Just One More…

Dr. Guy Riekeman, Chancellor of the Life University system, is a powerful speaker.  In this video, he weaves together his favorite (surprising) philosophers, country music and one of the loves of his life, movies, into one of his best recent graduation addresses.

Spend about 15 minutes watching – or read the transcript below the video – and be inspired to serve.


I’ve always…loved movies.

…some of the earliest memories I have of myself. I just remember every Saturday just bugging my mom unmercifully. To drop us off at the Highland theater on North Central Avenue in Albuquerque New Mexico and back in those days you paid your money to get in, but you always got to movies you got do a movie in a B movie. And my mom who had no interest in art whatsoever on that level we got dropped off while she was doing errands so typically usually, almost always, we were dropped off in the middle of a movie. And I learned to watch the end of the first movie. Then we’d see the whole second movie from beginning to end and then the second movie would come back on. We watch it from the beginning to where we picked up when we first walked in.

And then my mom would pick us up. And there are a lot of lessons in that one of which was which is why people see movies twice that if you know what the ending is going to be the beginning has a lot more meaning. You see things you wouldn’t normally see. So if you see a film twice, you usually see a completely different film the second go round. So my mind was wandering that this morning and I thought you know maybe we should spend a little bit of time doing movies music entertainment and sports for a few moments. And I was looking through some of my quotes. You know. I’m going to read some quotes from movies music entertainment and sports. And you know what? I think they have some great lessons in them. Take them for what they are.

I know I’m going to get both cheers and boos on the next one. But Nick Saban from University of Alabama…[audience reacts] I knew it. Last year, he told the boys when they were getting ready to play for the national championship, he said, “You boys deserve to be here. You worked hard. You deserve to be in the national championship,” he said, “but you are entitled to nothing.”

Docs, you deserve to be here. But you’re not entitled to success. Only the right the opportunity to go out and get to it.

And then one of the great philosophers of all time and one of my favorites, James Brown, said,  “Get up off of that thing and shake it.” Because you can do better.

And then maybe one of the most important things, he said, “I paid the cost to be the boss.”

You’re going to have to pay the cost when you get out of here. You want to be the boss and the only way to pay the cost is to get up off of that thing and get out and get to work. And that maybe the heir apparent to that – and I love the line from Kevin Hart, that he chats with his entourage before he goes on stage: “Everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to do the work.”

Everybody wants to be famous.

Nobody wants to do the work.

I read all the books on success like most of you have, Tony Robbins to Napoleon Hill. And you know what” While they all seem to have different formulas, we read between the lines.

There’s some basic commonality between all of them. One of them is that you’ve got to get up and go to work every day and work really, really, really hard if you want to be successful in life.

And then from American Hustle, one of my favorite movies, they said, “You’re either all in or you’re out.”

Let me tell you what: in life, in a relationship, in a marriage, in an office, you’re either all in – all the way in – or you’re out. You can’t dabble and be successful. And Kevin Kline said in one of his films, he said, “We never pick who we fall in love with and it never looks the way we expected.” Isn’t that true? Right? We never get to pick who we fall in love with. And it never looks how we expected. Hopefully our friends will be happy for us rather than worried about how it affects them.

And then I got a great little picture the other day, it shows a little gold fish in a big sea. And the goldfish has, strapped on its back, the tip of the shark fin and it’s floating near the surface. So you can see the fin and it says, “Even if you’re not brave, pretend to be.” You’re going to need to be doing some pretending on the way, when you first get in practice.

And then the film or TV series, that I tell every guy I’ve ever met in the world, you should never get into a relationship with a woman until you’ve seen every single episode – preferably a couple times – of all 10 seasons of Sex and the City because you don’t even have a chance to understand what’s going on. But I love what Carrie said one night when she said, “It wasn’t logic, it was love.” You know what? A lot of things in life aren’t going to make a lot of rational sense. But in the end, love will sort of bridge all of those gaps along the way.

And then there’s some country western songs that have great lines in them: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.” Right? That has to do with how you show up in life sometimes you don’t have to show up with a lot of noise. You just have to live by example and let people watch you.

And then one of the lines we tell students at orientation, or [rather] just before they finish their LIFE Leadership Weekend, there’s a line someone used…”You didn’t choose…”…”You didn’t choose chiropractic; chiropractic chose you.” I don’t have to tell you. The older I get, the more I see of this, the more I believe that to be true. Because when you listen to the stories about how people found their way here, it is remarkably different. There isn’t a clear path. So I love the line from the country western song, “God Bless the broken road that led you straight to me.” You follow me?

It’s a broken road.

