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When it comes to making your life better, waiting for an “opportunity to knock” only makes days worse. And even if you are suffering difficulties now, it doesn’t mean you will find the same problems tomorrow.

Wouldn’t you rather create change out of any circumstance?

In this episode, you’ll learn how to instantly find opportunity in everyday life and why your greatest moments come from your obstacles. 

Show Highlights Include:

  • What the ‘confetti culture’ reveals about finding your opportunities today. (0:28)
  • How the ‘Triple R’ system helps you turn bad days into building blocks for the future. (2:04)
  • What to learn from your greatest critics and why believing in yourself creates instant opportunity. (3:02)
  • How a filmmaker found an opportunity living in his car and what you need for following your dreams (in any circumstance). (5:58)

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 joining me today. I want to talk to you about something that each one of us has in abundance, opportunities.

People often ask me, When will my big opportunity come? and I will tell them that's the wrong question to ask. Instead, we ought to be asking, Will I be ready when my opportunity arrives? You see, every day we have several opportunities, but if we're distracted by looking only for the brilliantly extravagant, we'll miss those opportunities. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said an opportunity missed is an opportunity lost, so we don't want to be distracted. [01:06.0]

We live in a culture of extremes, don't we, where great must be astonishingly shocking, where epic must be extraordinarily grand. We've become conditioned that transformation cannot possibly occur without ceremonial pomp and buckets of confetti. As a result, we miss countless opportunities daily to grow, to learn, to be kind, to be nice, to learn a new word, to meet a new person, to engage in conversation with one we don't agree with or to do something we would have never thought of doing.

Friends, here's my view of life regarding opportunities. Every situation and circumstance presents opportunities, every single one. Issues, problems, difficult conversations, each one of these scenarios presents an opportunity. [02:04.3]

Here's my objective. Recognize these situations for what they are. Respond appropriately, and then reassign the problem as a potential building block. Recognize, respond, and reassign.

I hold a firm belief that lessons can be learned each and every day, lessons that can connect circumstances to purpose, that can prepare me to fulfill my purpose. Choosing to acknowledge this is entirely up to me. In other words, friends, my daily assignments are connected to my purpose. Here's my purpose to live a life that impacts offering hope and encouragement to our world, one person at a time, and so, as a result, it's not really what happens to me that's important. It's how I respond. It's how I choose to respond. [02:59.2]

I can make it positive or negative, and so now circumstances become either the scaffolding needed to build and fortify purpose or mental scraps that produce complaining and criticism. In other words, I view circumstances and situations as potential opportunities. They're often hidden. They're often disguised as problems.

Let me give you an example. A couple of years, years ago, I wrote the book, Afraid to Hope: Discovering the Courage to Dream Again, and the book has been well-received, but I had some criticism and that criticism really hurt me. I had a couple of folks say, You know what, Rick? It's a good book, but we just want to remind you, hope is not a strategy. Friends, do you know that? As long as I internalize that criticism as a problem, I can't benefit from it, but what if I could seek to discover the beauty in the criticism? In other words, is there something in that criticism that I can glean from that will promote growth? [04:06.8]

Listen to this. It took a global pandemic, y'all, it took racial strife all over the world and political division in the United States for me to realize that those critics were absolutely correct. Hope is not a strategy. Hope is more powerful than a strategy. A strategy is just a plan, but hope is the expected belief that somehow we're going to make it, working together.

You know what, friends? Listen to me. Had I just pouted—come on, somebody—had I just dropped my head, had I merely focused on the criticism alone, I would have missed the opportunity, the opportunity to re-examine beliefs and attitudes about hope, to push myself to learn more about hope, to encourage the very people who criticized my message of hope. [05:03.8]

That's right. I actually had a chance to talk to many of the people who just a few years earlier said, “You know, Rick, hope is not a strategy,” and in the midst of a pandemic, they're calling me saying, “Would you share some words of hope with my people?”

I almost missed that opportunity and would have missed it had I had pouted with my head down. I would have missed the opportunity of a lifetime to write my next book, which I'm working on right now titled, The Power of Hope. All this because I chose to view criticism as scaffolding, an opportunity to grow. That criticism presented this golden opportunity and that opportunity was hidden in the thicket of a few troubling comments. Oh, baby. [05:58.2]

Someone once commented that although a million people may say you can't and 10 million people may say no, all you really need is one yes from God. I want to close with the story of the person who said that.

This man had a horrific childhood. His childhood was marked by poverty and abuse. He discovered that circumstances were rough, were challenging, and he was really met with some insurmountable obstacles. But guess what else? He discovered that hidden within those circumstances were opportunities. He discovered this by writing letters to himself. Those letters represented an outlet for him to express his inner most hurts and pain and feelings. At one point in this man's life, he wound up homeless, couldn't afford to pay rent, couldn't afford to buy food. All he could do was live out of his car, but he kept writing and he kept dreaming. [07:09.2]

He finally wrote a play, and using every single penny he had, he rented a theater and staged the play. The only problem was no one showed up. Who would have ever imagined that, years later, that same play would sell out during a long run at the famed Fox Theatre in Atlanta? That play resulted in a movie that gave life to a character this man created called Madea.

That's right. From those humble and troubling beginnings, by calling opportunities from the thicket of trouble, Tyler Perry has become a media mogul. Listen to this. Since those humble beginnings, Tyler Perry has produced 17 feature films, 20 stage plays, seven television shows, a New York Times best-selling book. [08:10.5]

As a matter of fact, Tyler Perry is considered one of the greatest cinematic innovators of our time, blending spiritual hope and down-home humor to encourage and to uplift people all over the world. Tyler Perry has been quoted as saying, “My biggest success has not been my work. My biggest success has been getting over the things that tried to destroy me.”

Oh, by the way, friends outside the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta sits a 1992 blue two-door Geo Metro. The car is a replica of the same vehicle that Tyler Perry once lived in, the Geo Metro, a reminder of where Tyler came from, a symbol of how circumstances and situations can contain opportunities, even opportunities that have the potential to transform lives, opportunities that have the potential to impact other people. [09:21.4]

And that Geo Metro, that simple blue car, when people see it, Tyler Perry says, I want them to realize never, ever, ever allow the difficulty of the moment to cause you to give up on your dreams. By the way, Tyler Perry’s favorite quote, in my opinion, is this: “Although a million people may say you can't and 10 million may say no, all you really need is one yes from God.” [09:55.5]

Friends, opportunities are waiting. They're waiting for us this very day. Look in those unlikeliest of places, difficulties, uneven terrain, uncertainty, pain, heartbreak, and remember those opportunities are often disguised. They're often wrapped in gift wrap that probably is not very fashionable.

They're often gift-wrapped in a wrapping paper of trouble, but recognize them. Respond to them positively. Reassign them in your mind as building blocks for your future. Make a choice to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Remember, friends, scaffolding is necessary to construct your dream and make it a reality. If you don't believe me, just ask the owner of a 1992 Blue two-door Geo Metro. [11:02.5]

Friends, I so enjoyed our time together. 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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