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 there, friends. I'm so glad you could be with us today. I have anticipated talking about vision for a long time. Vision is our topic for the day and I really have a great story to share with you about the vision of a person that, before I even finished the story, you're going to figure out who I'm talking about.
A young boy that was born in Chicago in 1901, grew up in Missouri and, at an early age, developed a fondness for drawing. As a matter of fact, he would sell his sketches of nature and animals to the neighbors. He would eventually start sketching ads for newspapers, as well as for magazines. [01:06.5]
As an adult, he started a business with a friend. They would draw cartoons. That business failed. He started another business, selling short animated films to companies. That business failed. Most people would've given up, but this young man was able to see something that most people could not see. He's 22 years old. He has an unfinished cartoon. He's got about 40 bucks in his pocket when he decides to move to the land of dreams to Hollywood, California.
He sets up a studio with the help of his brother in his uncle's garage, and they just keep right on rolling. They make a series of cartoons. The one that eventually got picked up was called The Alice Comedies, a series of animated cartoons, featuring a girl named Alice and her cat named Julius, and when a New York company released The Alice Comedies, it's signaled the official beginning of the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio owned by Walt and Roy Disney. [02:09.6]
They later changed the name to the Walt Disney Studios, but Walton and Roy were in business and they were rolling, but they were also facing obstacle after obstacle. I'm telling you, friends, if you don't have vision, all you see as the obstacle, but the Disney Brothers saw something more than an obstacle. They saw opportunities.
I mean, they even had a situation where one of the partners took one of the characters. This partner claimed that he created Oswald. The Oswald was a rabbit and this guy split from the Disneys, went his own separate way, took Oswald with him, and so now you have Roy and Walt Disney with a studio and no character, but they didn't stop. They kept going. Their vision kept pushing them forward and, with the help of a collaborator, Walt drew this character that was a mouse, named him Mortimer, Mortimer Mouse. [03:08.0]
Thank God for Lilly Disney, Walt's wife, she says, He doesn't look like a Mortimer. He looks like a Mickey, and in 1928, friends, a star was born and the timing could not have been more perfect. Films with sound were replacing silent movies and the Disney Brothers could see that sound was here to stay. Also, Technicolor was advancing and the sky was the limit for animators, and I'm telling you, Mickey Mouse was just the biggest sensation and then the Disney brothers just started rolling hit after hit out from Snow White to Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan to Mary Poppins, their crowning achievement at the time.
Then, the Disney Brothers took advantage of the baby boom. With more and more Americans watching television, they create a television show called the Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, but it had always been in Walt's mind to create a theme park. [04:07.4]
He would enjoy taking his children when they were younger to a public park in Los Angeles and Walt often noticed that the people in the park seemed to be having a good time. He kept that in the back of his mind. Most people in Southern California in this little town called Anaheim, which simply drive by 160 acres of orange groves and walnut trees and not give it a second thought, but not Walt. He could see what other people could not, and in 1955, July 17, Disneyland opened, 160 acres, price tag $17 million. The rest is history, right? All because a man facing obstacles refused to quit because of what he could see. He could see what others would not, what others could not. [05:06.9]
His motto was “Dream. Believe. Dare. Do.” I love the story of the conversation that occurred as Disney World was opening. A few years earlier, Walt Disney had passed away in 1966 I believe it was, and in 1971, Disney World opened. Walt had purchased swampland in Orlando, Florida. Swampland.
An executive during the opening ceremonies of Disney World leaned over to Mrs. Disney and said, “I wish Walt could have seen this day,” to which Mrs. Disney said, “He already has.” Come on, somebody. What if we took the limits off our vision? What if we took the handcuffs off how we see problems? Our imagination would flourish. Our creativity would go off the charts. Innovation would be seismic. [06:05.3]
Think about this for a moment. We've had electronics for over a hundred years, right? But Steve Jobs had a vision to create easy-to-use, powerful technological tools that could change the world. It took Thomas Edison a thousand times to get the light bulb to work, but he said that vision and hard work and resilience would eventually prove to be true. He was absolutely right.
You know what's interesting to me? People that look at obstacles in a way that says, That's not going to limit me. I'm thinking of a young girl right now named Wilma Rudolph. Because of a childhood disease, she had braces on her legs, but she was convinced by a mother that she would walk again, that doctor said no, her mother said yes. Wilma said, I'm going to believe my mother. [07:02.5]
You know what? Three gold medals in track and field were awarded to Wilma Rudolph during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. She was named the fastest woman in the world in the ’60s. She gave herself permission to visualize what others would not. Listen to what she said, “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: the potential for greatness lives within each of us.”
What did you say, Helen Keller? “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision.”
What did you say, Jonathan Swift? “Vision is the ability to see the invisible.”
