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Have you ever felt like you couldn’t bear to spend one more day doing a job that you hated? Had trouble getting motivated to do the things that you know you need to do?

In this episode, Dr. Rick is joined by Dwight Edwards and they discuss passion, one of the most important elements to living a happy and fulfilled life. Learn what passion really is and how to know when you’ve found yours.

Show Highlights Include:

  • The famous story of an epic life that was almost never told (4:26)
  • You (and your children) must read these books to implant greatness in your mind (7:49)
  • The single essential characteristic you need to go from good to great (8:10)
  • The “click of the shotgun” secret for determining your life’s passion (9:57)

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 everyone. So glad you could join us today. I’m Dr. Rick with a very special guest. It's my dear friend, Dwight Edwards, a former tennis pro, a former pastor, these days a motivational speaker in tremendous demand all over the world. He's a corporate coach. The guy is one of the greatest communicators that I've ever met in my life. And more personal to me, not only is he one of my dearest friends, he was my mentor, and he even preached the funeral of my wife and a couple of years later, we all rejoiced together with Janet when he performed the wedding ceremony for my second wife, Janet. [01:03.9]

Dwight, brother, welcome, welcome, welcome.

Dwight Edwards: Good to be back, Rick. Love you, brother.

Dr. Rigsby: I love you. Hey, Dwight, do you remember our radio show in College Station, Texas, that we used to do that nobody listened to?

Dwight: I remember it well. Man, rest in peace.

Dr. Rigsby: Man, it was called Table Talk and our wives didn't even listen, and Dwight told me off the air that we had two listeners that he knew of. Is that right?

Dwight: Exactly. Yeah, two nuns.

Dr. Rigsby: Oh my gosh. Oh, Dwight. Hopefully, we have more than two people listening.

Dwight: Yeah, we’ll see, exactly.

Dr. Rigsby: Because we get to talk about one of the favorite topics for us both, a topic that you've written about. Friends, Dwight has authored six books, a couple of bestsellers, and he loves to talk about the traits of extraordinary people. As Dwight talks about this, I know what many of you are thinking: I'm not extraordinary. I couldn't live in epic life—oh, all evidence to the contrary.

Before Dwight says anything, let me clearly delineate something. [02:01.5]

Epic is not defined as having wealth or defined as having fame, but epic is what are you using? What are you using with the gifts you've been given, with the tools that you have? And are you making a difference every single day by exploiting those gifts, by exploiting those tools, in such a way that you are literally being the best you can be, that you begin every day with this notion that “I'm going to die empty. At some point, I'm going to completely exhaust myself.” That's living an epic life to the point that you make an impact.

Dwight, my dad—and you knew my dad—was a simple man who functioned in relative obscurity. Yet he was the wisest person I’ve ever met, and because he lived in epic life, he emptied himself into me and my brother, into everyone that knew him. He exhausted every one of his gifts. Even though he lived in relative obscurity, that man is being quoted on every continent throughout the world. [03:03.3]

Dwight: Absolutely, as it should be.

Dr. Rigsby: That's what you're talking about when you talk about an extraordinary life. Is that correct?

Dwight: Absolutely. It's just simply taking the gift-talent-passion mix that we're all gifted with and draining it dry, and just maximizing to the hilt all that we've been given to work with. As we said before, most epic lives are never heard of. Most epic labs are like your dad’s, and the ripples of their lives go forth in unspeakable ways, but they'll probably never be in the headlines.

Dr. Rigsby: Wow, isn’t that something? You mentioned in a previous episode that the ultimate epic life that was made into a movie. Before you give it away, mention what you were telling me earlier this week about how this guy couldn't even get a screenplay approved, couldn't get a studio to even do the movie. Mention that and mention the story of the ultimate epic life.

Dwight: Exactly. Yeah, as I understand it, he went up against almost 2,000 different Hollywood agents and companies and nobody would buy his story, and finally somebody took the risk to put on the screen the story of a man named Rudy Ruettiger who is, to me, the classic example of this, because if it wasn't for the movie, we would never know who Rudy was. Not one of us would know who he is, but because of it, he, to me, epitomizes what we mean by a vanilla buster. [04:26.0]

A vanilla buster is somebody who refuses to live an ordinary, mundane, no dare, no risk life, refuses to sit on the sidelines, in the bleachers, in his safety, and says, No, I was made for the playing field. I was made to take the risks.

