"The wisest person I ever met in my life, a third grade dropout."
Welcome to How Ya' Livin', a transformative podcast featuring bestselling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rick: Hello, everyone. Dr. Rick here. I couldn’t wait to get into the studio today because I get to talk about something that I love discussing. I want to ask you a question: Are you a one-time learner or a lifelong learner? By the end of our time, I want to share with you the benefit of being a lifelong learner. I want to talk to you about constantly being involved in the process of growing. I believe that there are two types of people - those that have passive minds and those that have active minds. [0:01:06.7]
Let me explain what I mean. How do you respond when somebody asks you a question and you don’t know the answer? That is an indication that you'll have either an active mind or a passive mind. Here are two scenarios. First, the active mind. Rick, I want to ask you a question. Do you know the difference between the xylem and the phloem as an example? One is a water storage. One is a food storage compartment. Both contained in a leaf. Rick, I want to ask you a question. Do you know the difference between the xylem and the phloem? No, I really… I really don’t know. That's a passive answer. Rick, do you know the difference between the xylem and the phloem? I don’t even know what the xylem and the phloem is, but by the end of this hour, I'm going to have an answer because I want to learn. I want to grow. I want to develop my mind. Oh-ho, baby! Here's the point. Resist the temptation to quickly move to a default that says, "I don’t know." [0:02:04.7]
Because what you're communicating to your mind is something much greater than that. not only do you not know, but you have no desire for which to know. Oh, baby, listen to me. Think about all the research that's being done on Alzheimer's. I'm fascinated by the research with regard to what we eat and whether or not it can create fog in our mind, with regard to what we say and whether or not our speech can corral our actions or set us free to grow and to develop. I know this from a communications perspective, I know that the tendency to think passively is something that is prevalent in our society today and I want to challenge you that you're not going to grow unless you move from passivity to having more of an active mind and you can begin in a very simple way. [0:03:00.7]
People ask you a question and you don’t know, make a commitment to know. Make a commitment to always be about the business of growing, to always be about the business of learning. Listen to this quote worth requoting, Alvin Toffler, years ago, you may remember him from the book Future Shock way, way a long time ago, back in the 20th Century, but Alvin Toffler said on one occasion, "The great illiteracy of the 21st Century will be among those who don’t learn, unlearn and relearn." Oh, man. Think about that for just a moment. I heard somebody say on one occasion, "It's what you learn after you know it all that really matters." I heard another person say on one occasion, "Resist the temptation to be certain. Instead of being certain, why not be curious." Think about it. Curious. Being willing to learn beyond your capacity. Those are all indications of an active mind. [0:04:03.8]
When you don’t know something, to make a commitment to know something. That's an indication of an active mind. You know what I like to do, friends, to grow every single day? People will say, "Rick, do you remember such and such?" Here's the default, "No, I don’t really remember." How about, instead of that passivity, how about say, "Give me a moment. Let me exercise my mind." The mind is powerful. Some argue the mind is more powerful than even a Smart device, but guess what we have done in this modern day society? We lean so heavily on Smart devices that we actually think that rapid knowledge acquisition at a push of a button is equivalent to the breadth and depth of knowledge. Not true. Not true. Anybody can push a button and gain knowledge, but to understand, to go deeper requires a commitment to move from passivity to actively learning and learning and learning and unlearning and relearning. That's exciting. [0:05:05.9]
Can you imagine all the endorphins that are released when your mind is constantly learning? I watched this guy on a PBS broadcast named Daniel Amen. He's a neurologist and he talks about how every day you want to introduce to your mind different kinds of stimuli that will trigger endorphins and trigger responses to ways in which you can learn. He even suggested learning different languages, going out of the box and doing things and learning things that you would never want to do or want to learn as a way of shocking your mind. The old folks used to say it like this, "If you don’t use it, you will lose it," and isn't it something how things remain the same? Right? I really believe that there is a person that y'all need take note of. His name is Raymond Kurzweil. Let me spell his last name - K-u-r-z-w-e-i-l. He is just phenomenal in his writing. [0:06:09.8]
I was introduced to him in an article, a simple article titled The Laws of Accelerating Return, and in this, he said, he talked about expanding technology. He talked about massive globalization. He talked about these demographic shifts, all as very important characteristics of the 21st Century, but the one that really grabbed my attention was about growing. It was about knowledge acquisition. Listen to what he says. He says, "By 1910, it had taken 150 years to double all human knowledge." Let me say that again. By 1900, I should say. "By 1900, it had taken 150 years to double all human knowledge. Today, it takes 1 to 2 years. By the end of 2020, by the end of 2020, that's this year, all human knowledge in the known universe will double every 72 days. [0:07:09.7]
And so, if you're that kind of person that says, well, I don’t want to learn about that new server. I don’t want to learn this new technology. I dealt with the world the way I've wanted to deal with it and I'm good and I don’t want to learn anything else. Guess what? The world is going to pass you right by. My mother-in-law is 82 years old and we were visiting her in Ohio and she was saying, you know, I would just rather not learn about all the new technology. I'd rather…I just sort of want to keep it simple. And we convinced mom, we convinced her to get this computer designed specifically for seniors and here was our reasoning - our reasoning is it keeps you in the loop of your grandchildren. She has 15. It keeps you in the loop of your great grandchildren. She has 8. She and grandpa now with just a push of a button, they're able to activate all kinds of opportunities to stay in touch with their family, but more important, at 82 years of age, grandma is learning. [0:08:17.0]
