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. I'm so glad to be with you today. I want to talk to you about value, specifically, something of value. A lot of times we don't realize how valuable someone or something is because we're too familiar with it, right? And I think sometimes it takes a few years for us to really genuinely appreciate a person or, in the case today, a thing.
I need to set the stage. Let me go back to when I was in what we used to call junior high school. Today, it's called middle school. But I'm 12 years old. It's 1968. I know that's nostalgic for some, ancient history for others. [01:04.5]
But, at any rate, back in 1968, my parents are listening to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, talk about Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and they're listening to Otis Redding talking about (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, come on somebody.
I'm 12, so I'm listening to the Doors and not understanding a word, but I loved the song, Come on, baby, light my fire. I'm listening to the Monkeys and listening to the Beatles, listening to James Brown talk about a Cold Sweat, and my favorite Sly & the Family Stone talking about Dance to the Music.
For a buck, you could go to the movies and, I mean, life was just absolutely awesome. In 1968, the big movies were Funny Girl, Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey, whether you remember, “Hello, Dave. You're looking well today, Dave.” That was a glimpse into the Siri of 2020, right? [02:03.1]
Vallejo Junior High School, 1968, my favorite two classes had one common denominator, girls. I loved classes where there were lots of girls. That meant speed reading and typing, and I loved both of those classes actually. I actually fell in love with typing, so much so that I begged my parents for a typewriter. There was just one little problem. They didn't have the $39.95 required to buy the typewriter. That was about the cheapest.
They told me that the best route would be what we used to call Blue Chip stamps. That's where you go to the grocery store, make a purchase and get stamps to redeem, put in a book and redeem and get the item that you desire. We didn't have enough stamps. We also didn't have enough S&H green stamps. That was another way that you could redeem valuables—but, sorry, I didn't want to wait three months to collect stamps to put a book. I needed a typewriter and I needed it right now because my typewriting teacher said we had to practice. I needed something. [03:07.5]
To my great surprise, my mother let me know one Saturday that she got me a typewriter. I was thrilled. She said, “Go get it. It's in the trunk of the car,” and I opened up the trunk and, to my horror, I saw a beast, the original Underwood No. 5 Standard typewriter. It's displayed prominently in my office. I love it now. I see the value now, but in 1968, I hated this thing.
It was first introduced in 1899, the result of almost 30 years of innovation. That was not impressing me. A ton of improvements went into manufacturing this typewriter. It was the gold standard in offices in the early portion of the 20th century. I could care less. This was 1968 and I hated it. I couldn't see the value. My friends in junior high, they had typewriters with names like Smith Corona, Royal Olympia, and Brother. I had something called a No. 5 Standard typewriter, and I just wasn't buying it. [04:15.2]
But then, a funny thing happened. Despite my embarrassment, and trust me, you needed weight training to lift this thing and carry it to school, and when you got to school, your friends laughed at you. I had one friend that said, “Why did you bring a printing press to school?” But despite my embarrassment, I began using the typewriters so much, I actually forgot about being laughed at. I actually forgot about being embarrassed.
I discovered a journalism class in junior high, developed a crush on my journalism teacher, probably as well as every other girl in that class. Within a span of a few years, I became the editor of the junior high school paper and the layout editor of the junior high yearbook, and ninth grade class president, and that typewriter that my mother spent $5 for at a yard sale, that Underwood's Standard No. 5 typewriter was with me every step of the way. [05:12.2]
In fact, when I went across the street from the junior high to Vallejo Senior High School, the typewriter accompanied me and went right along. In fact, when I went to college, that's right, the typewriter, that $5 Underwood, went right with me.
Why am I telling you this story? Why am I going down memory lane? Because I've discovered that we often have no idea how valuable people are and how valuable things are. Our tendency is to assign status to value people and money, to value things.
I think about the fondest memories in my life and they have absolutely nothing to do with money or things. It was those times when all our family members and our friends would gather together for barbecues, for picnics, for family reunions, for vacations, and the laughter was endless all into the night. [06:10.9]
I look at those times and I think, My goodness, not a penny spent. My goodness, not one thing purchased, but yet the value cannot be calculated. I think about those memories as I look at this typewriter right now as I'm recording this particular podcast. I could never see the value of this typewriter and it was because of one reason: I was blinded by what I thought I needed.
It's an important point, friend. Often, value is blinded by greed, blinded by what we think we might need. That Underwood Standard No. 5 typewriter that my mother bought at a yard sale in 1968 for $5, guess what? That same model typewriter is forever enshrined in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. That's right. There are typewriters in the Smithsonian. It even sells on eBay. I checked it out. You can get one from between US$200 and 400. [07:20.0]
That typewriter that I couldn't see the value of because of my greed over what I thought I needed, that typewriter, that Underwood Standard No. 5 typewriter is one of my most cherished possessions today. I finally saw the value. That's right, an 1899 word processor became a machine that Momma bought because her child needed a typewriter. Oh baby.
Momma, I wish you were here. I really wish you were here, so I could say thank you and I'm sorry that it took your son over 40 years to really understand what true value is all about. [08:10.5]
True value is not about possessions. True value is not about money. True value really has very little to do with status or standings, or title. True value, true genuine value goes far deeper than the shallow, than the superficial, and it's a lesson that I am reminded of every single time I walk into my office, every single day I see that Underwood typewriter that's right behind my left shoulder, and lately I've been saying, Thank you, Momma, just thank you so much for teaching your son that value really has nothing to do with things and with money. [09:00.6]
My mother's name, by the way, was Viola Rigsby, and that Underwood that sits in my office, I named it St. Vi. Come on, somebody. St. Vi speaks to me every single day. My mother has been gone for 20 years, but trust me, I hear her voice resoundingly loudly in the corridors of my heart on a daily basis. And lately you know what I've been hearing? Ricky, seek real value. Seek genuine value. Seek true value. Trust me, St. Vi is still with me today, a constant reminder of what value genuinely is.
Oh, friend, I hope somebody has been encouraged by this word today. I hope somebody has been uplifted. It becomes very easy to judge possessions as a way of judging the value of a person. It becomes very easy in a shallow superficial society to judge the value of somebody based on their title or their status, or what folks think about them. [10:13.5]
As a result, oftentimes, a judgmental attitude is very seldom the kind of attitude that is associated with a person who wants to grow, who wants to develop, who wants to challenge themselves to be better. My judgmental attitude over something called a typewriter literally retarded my growth when it came to understanding value.
Is there something that you need to correct? Is there a perception that you need to adjust? I think we ought to be very, very careful, friend, to make sure that we're valuing people based on who they are, not what they do, that we're valuing things based on how we cherish that thing, not how much it costs. [11:07.9]
Friends, I have a daily reminder every day when I walk into my office, St. Vi literally here talking to me, a constant reminder of true value. Oh, friend, I hope that this has really encouraged you in some way. Hope it has uplifted you in some way. I want to think about these thoughts for a couple of days and I hope you do, too.
And please come back and join me the next time we're together. Until then, friend, until we're together again, this is Dr. Rick asking you the most important question I can ask you today, how you living’? I'll talk with you real 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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