Episode recap: Selflessness with Richard Lui

In the 20th episode of Joy Superpowers podcast series, we were honored to be joined by Richard Lui to discuss the topic of selflessness. Richard is an award-winning news anchor and journalist at MSNBC and NBC News, as well as columnist, speaker, filmmaker and the author of an anti-self self-help book, “Enough About Me – The Unexpected Power of Selflessness” (2021). You can find out more about Richard and his work through his social media handle @richardlui, as well as on his website richardlui.com.

The discussion during the episode mostly centers around Richard’s book. Here are some highlights for you to browse through in case you haven’t yet had time to listen to the full episode – which you absolutely should!

Selflessness has different meanings

When talking about what sprouted the idea to write, as Richard describes it, an “anti-self self-help book”, Richard mentions that his initial inspiration was the journey of caregiving for his parents. After a discussion with his agent, they decided to delve deeper and rather than just writing a book about caregiving, the topic of selflessness became an exploration for Richard – what does it mean to be selfless, other than not only thinking about yourself, and not making all your decisions based on what you get out of it? “I have my bouts and I have my fights and I have my opportunities to do better. Selflessness to me is that journey.”

Richard also shares his grievances about most self-help books, which are all about loving yourself and can seem very self-centred. While Richard agrees that of course it’s important to love yourself, he thinks that we can’t make all our decisions in life based on that notion of just loving ourselves.

“I have my bouts and I have my fights and I have my opportunities to do better. Selflessness to me is that journey.”

Richard Lui

Benefits of selflessness

Andrew mentions his amusement about the fact that the book, despite being about selflessness, talks a good deal about how being selfless can benefit oneself. Richard explains the research that him and his team were conducting in order to determine if selflessness could be the answer to some age-old questions often found in self-help books: How to live longer? How to make more money? How to look better? Surprisingly, selflessness might just be the key to achieving all of these things.

To summarize the extensive research that Richard and his team delved into, the data shows that if you truly lead a selfless life, you live longer by four years, you’re seen as more good looking by others, and you make up to 50% more money. Seems like quite the deal, right?

Selflessness requires training

Being selfless does not necessarily come as a natural instinct for all of us. Richard explains that for him, it takes a conscious effort to do little acts of selflessness for others that eventually train your decision-making muscles into choosing other people over yourself. He reminds us that nobody is perfect, but when you’ve built up this muscle memory and the big things happen, you’re able to leap. “We try our best and they’re not always these great miracles”, Richard says.

One important example Richard gives about being a selfless person at work is that you have to remember, it’s about team building and not about how you can outshine everyone else. “It’s about giving, it’s about being grateful, it’s about praising. It is about thinking about how we all do a good job together, as opposed to how do I shine and stand out compared to others.”

Intrigued by the topic?

To find out more about selflessness training, the methods Richard uses in his daily life, the research behind the benefits of selflessness and much more, we highly recommend you to go ahead and read Richard’s book “Enough About Me – The Unexpected Power of Selflessness.

Here’s a list of books that Richard recommends you to check out:

If you want to listen to the full podcast episode, you can find it here or on your preferred podcast platform by searching The Art and Science of Joy. Remember to subscribe to the podcast for more episodes on Joy Superpowers, and inspiration for you to start living a more joyful life!

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Further reading


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