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Selflessness as the Key to Living a Better Life with Richard Lui

by | Jun 14, 2021 | Q&A

It’s easy for us to fall into the traps of selfishness, especially with everything that’s going on in the world right now. Why help others when you need to help yourself? However, there are people, who despite their situations, actively choose to be selfless. They go the extra mile to prioritize other people. These are the people who exhibit one of the greatest but most difficult powers to wield—the power of selflessness.

In this episode, Richard Lui joins us to talk about his thoughts about selflessness. He also shares with us his experience of being his father’s caregiver. With his years of journalism practice, he also mentions stories of people who exhibited selflessness and the beneficial effects of their actions in their communities.

Listen to the episode you want to find out how the power of selflessness and how it can give us a better life.

About Richard

Richard Lui is an Asian American journalist who has 30 years of experience in television, film, technology, and business. He’s currently a news anchor on MSNBC and NBC News. Richard was a former news anchor at CNN Worldwide. He became the first Asian American to anchor a national cable show on CNN Headline News.

In addition to his career in journalism, Richard has a 15-year business career involving patents. He has launched brands and been through multiple business cycles.

If you want to learn more about Richard you can visit his website and connect with him through his social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn).

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Learn how selfishness plays a role in making the pandemic worse for everyone.
  2. Discover how the media affects everyone’s actions, pushing them to act upon their selfishness or selflessness.
  3. Understand how being selfish or selfless is connected to your identity.


Episode Highlights

[06:19] Richard’s Relationship with His Father

  • Richard classifies himself as a caregiver primarily because of his father’s condition.
  • When his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Richard realized that he wanted to be there for his father.
  • His colleague introduced him to the idea of being a long-distance caregiver.
  • His role as a caregiver to his father sparked the learning for him about the meaning of selflessness. 

[11:07] The Influence of Media

  • Richard points out how much media has grown over the years. You can apply Moore’s Law to the amount of accessible data — doubling about every two years.
  • People can have opinions about what the media provides, but we have to be critical of the data we are getting for ourselves.
  • There is a variety of facts, opinions, and perspectives that are present in the media. 
  • Richard shares how important it is for journalists like him to get everything right in their news.

[15:50] Do We Have Plenty of Data Available to Us?

  • Richard says that we have too much data available to us, and it’s important for us to know how to properly manage these data.
  • He says that as people living in a society, we are trying to handle all of that data and not fail to get overwhelmed by this data.

[18:43] Facts vs. Opinions

  • Richard mentions that distinguishing facts from opinions in the media is one of the greatest questions for the past ten years.
  • News has been integral in strongly uniting a country. News allows people to engage in healthy discourse and build their democracy as a nation. 
  • Richard believes that the lack of local news outlets is one reason why people have trouble identifying what is true and what is not.
  • He says that we should spend more time analyzing what kind of sources we trust.

[27:00] Understanding Richard’s Heritage

  • He rejected the truth of his heritage early on in his life. Richard didn’t want to be seen as an Asian, and he wanted to be an American.
  • Later on in his life, he found out that his grandparents were illegal immigrants.
  • 20 years later, while covering news about illegal immigrants in the country, he realized that he has the same situation as the immigrant children.
  • He realized that when he rejected his heritage, he’s also rejecting his grandfather, who only wanted to live a better life and give his family a better chance at living in this country.

[35:00] How Our Identity Is Related to Selfishness and Selflessness

  • That experience made Richard look inwards and question his ways.
  • His experience empowered him to think more critically. 
  • It took him about 20 years to finally understand his own identity.

[39:29] The 80’s and Selfishness vs. Selflessness

  • Richard believes that past generations wanted to make everything simpler, easier, and better for their family.
  • Materialism suddenly boomed in the 80s because of people’s access to material goods. 
  • However, Richard believes that the fruits we are bearing now cannot be traced to a single generation alone.
  • He agrees that the 80s have a lot of influence on how we look at things in our life now.

[45:44] Catalytic Events Richard Experienced

  • When he was young, Richard believed that, as a pastor’s son, he had a great mission to save everybody. 
  • He realized that people are not perfect. This realization made a huge impact on his goal on his faith and spirituality. 
  • Another catalytic event that he experienced is when he was able to work at Mrs. Fields for four or five years. This experience gave him his business background.
  • These two experiences were definitive in Richard’s identity and on how he now views the world.

[50:06] Faith and Media

  • Richard shares that there are people he met in the last 15 years in journalism that are devout and people of faith.
  • Only recently did Ricard begin to openly share his faith.
  • He believes that anyone in any profession can be a person of faith.

[50:06] Richard on His Book, Enough About Me

  • The book is about vulnerability as Richard lays out all of his experiences for the readers to relate to. 
  • The topic of caregiving was discussed thoroughly with the agents when they were brainstorming for the contents of the book.
  • They realized that the core value of being a caregiver to others is the value of thinking about others or the Golden Rule. 
  • This value acts as an antidote to this selfish pandemic. 

[59:02] The Pandemic’s Influences on Richard’s Book

  • The term he coined as ‘selfish pandemic’ points to the selfishness of people who never thought about the health of others.
  • He shares stories of amazing people who helped people survive the pandemic—the people who acted on selflessness.

[01:02:21] Takeaway in Reading Richard’s Book

  • He wants his readers to realize that selflessness is a step a person must take every day. 
  • He relates this to the fantastic healthcare workers who despite being worried braved through every day.

[01:04:12] What Richard Learned through Writing His Book

  • He realized that he is a work in progress.
  • There are still moments in his life that he catches himself being selfish. 
  • He has to constantly remind himself to be selfless. 

[01:07:03] Questions that Richard Wants to Receive

  • Richard says that he wants to receive questions that ask him why people are still acting selfishly even though they know they should do otherwise. 
  • Richard mentions the usage of “give” and “get” words and how these affect people to be selfish or selfless.
  • Listen to the full episode to hear Richard mention studies about the benefits of living a selfless life!

5 Powerful Quotes from this Episode

[16:37] “And I think we’re in that arc of being data millionaires, and data billionaires. And we just need to learn how to grow into it, and manage it.”

[32:37] “And so I was ashamed just to talk about that one issue that was not rejecting those new immigrants—those new Americans—I was rejecting my grandfather. And that was the most frustrating for me, because I was saying, “Hey, you, you’re no good. I’m better than you.” And I was really pointing instead to my grandfather. How dare I?”

[57:19] “It is that core value of thinking of others, the golden rule, that which has been written a hundred different ways in the holy texts of the Christian faith and any other faith you can find. And that binding idea, we need a binding idea today. And we need something that doesn’t say this is better than that. We need something that says that’s an antidote to the selfish pandemic.”

[59:51] “So there’s the racial pandemic, there’s the viral pandemic, where we’ve seen, unfortunately, people acting in selfish ways, not thinking of the health of others. And then we have the very storylines that I’ve had to deal with that led me to say, in addition, how easy it is for us to hate on somebody to move to violence… And so that’s why all that together is where we went with this book, and what we try to share.”

[01:03:14] “But the only way we get to that strong muscle to do heroic things like that, I believe is that little step every day. And so the book tries to be an instruction manual, not way up here all the time in the clouds, but more on the ground.”

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