But one last one, and this one is one I saw recently, and someone had asked Buddha what he gained from a lifetime of meditation. And Buddha’s immediate response was, ‘Nothing,’ that ‘I meditated my entire life and I didn’t get anything out of it. I got nothing,’ he said, ‘but let me tell you what I lost.’ He said, ‘I lost anger. I lost anxiety. I lost depression. I lost insecurity. I lost the fear of growing old and eventually dying some day.’

So it may not be all the work that you do…it’s not what you get. It’s what you lose on the way that may actually be the most important thing.

And then one last movie I want to spend a couple minutes on you can go see; it is still in theaters (note: now on Amazon). Phenomenal movie this summer. It’s called Hacksaw Ridge. True story. About a kid during World War II that felt an obligation to serve his country but because of his religion was not allowed to pick up a gun was not allowed to kill someone. But he enrolled and signed up for the whole deal. And the military put him in not knowing his commitment to his religion. And the day came when they were having target practice at boot camp and he refused to pick up a gun. And it went around for a while.

Should they court martial him because he disobeyed orders not picking up the gun. And they tried to get him to just leave the service so they wouldn’t have to deal with it. But he refused because he wanted to serve his country. And they said, ‘When you go into battle, we can’t leave you on the back line; you’re going to go into battle without a weapon.’ He said, ‘I came to serve.’

And they wound up on a South Sea island a particularly brutal battle. To understand this, you’ve got to get an image of what this was. They landed on the beach, the forces, the U.S. forces on the beach. But there was a cliff in front,  just a dead solid rock cliff that probably went up 15 stories, or 150 feet or so, and they had this massive rope hanging down so you can imagine.

And all of a sudden, they’d make decisions and they’d rush this wall and go up the rope. But as soon as they hit the top of that 150 foot cliff, within 100 yards of them, the Japanese were entrenched. And they were entrenched in cement huts with automatic weapons. They were dug in.

They’d been there a while and they just started mowing down Americans, one after another. And the Americans would have people dying left and right to gain a yard, a foot, of space on the edge of that cliff. And they keep beating them back down at the bottom they’d have the people taking care of them. And our kid who won’t pick up a gun rushes the rope with the people in his troop. They hit the top of the cliff. They fight for about a half of a day, a day. And literally almost all of them are wiped out. And what little ground they gained, they lost it and had to retreat. And he stayed behind. Because there was a person who is still alive. And he grabbed him by the collar and he drug them to the edge of that cliff. Tied a rope around them. Dug his feet head against a rock. And with that person’s body weight being more than his, with the rope slipping and cutting his hands, he lowered this person down to the beach where he could be helped. And then he got up and ran back in to the devastation. And grabbed another person whose legs were gone and grabbed him by the collar and pulled them 100, 150 yards to the edge of that cliff with Japanese all over the place.

Tied a rope around them, lowered them down. You know, watching the movie, I thought, he’s going to get three or four, maybe. And, he ran back in. And all of a sudden it was night. And he’d lowered scores of people that were barely alive down that cliff. And the Japanese would come and he’d take someone who is hurt and he’d cover them up with dirt and cover himself up with dirt as they walked a couple of inches away from their bodies. And as soon as they were gone, he’d jump out of the dirt and drag them 150 yards, put them down the cliff with his hands bleeding.

He didn’t stop because he was tired. He didn’t stop because it was the weekend, you know his weekends were his. He didn’t stop because some of those people hadn’t liked him; in fact, they actually hated him before they headed up that cliff that first day. He didn’t stop because he wasn’t getting recognition at the time, the recognition he thought he should get. In fact, it never crossed his mind. He didn’t stop because no one stayed behind to help him.

He didn’t stop because he had the best shoes or the best computer the best location. Those weren’t considerations.

In his commitment to himself and his maker, he got nothing from that except the absence of all of those things. And in the absence of all of those things, which is where most of the world lives, he was able to save person after person after person and lower them down that cliff. What he did have – what he did have – was a pact with his God. He had a commitment to others. And he had the integrity to honor his word and his belief systems to himself – God, others, and himself. What did he gain from the above? Nothing. Nothing.

But what he lost, was the fear that paralyzes people. What he lost, was the option to retreat. What he lost, were thoughts of quitting. What he lost, was putting himself first. And his mantra, when you see the movie, if you happen to go see it, his mantra is – after each person he lowered down, he’d look up to the heavens and he’d say, “Save just one more. Save just one more…” and he’d lower another body down.

And he’d say, “Just one more. Just give me one more to save.” [In an aside to Board members] River. Just one more. Just one more, Sharon. Kevin, just one more. Faculty, just one more. Just one more. Just one more. Just one more. Students, if you’re willing to take the commitment, to go out into the world – to save just one more… Will you please stand take the chiropractic oath?”

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Guy Riekeman, D.C.

Life University
Guy Riekeman, D.C.

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