Dr. Rigsby: Come on, baby. You're firing big daddy up right now, Dwight. You know you are. I mean, get in the game. Take a risk.

You know what I heard Denzel Washington say? He said, if you're going to fail, fail big.

Dwight: Yes, I love it.

Dr. Rigsby: I think that this whole notion of being adverse to taking a risk holds a lot of people back, and I don't want to get ahead because I know that you're going to talk about that.
By the way, friends, if you don't have Vanilla Busters, great book. Make sure you get this book written by my friend, Dwight. [05:15.1]

And, from his writings, Dwight has come up with some very clear, sagen, characteristics of people who live extraordinary lives, people who challenge the vanilla in their lives, people who get on the battleship. Dwight, walk us through some of those characteristics.

As he does, friend, remember, you have everything already inside of you to be an extraordinary person who lives an epic life. It is not the domain of the rich or the famous. You have it in you. The issue is, will you choose to completely exhaust yourself of the gifts that God has given you?

Dwight, walk us through those characteristics.

Dwight: The book, Say ‘No’ to Vanilla, really, the genesis of it was when Jim Collins wrote Good to Great. He takes 1,000 companies and says this is what these 10 or 11 do better than anybody else. This is why they're great and not simply good. [06:08.1]

And I thought, let's do that with individual life shot history. And so, for me, I don't think I've ever mentioned this before, when I was in fifth grade, we had a reading contest, and for some reason, I just became a voracious reader, and the only thing I read was biographies and autobiographies.

I read 125 books. I buried the rest of the class, but it was a steady stream of people who lived extraordinary lives and it did something to me. It absolutely did something to me, because I realized, at an early age, some people exist and some people live. Some people survive and some people attack. And if you’ve only got one shot at this thing called life, why not go on the attack? Why not say no to vanilla?

And so, reading those books and then having the opportunity to interact with the many extraordinary people, if you will, it seems to me that there's five characteristics of what I call a vanilla Buster, a person who is willing to live an extraordinary life. [07:04.4]

Dr. Rigsby: Dwight, before you get to those five, I’ve got to tell the audience something. Dwight was a former professional tennis player. I want to ask you a question. Do you believe that reading—did you say 125 books?—in fifth grade, planted seeds that would eventually produce a man who played on the professional tennis level?

Dwight: Without a doubt, and I would say this—if a school district would grant me just one request, it would be this. Require your students, as early as possible, to read one biography a month.

Dr. Rigsby: Wow.

Dwight: That will be life transforming, because what they do is they see epic life after epic life, and probably, hopefully, what happened to me was like, Wait, why not go for the gold? That had a profound effect on me.
So, I would say that the first one is passion. You can be good at something without being passionate, but you cannot be great, and what I mean by passion is this. I believe that God has placed within all of us something unique that nobody else can step in and be our understudy in life. Nobody can step in and do it exactly the way that we can do it. [08:12.7]

And so often, I often ask, should Albert Einstein have played basketball? Probably not. Should Michael Jordan have been an engineer? Probably not. They found what they were made to do. So, it's not trust trying to figure out something. It's landing on what's deepest within you, as scary as that might be, and saying, You know what? This is what I was made to do.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, at age 14 said, I knew I was born to write. I love this. This I think is crucial. It is that you find, as we've mentioned, the song that you uniquely have to sing.

The illustration I like to use also is I have a friend who has a very old dog and this dog is just a poor, pitiful creature. You go over to his house and he's just lying by the water bowl. But when my friend takes his shotgun out, the shotgun cabinet opens and the dog hears the click of the shotgun. It changes it. His eyes get brighter, his ears go up and he starts moving around. [09:11.3]

When my friend goes out, he takes him hunting, and while he’s hunting, this dog who's riddled with arthritis, you'd never know there is any whatsoever. Full stretch, the whole time. Comes back home. The shotgun gets put away and he returns to being a [sound dropped] creature that he is most of the time. So, the question is what makes the difference? Very simple.

