The Joseph Group

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout

August 14, 2020

To Inspire:

Rick Rigsby, a minister, motivational speaker, author and former college professor, gave the graduation speech at a commencement ceremony at Cal Maritime a few years ago. At the time, he had four degrees and his brother was a Judge, but he considered his father to be the wisest person he had ever met. And his father dropped out of the 3rd grade to go work on the family farm!

His Dad was a cook in the Navy and left the house at 3:45 AM every day for 30 years. When asked why, he said maybe one day my boys will catch me in the act of excellence. You are what you repeatedly do so make it a habit and not an act.

He also taught his boys to always remember to be kind and “make sure your servants’ towel is bigger than your ego.” Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity. Pride is the burden of a foolish person.

Rigsby shared another anecdote involving John Wooden, arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time. Coach Wooden was often found holding a broom and sweeping the gym floor. If you want to make an impact, find your broom! Every day of your life, find your broom and grow your influence.

Here are the main lessons Rick’s Dad taught him:

  • Don’t judge
  • Show up early
  • Be kind
  • Make sure your servants’ towel is huge. And used!
  • If you’re going to do something, do it the right way
  • It’s never wrong to do the right thing
  • How you do anything in life is how you do everything
  • Look in the unlikeliest places for wisdom
  • Ask yourself every night, “how am I livin’?”

I’m inviting you to take 10 minutes out of your day and watch the entire speech below. You will not regret it and you will not have dry eyes!

The Most Inspiring Speech: The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout Will Change Your Life | Rick Rigsby