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Wisdom is ‘inner intuition’ or a deep knowing of something. And while we have the capacity for good sense, it can get mixed up in the noise of our busy lives.

Everything is about instant gratification (instead of sound judgment and common sense). Nowadays, knowing wisdom and practicing wisdom are two different things.

In this episode, you’ll discover the six lessons of wisdom for leading a life of great impact and inner guidance.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How online shopping and high-speed entertainment quiet your inner wisdom every day. (0:37)
  • The “Lifesaver’s candy way” to pile up your savings (and still splurge on something sweet). (2:33)
  • How to avoid an emergency with this glovebox compartment essential. (6:28)
  • The ‘Mailbox Money’ strategy for keeping your family financially afloat when all plans fail. (8:03)
  • Lessons from a bowl of soup about becoming the best at something. (10:35)
  • Why leading others starts with being an hour early everywhere you go. (13:56)
  • The most empowering words to hear on your worst day. (14:54)

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 very much for tuning in today. I want to talk to you about wisdom, specifically, how we can apply wisdom keys to enhance our everyday lives.

We live in a society where we place a high demand on speed. I know I do. I want things done quickly. Even when I'm shopping online, I want those packages mailed back to me as fast as possible. I really believe that we place a high value on the speed in which we get things done. We place a high value on the importance of staying ahead of the technological curve. I know we place a high value on the instant gratification we get from social media. [01:06.0]

But we don't talk much about the high value of wisdom and how that wisdom can enhance our lives. You see, we live in a world that values the superficial over that which is genuine, entertainment over learning, and looking good over being good. I believe that the two casualties of a shallow superficial culture are a lack of common sense exercised and a reluctance to execute basics.

What would happen if we started viewing wisdom as a basic, and we started executing wisdom keys every day? I’ll tell you what would happen. We would begin to expand our capacity with regard to wisdom, with regard to discernment, patience. You know what, friends? Exercising wisdom keys on a daily basis has the potential to greatly impact our lives and the lives of others. [02:07.7]

I want you to think about it for a moment. We've all been very fortunate to learn wisdom lessons, many of these lessons coming from our own family members, but knowing wisdom and practicing wisdom are two completely different things. I want to not just know the wisdom of my father and mother, but I'm ready to practice it on a daily basis.

My father was the wisest man I've ever met in my life and yet he was just a third-grade dropout. If you could imagine this, his wisdom is being quoted on every continent in the world and my dad's wisdom was rooted in common sense. Perhaps that explains why his wisdom is so popular. [02:54.7]

You see, common sense, good sense, and sound judgment in all matters practical, that was my father. That my father represented that greatest generation, those folks born in the 20th century that were starting their families in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, you see, it was all about practicing common sense back then, right? It was all about sound judgment and being pragmatic, and those things are really hallmarks to my father's way of living.

My dad's lessons have been well-chronicled, both in my speech, Lessons from a Third-Grade Dropout, as well as in my book, but my father said so much more than those lessons that he shared with me over my lifetime with him. Wisdom seemed to flow out of every pore of his being.

I use my father's wisdom keys every single day and, during this episode, I thought I might share a few of those keys in the hope that you might find them helpful. [04:04.5]

Let's start back in 1961. Ancient history for many of you, I know. In 1961, I was five years old and I got my first job, but there was a convalescent hospital at the corner on my block where I lived. My first job was at that convalescent hospital. My mother was a nurse there and I made a nickel a day taking out the trash. That's a quarter a week. Oh, I was big time, let me tell you.

I could remember my father saying, “Son, now, you're going to get about 2,500 once a week. That's a quarter.”

“Yes, Daddy. I'm excited.” I already knew what I was going to do, friends. Back then, Life Savers, the candy Life Savers, one roll cost 5 cents, so I knew that I was going to buy five rolls of Life Savers. That's how I was going to spend my 25 cents. In fact, there was a popular joke back then that if you were dying and you only had a nickel, what would you do? [05:06.84]

My dad busted my bubble, though. He said, “Son, this is what you're going to do. You're only going to spend 5 cents of that quarter. You're going to save the rest.” That made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever, but with my mother's help, I opened up a savings account at the Bank of America on Tennessee Street in Vallejo, Calif. Somewhere in some box, I still have my bankbook.

To my shock, I couldn't believe what the next several months would reveal. I'm no longer spending 25 cents on Life Savers. I'm spending 5 cents on Life Savers and I'm banking the remaining 20 cents. That means I'm banking 80 cents per month and, boy, did it start to grow. Wisdom key: save more than you spend. [06:08.8]

Sure makes sense today. As a matter of fact, my father would tell me my whole life, “Son, it's not how much you make. It's how much you save that determines wealth.” Wisdom key: save more than you spend.

In 1970, I get my first car. I can't remember what it was. It was the car that my folks could afford for me. That's the way you got cars back then for many of us. It was the cheapest car my dad could get in the best working order. Here's the point, though. Back in 1970, ’71, ’72, back in those days, gas was cheap. In 1970, it was about 25 cents to 30 cents a gallon for gas. You could fill up your tank for about five bucks.

My dad said to me, “Son, I know you’ve got that job at that fast food restaurant, right?” [07:01.0]

“Yes, I do, Daddy.”

“The first $5 you get, son, I want you to put it in your glove box.” I'm thinking, What? “Yes, son, I want you to always have $5 in your glove box. You never know when you're going to need to fill up your tank.” Wisdom key” think about a rainy day. Oh, that's good, y'all.

