Boomer Living Senior Living Broadcast

Richard Lui - How and Why Living Selflessly Can Bring Joy Despite Difficulty

April 25, 2021 Hanh Brown / Richard Lui Season 2 Episode 112
Boomer Living Senior Living Broadcast
Richard Lui - How and Why Living Selflessly Can Bring Joy Despite Difficulty
Show Notes Transcript

Do you want to make a difference in the world?

In this episode, I share my conversation with Richard Lui. He explains how living selflessly can change your own life for the better too!

Ordinary heroes can make small, practical choices and stop this selfish pandemic. Here are some tips on how and why living selflessly can bring joy despite the difficulty.  Living selflessly is not easy, but it can be rewarding. It’s about giving up what we think we deserve and instead focusing on what others need. We all have something to offer that could bring joy into someone else’s life.

Living selflessly will help you find happiness in difficult times because it's not about what you get out of it but what you give to others that counts. You'll be surprised at how much more fulfilling your life becomes when you start giving back without expecting anything in return. So go ahead, do something nice for someone today!

Timestamps:
[00:00] Pre-Intro dialogue between Richard and Hanh
[03:10] Introduction to Richard Lui
[04:02] Tell us a little bit about how you became a caregiver and how that experience changed the trajectory of your career in life?
[06:35] How did you decide to walk away from a dream job to help care for your father with Alzheimer's?
[10:32] You mentioned a little bit about the COVID impact. Now, what other effect has COVID had on your relationship with your parents?
[13:26] You've written a book called "Enough About Me". Now you detail, what you call is a selfishness pandemic. Can you explain what that means?
[17:20] Your book talks about selflessness, as being like a muscle that needs to be trained? What do you mean by that? And how can we train ourselves to be more selfless people?
[21:31] Growing up who, in your life was the model for selflessness?
[28:33] What could someone who grew up in a very selfish environment do to change their attitudes?
[35:06] What you describe is how selflessness and gratefulness are intertwined. Is that right?
[37:50] How is this that you find rewarding to take your journey and helping others?
[40:11] Where can the listeners find your book?
[40:48] Do you have anything else that you would like to share?
[40:59] Wrap-up

Bio:
Richard Lui
Veteran journalist Richard Lui has more than 30 years in television, film, technology, and business. Currently, at MSNBC and previously with CNN Worldwide, he is the first Asian American man to anchor a daily national cable news program, and a team Emmy and Peabody winner. In addition to journalism, Richard’s 15-year business career involves a fintech patent and launching six tech brands over three business cycles. He has lived, worked, and volunteered on every continent. Richard is a Celebrity Champion for the Alzheimer’s Association, Caregiving Champion for AARP, and Caregiving Ambassador for BrightFocus Foundation. His first book, "Enough About Me": The Unexpected Power of Selflessness, releases in March 2021.

You can find Richard on these social media platforms:
Skype: richklui
Website: https://richardlui.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rlui/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/richardlui/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RichardLui

You can find Richard's book "Enought About Me" on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Enough-About-Me-Unexpected-Selflessness/dp/0310362393/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=enough+about+me&qid=1619373284&sr=8-1

Richard:

What is it that we're going through as caregivers? We're really, I've gone through this discovery of my identity probably two or three times in the last eight years. Who am I? What do I care about? What do I want to do in life? And that led to "Enough About Me", the book. And it's about selflessness. And I'm no expert, but I knew that I was tested and I continued to be tested about how much I can give and how I, how to do it. And so the book was written for that idea of, as we lived as a journalist, I, cause that's the personal hat that the professional hat is, I've covered a lot of stories about a lot of bad people that are extremely selfish. And so I say there's a selfish pandemic and that why I'm seeing it now in more clear ways, more simple ways, if you will, because of having to ask myself what it means to take care of somebody else.

Hanh:

Where are you calling from?

Richard:

I'm in New York. How about you?

Hanh:

I'm in Michigan. Yeah.