He's a hunting dog. His parents didn't teach them to hunt. He didn't go to school to learn how to hunt. It's what he was made to do. I often like to ask people, Have you heard the click of the shotgun?

Dr. Rigsby: That's so good, Dwight. We’ve got to just stop right there. We have to unpack this a little bit more. Have you heard the click of the shotgun? That is profound.

Every one of us has something that we are passionate about, right? My concern is that people will equate passion in a shallow, superficial culture with loud. Some of the most passionate people I know are not loud. They're not what we would call charismatic.

So, let me just define passion from a Webster point of view. The denotative definition of passion is intense feelings about something or someone. Have you heard the click of the shotgun? [10:22.4]

Do you know who I'm thinking about right now? Warren Buffett.

Dwight: Absolutely.

Dr. Rigsby: He learned with marbles in the bathtub. He was really good at numbers. I love what he said one day. Somebody said, “What makes you different?” He said, “Nothing. I have the same information that you folks have, but I just love numbers. This gives me passion.”

And he comes up with these two rules for finance that literally blows Wall Street away, and it can only come from somebody with a passion and a calling to numbers because they're so simple. This is what he says. He says, “I have two rules. Rule number one, never lose money. Rule number two, never forget rule number one.” [11:03.4]

The point that he’s trying to make us exactly what you're saying. He heard the click of the shotgun. Dwight, that really resonates, doesn't it?

Dwight: Absolutely, and this is what brings people alive. There are too many walking dead out. See, Maslow was brilliant in his hierarchy of needs. The very last need is what he called self-actualization, and in it he says this—ultimately, every other need can be met, but there will be a level of discontent if a person has not discovered what they were made to do. An artist must paint. A poet must write. A songwriter must sing. If they're ultimately defined, the deepest joy and the greatest sense of being alive as a human being.

Dr. Rigsby: Wow, that is so profound, Dwight. Listen, can I impose upon you live? Is there any way you'll come back?

Dwight: Absolutely.

Dr. Rigsby: We've only touched passion. We were only talking about passion and it is one of the traits of extraordinary people, but we have so much more to talk about. [12:07.7]
But a great way to end is to give our audience that takeaway one more time about the shotgun. I want you to say it deliberately and slowly one more time.

Dwight: The question is very simple. Have you heard the click of the shotgun for you? For you? Blessed are you, if you have. You're very fortunate.

Dr. Rigsby: Before we leave, I've got to ask you, just a round number—since you used the term “living dead,” what percentage of the people that we encounter have actually heard the click of the shotgun?

Dwight: I just think that the 80/20 rule works so often, and I think I would say this, I hope there's 20 percent. I'm not sure that they're full 20 percent.

Dr. Rigsby: Breaks my heart.

Dwight: But I would say that probably 80 percent are just kind of making it through life or just trying, thinking that the best life has to offer is simply enjoyment, comfort, so forth and so on. Let's talk about that next time. Actions are never random. They're always rooted in beliefs. [13:10.3]

When we believe that the best life has to offer is where we're going to go, and those who hear the click of the shotgun understand something very important, and that is, I'm placed on this planet for a specific purpose at a specific time. And my great calling is to land on what that is, and passion inevitably will be there.

Dr. Rigsby: Friends, did you hear what he just said? Did you hear what he said earlier? Actions are never random. They're rooted in beliefs. Dwight, we could listen to you all day long.

Dwight: I doubt that, but thanks.

Dr. Rigsby: I know our viewers and listeners all throughout the world, they're getting a real encouraging challenge today. Have you heard the click of a shotgun? Thank you, Dwight.

Dwight: Yeah, and let me just say on that, go to my website and we have a free video of that very thing.

Dr. Rigsby: Give us the website.

Dwight: VanillaBusters.com and we have some sample videos, and one of them is The Click of the Shotgun, so you can actually go and watch it. [14:05.0]

Dr. Rigsby: That is so awesome. Thank you my brother. I love you.

Dwight: Thanks. Love you, bro,

Dr. Rigsby: And to all of you, thank you so much for joining us. This is Dr. Rick. Until we meet again, I'd like to ask you the most important question I can possibly ask. How you living? I'll see 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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