Grandma is growing. Grandma is placing a demand upon herself that's going to pay huge dividends over the next several years. She is not going to be afraid to touch a computer. She's not going to be afraid to learn new applications. She is going to continue growing as opposed to letting passivity come into your life. There is a great, great man who lived in Southern California. He's from Indiana. All he wanted to do his entire life is coach basketball and he paid the bills by coaching basketball, but make no mistake about it - his calling was to impact young men. That person's name is John Wooden, and if you can write or read or borrow or do anything to grow your understanding of John Wooden, do it. [0:09:10.2]
Read anything by or about him. He coached basketball at UCLA. He was called the Wizard of Westwood. ESPN called him The Greatest Coach of the 20th Century. He won a lot of national championships and as a result, his recruiting platform was huge. Guys like Sidney Wicks and Bill Walton were recruited by Coach Wooden. A guy was recruited out of Harlem named Lew Alcindor. When Lew changed his religion, he also changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar - perhaps you've heard of him, and coach Wooden was fond of saying this to those young recruits, "Live today as though you're going to die tomorrow. Learn today as though you're going to live forever." So it's always about the business of learning, learning, learning, growing, growing, growing, attaining as much knowledge as we can, not for the sake of ego, but for the sake of constantly wanting to better ourselves, constantly wanting to put ourselves in a position where we'll be able to help, where we'll be able to encourage other people. [0:10:17.1]
The great illiteracy of this generation will be people who aren’t learning, folks who see no reason to grow. I want to tell you something. One of the worst sights in a corporation is to see a leader who feels no need to continue growing. One of the worst things is to be a person in an organization who doesn’t feel any desire to want to keep stretching, to want to keep growing. You don't want entropy to set in. you don’t want your life to be chaotic. When you're not growing, you're not living your life intentionally. When you're not living your life intentionally, you're living in a very random way. A random way does not yield the kind of fruit that you want it to yield. [0:11:03.3]
And so friend, the whole goal is to be about the business of constantly growing. That's what successful people do. Watch this. "Great people do things that other people don’t." That's courtesy of Dennis Kimbro, Clark Atlanta University. Let me say it again. Great people do things that other people don’t. Great people are always learning. They're always growing. They're always challenging themselves. They're asking themselves every day, how can greatness in my life be dominate? How can it be prominent? How can excellence be preeminent? How can growth be seen every day in my life? You know what it starts with? It starts with a challenge that I want to give to you today.
Here's my challenge that I want to share with you, and I want to make sure that you do this. Every day, learn one thing new. That's it. Every single day, for the rest of your life, learn one fact new. You might say, well, well Rick, what's the big deal here? It's like learning how to save. [0:12:01.8]
It's not the act of saving. It's the mindset that is associated with the act of saving. I had a third grade dropout daddy who used to say, "It's not how much you make that makes you wealthy, it's how much you save that makes you wealthy. It's not necessarily the act of learning something new that expands your mind. It grows your capacity. It's actually the mindset that says I am willing to move from passivity to activity in my mind. Great people do things that other people don’t. Here's a great way to grow - find a foe. Ho-ho, baby. Find a foe. I love the story of Magic Johnson and Larry Byrd. They first meet when Indiana State is playing Michigan State in the national championship and Magic and Michigan State win and for the next 20 years or so, Magic is a foe when it comes to Larry Bird and by the way, Larry is a foe when it comes to Magic Johnson and they looked at each other as the person they had to beat. Every single year, guess what happened? [0:13:15.1]
They kept growing and growing and growing and developing and changing. If you're an athlete - I don’t care if you're 8 years old or 80 years old - if you're an athlete, find a foe. Find somebody that says that you can't do it. Here was my foe, a 12th grade counselor - God bless her - but this 12th grade counselor told me, "Ricky, college isn't for everyone. Working on the ship docks, that's honorable." Well, four degrees later, I would like to thank that woman because she was my foe. I'm thinking of a person right now that was in the Navy, falls in love with this beautiful woman - these folks happen to be my friends, I won't use their names, but watch the point - he falls in love with this beautiful woman. He goes home to meet the parents and the dad is completely opposed. [0:14:04.8]
The dad's saying things like, "You're in the Navy, you know, once you get what you want, you'll be like the rest of the sailors - you'll move on." And he says, "I'm going to show you," and for the next 25 years, tremendously successful in business, unbelievably successful as a husband, even more successful as a dad. I remember we were sitting down at a party and this man told me, "That future father-in-law became my foe. He was the person that caused me to grow." Friend, listen to me please, I'm begging you. Do whatever it takes to keep growing. Resist the temptation of being passive. You don’t want entropy to set in your life. You don’t want your life to reflect chaos and randomness. You want to live intentionally every day. Here's how you do it. You figure out a way, every day, to learn something new. [0:15:06.1]
I don’t care if it's during a weather report. I don’t care if it's watching Jeopardy, which I highly recommend. I don’t care if it's having a conversation with somebody. Sometimes the person that you least expect to learn something from is your tutor. Sometimes you can learn from a painful situation. There's this book by Samuel Chan who actually says those painful situations, that's the classroom for growth. But commit, this day, to learning something new. You'll always be about the business of growing and in those words of John Wooden, you'll be living today as though you're going to die tomorrow and learning today as you're going to live forever. Friends, until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick asking you the most important question I could ask you today, how ya' 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 best-selling 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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