Richard:

Go Blue. Yeah,

Hanh:

That's right. Go Blue all the way from Ross, right?

Richard:

That's right. It's a, it's an, it's a nice day here in New York. I'm imagine the weather's nice in Michigan right now, too. This is the good time in Michigan.

Hanh:

Yes, it is. It's actually beautiful. Yeah.

Richard:

I miss it.

Hanh:

How long were you in Michigan?

Richard:

Two years, and then I've I graduated in 2001 from Ross. And then what I did is I've been back probably 40 times in the last 20 years. Oh yeah. I come back a lot. Oh yeah. I love you can tell. I absolutely love talking about Michigan people always wonder, did you grow up there? Does what's up with that? And I said, if you go to Michigan, you will understand why, but I can't tell you until you go.

Hanh:

Yeah, I love the four seasons. However, in the winter there's been a few occasions when it's minus 20. As I am 65, plus I am not dealing with minus 20. I like to be somewhere for that four months of the year and then come back.

Richard:

Thanks for doing this.

Hanh:

Oh, thank you. Thank you for joining in this conversation, a very important topic, so I appreciate that.

Richard:

Okay, thank you. Now is it Hanh?

Hanh:

Yes, Hanh, Hanh Brown.

Richard:

Fantastic. I'm Lui.

Hanh:

Yeah. Lui? Okay.

Richard:

Richard Lui, yeah.

Hanh:

Sure, sure.

Richard:

You can asked me whatever you'd like, um, I'm completely open to it to anything, any topic you'd like.

Hanh:

Great. Great. All right let's get started. Richard Lui is a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in film, television, tech, and business. He's the news anchor for MSNBC and NBC news. He's currently the first Asian American man to anchor a daily national cable news program and a Team Emmy and Peabody winner. So Richard is a celebrity champion for Alzheimer Association, Caregiving Champion for AARP and Caregiving Ambassador for Bright Focus Foundation. He's also the author of a book "Enough About Me", which we will dive in a little later in the show. Caregiving touches life in a very personal way, and I'm very eager to hear more about his story today. So, richard, thank you so much for being with me today on Boomer Living.

Richard:

Yeah, Hanh. Thanks for having me.

Hanh:

Yeah. Thank you. So do you mind telling us a little bit about how you became a caregiver and how that experience changed the trajectory of your career in life?

Richard:

You know, Hanh uh, like most of us, we, we don't plan for this stuff and it just happens. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's eight years ago, I think. And. We knew that after not doing much, you know, it doesn't take a lot of research to know that it's, it can be very difficult for folks. And so we knew that we would have to change the way we dealt with him and the roles would change as well. And so that's that was the beginning eight years ago. And the way we found out that he was showing symptoms was when he forgot his siblings names and he came from I guess 13 total was the brood. And, they grew up poor set story of, one fish, a lot of gravy and a lot of rice. And you ate as fast as you could because if you didn't eat, there wasn't going to be any food for you. And his youngest sister came over to me during our Lui Christmas Gathering, which is. It is tough to remember names. I admit it cause we there's a lot of cousins. And I used to tell my mom "All right, who's the new cousin?" Cause I got up, knew it was a new second cousin really? Cause we'd have 90 to a hundred folks, at our Christmas gathering. And it was a big potluck, huge. So she pulled me aside and told me "Your dad's forgetting our names." And I knew then that, that was not common. He's always been forgetful. And so that's how we found out. And then he went into. The good thing about what he did is he was a little as, would be typical apprehensive about going to the neurologist. But then once he was in, he was like, okay, "I'm going to figure out how to deal with this. And I'm gonna, I'm going to work around it." And he did do that. And even, throughout his journey, he would tell people if he forgot something or somebody his name, he would say, "I'm sorry, I have Alzheimer's." And that was, I thought very amazing. That showed that he truly accepted that he had it and he was diagnosed with it and he wanted to do something about it.

