times of horrific tragedy.
I'm thinking about being on the football coaching staff at Texas A&M, and a lot of times when our players would find their way into the end zone, they would jump up and down, and dance and we'd all get excited. And that excitement would be tempered from time to time when I would hear a coach say, “Come on, act like you've been there before.” Because the tendency is to lose perspective in a time of great jubilation, as is the case in a time of horrific tragedy. [04:18.1]
I remember being at the casket of my first wife and I remember looking at my father and saying, “Dad, I have lost hope. I've lost all hope,” and my father simply looked at me and said, “Son, you haven't lost hope. You've lost perspective.”
Now, I'm a man of faith and my perspective is shaped largely based on the Holy Scriptures, based on the word of God, and I have a scripture to share with you. And even if you don't believe in the Bible, the Bible has some real practical information that we can live by that can actually improve our lives. Listen to this scripture—set your mind on things that are above. [05:02.9]
Set your mind. Fix your mind. Determine your mind. Remember, remember, watch your thoughts. They determined the very next thing. They determined your words. Those words determine actions and habits, and character and destiny. Set your mind. Make up your mind. Decide in your mind how you're going to view even difficulty, right?
Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Philippians: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever offers a good report, let your mind dwell on these things. If there's any excellence in them, let your mind dwell on these things.
I want to ask you a question. What is your mind dwelling on today? The mind is powerful. The bind is going to dwell on something either positive or on something negative. [06:04.1]
We happen to be recording this podcast episode during the pandemic of 2020. We are several weeks into that pandemic and, early on, grocery supplies were rather tight, and so our local store, along with local stores everywhere, offered an opportunity for senior adults to come to the store on a specific day, an hour before the remainder of the general public had come. I've never been so excited in my life to be 64 years old.
So, I remember a couple of weeks ago I get to the store, I get hit on about four or five times and not the good way. I get run into by buggy after buggy after buggy from the sixties and seventies and eighties and 90-year-olds. But let me tell you, it was worth it, and here's why. During this time, during this one hour in the grocery store, I probably had about four or five conversations that really challenged having a perspective, a negativity. [07:10.5]
We're in the midst of a pandemic, right? In my lifetime, I've never seen it. That doesn't mean that it hasn't taken place in the past, but we're in the midst of a great crisis. But what am I hearing from these senior adults? I'm hearing things like this one lady shared with me. She said, “Honey”—I think she said baby. “Baby, my father was in World War II. My daddy was on an aircraft carrier that got bombed and sunk. Baby, he survived and we’ll survive, too.”
I want to tell you something, friend. In that grocery store on that particular day at that particular hour, there was no despair. There was no anxiety. There was no worry. I'm talking about a generation now that they've been through some things. This generation has been through [crises]. [08:02.1]
They've been through many of their parents who were involved in the Spanish flu, something that took the lives of an estimated 17 million to 100 million people back between 1918 and 1920. Many of these folks have experienced firsthand the great depression. Many of them have experienced war. They've been through Ebola, E. coli. They've been through a lot of different things, perhaps not to the severity of this pandemic, but enough to where they maintain the proper perspective.
I want to tell you something. Any time there is a crisis, that tendency is to over-exaggerate the crisis. Well, it's never been like this before. That may be true in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't happened. And so, literally what we have to do in a crisis situation is we have to maintain perspective. [09:00.4]
If you're a leader watching, and I consider all of us leaders, I like what John Maxwell said. Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. If you're influencing anybody in your environment, you're a leader. You're a leader, Mom. You're a leader, Dad.
And so, what leaders have to do in a time of crisis is to remember that we may be in the crowd, but we're not above the crowd, that people look to us to establish the proper perspective that we have to act with perspective. That's really, really important that we can't just be carried away by the emotion of the moment. We can't be carried away by every newscast or news commentary that we see. We have to constantly look for reality, keep it balanced, but offer a clear perspective.
The sky, for example, is not falling in right now, but aren't we in the middle of a pandemic? Yes. The sky's not falling in. I'm still breathing as of this very minute. Life is still going on. Extremely limited, but life is still going on. [10:05.4]
There is perspective that oftentimes in a crisis situation is lost, and when that perspective is lost, we tend to lose control, at least in our own minds, and that's what ushers in panic that we're experiencing during this particular time.
I just want to remind you, set your mind. Determine in your mind. D3cide in your mind that you're going to think beyond crisis, that you're going to think for a better day, hope for a better day, believe in a better day.
That doesn't mean that you forget about reality. Of course, not. I mean, we can't forget about reality. You have to be realistic. I take you back to that funeral home in 1996. The reality was staring at me in a casket. In a casket. I had to face reality, but also a new thought fixed my mind. A new thought transformed my mind. A new thought gave me the possibility to think about a better day. “Son, you haven't lost hope. What you've lost, Son, is perspective.” [11:19.2]
And so, it's really, really important, friends, that I think that we really make an effort to do whatever we can to always maintain the proper perspective. Whether in good times or whether in challenging times, it's critical to maintain the proper perspective. It took me 50 years—50 years. That's more than half my lifetime—to realize that beauty begins at rock bottom. Fifty years to realize that.
The title of this podcast is “How you living?” Let me tell you where that title comes from. Two days before my first wife, Trina, passed away from breast cancer, she looked me in the eye and she said these words: “It doesn't matter to me any longer how long I live. What matters to me most is how I live.” [12:15.5]
Friend, I want to tell you that his perspective in the worst possible situation. How about this? A week later at her funeral, my dad, wisest man I've ever met in my life, a third-grade dropout said these words: “Son, just stand.” In other words, everything inside of you wants to give up. Everything inside of you wants to quit. Just stand. “Son, you haven't lost hope. You're still living. It is the worst day of your life, but you're still breathing, so keep standing.”
And, friend, I want to tell you, no matter what it looks like, listen to me, no matter how you feel, no matter what you see, change your mind and it will change how you view your circumstances. [13:16.6]
I want to close. Our time is about up. I want to close with a little prayer that I usually share during a wedding ceremony. As a minister, I've been so fortunate to do a lot of weddings, but it has appeared in prayer a paradox that I think is particularly helpful in a time of trouble.
Listen to this. It comes from a book titled The Valley of Vision. A Collection of Puritan Prayers. I hope somebody is encouraged, uplifted by this. I hope somebody's perspective is changed by this. Listen to this.
“Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley”—that the valley. That the valley—“is the place of vision.” [14:27.1]
Let's change our perspective. I want to challenge myself regardless of what I feel, regardless of even what I see. Let me fix my mind so that it changes how I perceive what is around me. And I tell you, friend, when we practice doing that, it has the potential to enhance our lives. Think about that just for a few days if you would. Consider changing the way that you think that it would change the way that you see things.
Well, friends, our time is up. Can't wait to see you again next week. Until then, let me ask you the most important question that I can ask you today: How you living? [15:12.6]
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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