It's not “if” a rainy day will come. It's “when” our rainy day will come. You know if your car breaks down, you've got enough money to probably get a bus ticket home. Back in 1970, $5 went a long way. You got enough to get a warm meal. You have options. That's what my daddy was saying. As a matter of fact, friends, years later, a financial advisor would teach the same key, making sure that I would work to put away a year's salary. Thank you, Dad. You were way ahead of the curve. [08:01.6]

Now we're in 1978. I get my first job out of college. I'm a television reporter for KHSL-TV, Channel 12, Chico, Calif. Oh, baby, am I excited? A full year of interning had finally paid off, and guess what, y’all? I can remember my first night on the air as a TV reporter was the Friday before I would graduate from college that Saturday, so my folks came up. They were coming up for the college graduation and they came up to watch their son on television.

My mother was so excited, she was jumping around. That wasn't my father's nature. He held it close to his chest. He was proud, you could tell, but he busted my bubble. He said, “Son, first of all, congratulations. But, second of all, I'm not sure you can make a living in television. I want you to learn a trade.” [09:03.6]

I could not believe with this man. “I got a job, Daddy. I got a way to pay back student loans. I'm getting married in a couple of months and I'll be able to contribute to our budget, and you're telling me that you don't think I can make it in television?” He was saying something far more significant, so deep that a 22-year-old simply—I should say “this” 22-year-old—just couldn't see it.

So, I learned how to be a cook, a short order cook, nothing fancy, but just in case television didn't work out, I'd still be able to support my family. Wisdom key: always, always, always have a backup plan to support your family. [09:58.54]

Men and women, this is so important. In this wisdom key, listen to what my father was really saying, y'all. This wisdom key literally introduced me to the concept of multiple streams of revenue. It literally introduced me to the concept of mailbox money. Always be about the business of generating revenue from multiple streams. Dad, I want to thank you. I really want to thank you. I didn't see it then, but I certainly see it today.

Now we're in the 1980s. I've left television. I'm in graduate school and I'm going to conferences, and later in the ’80s, I started teaching college, and in the early-90s, I'm a college professor going to conventions. Then it really hits when I start speaking professionally, also in the ’90s, so I'm traveling quite a bit.

I remember, as I started traveling, my father had some advice. Keep in mind, he was a cook on a training ship and had been all over the world, right? He had experienced a lot of things, and so his wisdom was quite valuable to me as I began traveling. [11:08.4]

I'll never forget this because I really didn't understand this like I didn't understand many of his wisdom keys at first. My father said, “Son, you're going to get an opportunity to experience a lot of restaurants.” He said, “Do yourself a favor. When you go to a new restaurant, order a bowl of soup.”

I'm going, “What?” In fact, I said, “Dad, really?”

He said, “Yes, son, sample the soup.”

“Why, Dad?”

“If the soup is not good, don't invest in the restaurant.” Oh, baby. Friend, I'm telling you, I have practiced that every single day for nearly 30 years. Here's the wisdom key: executing the basics is the trademark of excellence. If you don't have the basics of soup down, why should I spend money on the filet mignon? [12:03.5]

No, I have the privilege of working with a person that may be getting that call to go to the Hall of Fame, right? This former baseball player, Major League Baseball player, he told me once, “If I make it to the hall of fame, it won't be because of my home runs. It will be because I executed the basics like bunting, like advancing the runner, like hitting the cut-off man.” Isn’t that interesting?

I remember once I heard John Wooden say that the very first lesson he would teach his basketball players at UCLA was the proper way to put on their socks, because if they don't know the proper way to put on their socks, their feet will develop blisters and they will be of no use to them team. Then he taught his players the proper way to tie their shoes, because nothing stops forward momentum in the middle of a play like shoelaces that have come untied. Oh, man. [13:04.4]

I think about a good friend of mine, one of my closest friends. His name is Dwight Edwards. Dwight was on the professional tennis circuit in the 1970s and I remember asking him on one occasion, “Who was your toughest opponent?” Without hesitation, he said, “Björn Borg.” There's a name from the past, Björn Borg.

I said, “Tell me why.”

He said, “Björn Borg had the basics so down, he wore his opponents out.”

“Son, when you go into a new restaurant, order the basics. Order a bowl of soup. That way you can determine if the basics are right.” Wisdom key: executing the basics, the trademark of excellence.

In the 1990s, I began to lead others and this is where one of my dad's famous wisdom keys came into place. My dad told me as I began to lead others, “Son, always be early.” Earlier. He had taught me he’d rather be in an hour early than a minute late, and the wisdom key was this: inconvenience yourself for the sake of those who follow you. Isn't that good, y'all? [14:19.8]

A great leader, son, inconveniences herself, inconveniences himself for the sake of those who follow. My dad had always told me that you'd rather be an hour early than a minute late, but I never really got the depth of it until years later when I was a leader. One of the things I attempt to do every single day is to inconvenience myself for the sake of others.

The greatest wisdom key my father ever taught me is one that I practice every single day and he taught me this on the worst day of my life. It was at the funeral of my first wife, Trina. We're standing in front of the casket. I'm holding the hands of my two little boys. I say, “Daddy, I've lost hope.” [15:09.5]

My daddy says to me, “Son, you can't lose something God gave you. You haven't lost hope. You've lost perspective.” Wisdom key: model hope today. Someone really needs it. Isn’t that good, y'all? Model hope today. Someone really needs it. Someone may just need a smile, just a kind word. Model hope today.

My simple question, as I conclude, is this. Would your life be enhanced today if you exercised just one of these wisdom keys? To save more, to think about a rainy day, to always work on a backup plan, to execute basics, to inconvenience yourself for the sake of others, or to just model hope. [16:03.5]

I want you to think on these wisdom keys and think about the one that you might want to choose to enhance your life. There might be other wisdom keys that you've learned over the years. The point is turn them into a practical application every single day and watch the impact it will have, not only on you, but on others around you.

Friends, 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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