Hanh:

I share some of your journey. I'm right there with you. My mom has the later stage of dementia and my dad pass away from it too. And how we found out that he had, it was, he got lost and he was just wandering. He was wandering. Okay. So, yeah. How did you make the decision to walk away from a dream job to help care for your father with Alzheimers?

Richard:

That description that you had, you just gave me Hanh of your father wandering. Well, that was one of the concerns. And cause his walks, were very important. He'd go down and buy his donut his Apple Fritter then he'd go down to the Subway Sandwich and get his six inch tuna fish sandwich. By the way, I don't know why he, well I do you know why? I have an idea of why, cause he made tuna fish sandwiches, his entire life as a social worker. I was always wondering you must be tired of eating these things because it was what we could afford, canned tuna. And he would make it every night for the next day, it would be canned tuna fish sandwich. So, when he first retired, he did not eat much tuna fish. But then as Alzheimer's progressed, it became his comfort. Cause with Alzheimer's given that you and I share that journey is they start to only remember the stuff that's older, not the stuff that's newer. So, he was remembering, "Oh, tuna fish. That's right. That's what I have." And he only got lost once in that walk, and then we just realized we needed to walk with him. And that's very symbolic that we won that we had to walk with him, which meant that my full-time job in New York, where I'm sitting at right now would have to change if I wanted to walk with him in his journey, with Alzheimer's. So I walked into my boss's office knowing that I wanted to walk with him. And I, as a journalist, I knew it's an eight day a week job typically. I could be sent to anywhere, and I had been. And that, I expect her to say, "We like you Richard, but this isn't going to work, Cause we can't have it that you only work." But she, instead she said, "I'm taking care of my mother too. And she is in Florida and we're both in New York, so let's come up with some ideas." And it really was a selfless notion that she decided to make her life a little bit more difficult for me. And I was able to be part of, the business still. And I've been now traveling. I work Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and I've been traveling two or three times a month to go back to visit my mom and my dad in California. And that has been up until the last year because of the pandemic. What I typically would do, I'm going to fly out for the first time in a long time to actually be there physically. Now that my mother and my myself were vaccinated, next week. So it'll be first time in a long time, we've seen all of these reunions that have been going around and we're realizing right, Hanh that the simple things are all of a sudden reemphasized about how special they are. I haven't been able to see my father or my father is very right now, easier ate. He reacts to physical touch quite well. We have not been able to see him physically nor hold his hand or put our hand on his forehead for over a year. That really is been so tough for so many families. I understand it's tough for me too.

Hanh:

The words that you use, you took my vocabulary.

Richard:

Yep. It's a, and so many families as, you know, Hanh and have lived through it. So, I although mine is a caregiving lack of humanity, if you will not doing the human things. As a journalist, when I watched so many families lose their loved ones and they haven't been able to do those very basic things. Our examples are just a microcosm, but there's that part of me understanding, and as all of us do as caregivers. We understand the loss at so many people have had to the level of not even being able to let go if there's a word properly. That you and I know because we care for our parents. Imagine being in those situations.

Hanh:

You mentioned a little bit about the COVID impact. Now, what other effect has COVID had on your relationship with your parents? You mentioned that your father is in a nursing home and you are on your way to visit him with your mom. Is that right? So, is this your first time, you said?

Richard:

Yeah, I haven't. I went back twice once, right at the beginning when we didn't know what was happening. But I did stay away from her. Like I, I stayed in she lives on the ground floor and I stayed at the top floor of a typical skinny home that I grew up in, in San Francisco. And then I would bring food and we'd sit outside in the yard and we would eat. And that was basically it. And I would, I did that twice. We had a rule cause you know how it's different state to state with that? If so long, if I didn't stay there for more than 24 hours, I didn't have to quarantine. And because I still go into 30 Rock every weekend, I couldn't be stuck in a quarantine, otherwise I couldn't work. So, we had the 24 hour rule. So I went and I flew in, in the morning, so my mom had lunch through a window. I sat in the street, she sat inside and then I went to see my dad through the window, and then I flew out that night to come back to work. So, it's changed. Yeah. The tough part is, with you're, you're similar journey is that this is the toughest on those who are older because they're used to going out. That was the, that keeps them moving and healthy. And my mother not being able to go out has really weakened her, unlike you and me we will bounce back. If we're stuck inside, we can maintain muscle tone. But for my mom, who's in her mid eighties, that this has been very difficult for her physically. She used to go out and shop on her own. She would get in her Prius and drive down and go get her ground beef and her favorite bread and all this stuff. And she loves turkey sandwiches and she'd go buy her turkey and get the lettuce and the nine yards and those simple things for our families around the world who are in their mid eighties, it's the toughest on them because they can't keep the muscle tone. So, my mother has fallen twice in during COVID, two or three times, actually, because of that. That mobility issue, and I, my heart goes out to all the families around the world that have had to deal with that because they don't get that back. So like I've we have set up cameras Hanh in the house, in the apartment so that we can watch her. Originally it was from my father, now we watch her to make sure she's okay.

Hanh:

Yeah. Wow, same here. We have cameras that at any second we know what's going on and have other family members nearby to come. It is tough. Gosh, I don't know what more I can say. It's you have to walk through their journey to really understand it. And I got to tell you, depending on what stage of dementia your loved one is in from my mom, it's at a later stage and you don't know how much they will remember when-you-don't see them. Okay so you've written a book called "Enough About Me". Now you detail, what you call is a selfishness pandemic. Can you explain what that means?

Richard:

Yeah. This journey with caring for my dad opened up a lot of eyeballs in my head. And as it did for you too, I'm sure. And continues to open up sorta doors, I didn't know were in there. And one of those topics was around w what is it that we're going through as caregivers? We're really, I've gone through this discovery of my identity probably two or three times in the last eight years. "Who am I? What do I care about? What do I want to do in life?" And that led to "Enough About Me", the book. And it's about selflessness. And I'm no expert, but I knew that I was tested and I continued to be tested about how much I can give and how I, how to do it. And so the book was written for that idea of, as we lived as a journalist, I, cause that's the personal hat that the professional hat is I've covered a lot of stories about a lot of bad people that are extremely selfish. And so, I say there's a selfish pandemic and that why I'm seeing it now in more clear ways, more simple ways, if you will, because of having to ask myself what it means to take care of somebody else. And it's the shootings. It is the way people treat each other. It's the words we use. And it is also a racial pandemic, for the Asian-American community, Pacific Islander community, that I'm a part of. I I don't know what's happening, but I do know what's happening and it, with the African-American community, with George Floyd I don't know what's happening, but I do know what's happening. And when it comes to the viral pandemic where folks were, like my mom was, I was mentioning my father I'm very grateful for the caregivers. They all wore masks around them and they took care of my, my, my parents. And but those who didn't during that period, when it was just basically not an issue of their health, but potentially my parents, and others of their age. That's also to me selfish because I would wear one, even though I didn't think I needed one, but I'd do it around my parents and other folks, Cause I knew that potentially that could be carrying it. I didn't know the answers and not many of us did. And still there are some questions around it. So, all of that together here Hanh said to me, we're living in a selfish pandemic of a time where we're we got a rethink about what it means to care about other people. And the book "Enough About Me" is a sort of an anti self-help book to try to combat that, to try to do little things, bite-size things to nibble away at this selfish pandemic.

Hanh:

I echo that it sure is. Over the year I see people talk about whether it's political, racial, spiritual and all that, I think in my opinion it's an issue with what's in your heart. It's even beyond political and racial. I think it's, what's really in your heart and how you treat others and how you value people's lives.