What did you say, George Washington Carver? “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”
You see, friend, vision stimulates hope. Hope convinces the will and inspires the heart. That's why Helen Keller said on one occasion, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and believes the impossible.” [08:10.7]
I believe that we respond to challenges in a couple of different ways. We’re either overwhelmed by what we see or we're motivated to see what others don't. I want to talk about vision beyond sight and I believe it's so critically important that we understand that you don't have to have sight to have vision. If all you see is what you see, you don't see all there is that needs to be seen.
You see, great people with great vision are not born. They make a choice to see what others don't. They make a choice to do what others won't. Ninety percent of the population, I am convinced, would only see two failed businesses, would only see $40 in their pockets, would only see 160 acres of orange groves and walnut trees, would only see swampland in Orlando, Florida. [09:09.3]
I want to be a part of that 10 percent. I want to be a part of that percentage of folks that say, You know what? There's got to be more. You know what? I'm missing something. Let me continue to push, to challenge myself, to stretch, to grow, to consider new opportunities. Let me see what my eyes won't let me see.
My question today is this: what's dominating your thoughts today? What's troubling your heart? Why not have hope and courage, and vision to see what others don't? Friends, I say that because I have so many friends who are in hospitals, who are struggling, who are really having a difficult time right now, and they have a friend in me. I know what that’s like and it required, in my case, much more than just physical sight to move on. [10:07.2]
And so, I want to encourage my friends who are struggling. I want to encourage each and every one of you. If you're in a situation where all you can see is the world closing in, because it's easy to lose perspective, isn’t it, when all you can see are the problems all around you, the situations and the circumstances kind of cornering you?
Listen to this. The worst day of my life was not September 8, 1996. That's the day that my first wife, Trina, passed away. That was not the worst day. The worst day was a month later. That's when the reality hit that she's never coming back again. Physically, all I could see was the spare, disappointment, dejection. All I could see was pain, loneliness. All I could see were two little boys without a mother and a husband without a wife. [11:08.6]
But I remembered something my dad taught me. My dad at the casket, when I said, “Dad, I've lost hope,” his response was “You can't lose something God gave you. You haven't lost hope. You've lost perspective.” So, after days and weeks and months of crying myself to sleep, I said to myself, I wonder if there is such a thing as hope still in my life, and I got a glimpse, just a glimpse, and what the glimpse showed me was this. If you're still breathing, Rick, you’ve still got hope. If you're still functioning, if you're still alive, you still have hope. And so, why not get up and put one foot in front of the other? Why not just breathe? That glimpse changed me. [12:01.4]
I started giving myself permission to hope. I remember it was very small. I would say things like, I wonder what if, I wonder if my life will be the same again? I wonder if it's possible for my life to even be better again. I started using those words and I can remember starting to visualize something that wasn't my present reality.
Listen to me very carefully, friend. If all you see is what you see, you don't see all there is that needs to be seen. I started giving myself permission to imagine a better life, and you know one of the things I realized? Rarely is our future established on a mountain top. Come on, somebody. Our future is often determined after we have run out of options and some voice inside says, Now what? Now what are you going to do? You're going to roll over and die, or are you going to say, I wonder what if? [13:03.4]
You see, it's during times of uncertainty that possible can replace impossible. You know what? I've often asked myself, What is it that early adapters see that other people don't? The answer is easy. They see the possibilities. I see the challenges. They see the possibilities. It has caused me to coin this phrase: your perspective is more powerful than your problem. Come on. Your perspective is far more powerful than your problem. So, why not dream miraculously, imagine adventurously and hope courageously? Vision.
You know what vision does? Vision renders the word “impossible” the worst word in the dictionary. There's been a lot of racial strife, a lot of racial unrest, I should say, a lot of racial strife all over the world, and I've been quoting Martin Luther King lately. You know why? It's because his perspective was always bigger than the problem. [14:12.4]
Despite the racial unrest, despite the brutal beatings, despite the horrific segregation that Martin King and the other civil rights workers faced, every single day King saw something more. What did he see? He saw the beloved community. He said on one occasion, We’ll either “learn to live together as brothers and sisters or will perish together as fools.” He saw us one day living together in what he coined the “beloved community.”
I like the way Simon Sinek put it in his podcast. He said, “Remember, King talked about a dream, not a problem.” Friends, our perspective is more powerful than our problem, and we don't need to be an inventor to give ourselves permission to imagine, to give ourselves permission to have courage, to visualize a better outcome. [15:15.0]
And so what I want you to consider at this very moment, regardless of circumstances, problems, issues, situations, illness, regardless of any mountain that you're facing. I want to challenge you to look beyond what you see and challenge yourself to see what you don't. If all you see is what you see, you don't see all there is that needs to be seen. Friend, that is called vision.
Go for it.
Oh, man, I've been encouraged. I hope you have as well. Think on these things for the next couple of days. Let them resonate in your mind and in your spirit. Let them give you hope and encouragement, and reassurance that a better day is coming. [16:07.5]
Oh, friends, I look forward to the next time we’re able to visit. Until then, be encouraged, be blessed, be uplifted. And let me ask you the most important question that 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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