Richard:

It was shocking, right? When we saw senior citizens being pushed over and then their families, some of them forgiving those who did it. My father was pushed over four or five years ago during, in the Bay area. There was another period where people were doing that for fun. And I didn't think to say anything. I didn't think he was part of it. I don't know if it was racially motivated. I have no idea. I'm glad that everybody is starting to learn to not just be as bystander. Not participating, but now saying things like that "Don't do that.", Or, "Why are you doing that?" That I think we're all learning that it's important to say something. This book is as a part of not being a bystander. It is about saying, ", Hey let's rethink this."

Hanh:

Thank you. Now, your book talks about selflessness, as being like a muscle that needs to be trained? Now, what do you mean by that? And how can we train ourselves to be more selfless people?

Richard:

Yeah. The idea is that it came when I was thinking about all these great people that were, in hospitals going to work. And why were they going to hospitals when they knew that didn't know all the answers? I didn't understand that. And, but I did the same time. But they did it because they had muscle sets on, of going into hospitals every day and putting their own health in at risk because there's all these other, diseases floating around when they did it for us. And that muscle set, when it came to the viral pandemic, we didn't know what COVID was. And they still went to work. You saw all the videos of them holding up their phone. They're talking in a car and they're not. They're sad because their families' losing their loved ones and they can't bring them together. They're sad because they lost a fellow coworker. They're worried because they don't know what the, whether they have enough masks. And what do they do once they're done with that phone, and they're done talking to people like myself, they go right back inside the hospital. And that is that the idea of a muscle set, right? They built up the muscles to help people to be selfless, to give to us. And so the idea of muscle tone is in the book, the entire approach is very blue collar to, if you will, a white collar idea. How do you get it done? How do you, it's an instruction manual. We give little tidbits that you can try to do to build up the muscle tone so that when the big things happen, like with these healthcare workers, They do, we make the right decisions for the big things that are sometimes tougher to decide on. And they were so inspirational all around the world in terms of what they've been doing.

Hanh:

Yeah, you're right about that with the healthcare, the frontline staff being selfless. And you also touch an area that I can relate to. My brother-in-law, my sister's husband. He died. He's a physician. And he took an oath to care for his patients, even when they are in ICU with COVID. Even with his compromise lungs that he had, a year ago with a blood clot, he took an oath. He still went into the ICU COVID to help them.

Richard:

And-That-is, that is what we. That's the inspiring thing, Hanh that we all saw around the world. Like your brother-in-law what's his name?

Hanh:

Steve. Dr. Schlabach, yeah.

Richard:

So Steve, Dr. Steve Schlabach is one of those, I call themselves selfless heroes. They are one of those mother Teresa's and Desmond Tutu's. There, those folks that rose to the occasion when, we needed them. And so, that is the flip side of this selfish pandemic are people like Dr. Steve Schlabach, who stood up and all of those healthcare workers that did that. In the book, I talk about somebody similar to Steve. And he drove from Colorado to New York. He was a retired paramedic and once he saw in New York, you remember in March and April of last year, we were in so much trouble. And I was sitting here at this very seat and I'd hear sirens every night, every day through this window. And he came here to sign up, volunteered to help the ambulance drivers. And he drove for 30, 30 days. And then he signed up for another 30 days as he was finishing the first 30, but then he had symptoms. And he never made it to the next 30 days. And he, but he came here to help us. That's the amazing people like Dr. Steve. And the flip side of the selfish pandemic is we've got these amazing people that show you got a muscle tone showing up every day to help people. And that when the big thing happens, like Dr. Steve, you rise. Really amazing stuff.

Hanh:

Yeah. Yeah. So, growing up, who in your life was the model for selflessness?

Richard:

Yeah. It was interesting because I'm a pastor's kid. My dad's a pastor. And I thought I was going to be the world's youngest, apostle at the age of 12 or 13, tried to save people. And quickly learned I was not that person. And then I quickly became the opposite if you will, because I rejected what my father was trying to do, not him, but the religion that he loved and hugged so much and professed. But I learned as I got older that his imperfection, cause he was not, he was not the perfect guy. He though I thought he should be, cause he was a pastor, and I quickly learned he wasn't. Super imperfect. And my mother too was also an inspiration because what I saw my father was vulnerability. I talked earlier about how he was very open to say, "I have Alzheimer's.", right Hanh. And that was his mantra. Like when he couldn't handle it, he was very open about, "I can't handle it. I'm weak. I am sad. I'm happy." That is what he taught me is about to, is to try my best, to be open, to saying what I'm going through and to be vulnerable up to a productive point, which was a great lesson to me. My mother, on the flip side she was a professional, selfless person. She stayed home to take care of us. She was the youngest daughter and her family. She had to cook and clean. There were seven siblings. She was the one, of course that did all that. She had to work at the corner store. She had to close the corner store. She had to do the books. This is, she grew up in LA. She had to study between midnight and 2 AM. Cause that's the only time that she didn't have to be the youngest daughter in the family, and do all those things. And she didn't, she never brought that up. I had to go to her maybe 10 years ago, Hanh and say, "Hey mom, it was because in your family, the youngest daughter was here expected to do that. That's why you're a night owl. That's why I like to do things at midnight." She said "I guess so." And so, she was the primary caregiver for my father. She gave of herself too much. And in the book I talk about unmitigated selflessness where we. There was a line, just like that, we should not cross very often where we give too much. Because just like that video in the airplane of putting on your oxygen mask first, and then the one that you're caring for, that's what she forgot to do. And when my father finally needed to be moved to a care facility, a care community, that's when we saw my mother, cause she had been working on adrenaline for two years, taking care of my dad. And once my father was moved into the care community, we saw her weakness. We saw her, how tired she was. We saw that she had lost one of her loves his music, Hanh. And so, she had been singing in a church choir since she was 12 or 13, played instruments, guitars, and she was learning violin. But when she started to care for my father, she stopped music. She forgot her songs. And that was giving too much of herself. And now you'll be happy to know she is restarted her violin lessons and smiling ear to ear as she tries to relearn that love. But the two of them without shaking a finger at me are the ones that I think I learned what it means to be selfless.

Hanh:

Wow. Thank you. Thank you for just being forthright in sharing the heritage that your mama did preserve in you. So, that's wonderful. You mentioned the line or that boundary of knowing not to cross. It's easier said than done. I think perhaps because of it could be a cultural. I know it's very difficult for my mom to come to a realization that my dad, had, was ill and then she couldn't take care of him. And, It had a lot to do with cultural because with the Asian culture, at least for our upbringing, I just remember that it was instilled in us to take care of our elders. So, to come to that decision, very tough. And by the time that you do realize it it's a crisis I try to tell folks who are not in that crisis mode. "You have to have those conversations earlier on in life because the sooner that you have those discussions because there's so many moving components that's going to impact you. For example, naturally it's the declining of health the finances. What budget you have. To know what services you can get help, and who's your power of attorney?" And there's just so many, okay. But here's the thing All of them will impact your wellbeing. The sooner you discuss and have a plan and recognize that it's not something shameful the more options you have. But what happened to us is that we discussed it too late, and the options were fewer. And I'm the youngest of 10. Imagine the dynamics that come with 10 siblings, 10 spouses, and like 30 grandchildren. Oh, I laugh about it now because I wanted to share with you. It's been a long journey about eight years for me as well And I do, eventually you come to a place where time will heal and acceptance is part of that healing. And I think laugh, laughter will heal. Because along the way, let's face it, we're all losing somewhat of our mental being, wellbeing even before COVID, okay. We're imperfect people, and I think COVID showed that we are even more imperfect. So, I learned to laugh about myself. I learned to laugh at crisis in life where my mom is at in her later stage of dementia. It is not to undermine anything, but it is to find the humor and instill honor and respect and have a healthy relationship with her. Does that make sense?

Richard:

I totally agree. Laughter. What I say is I, han that I've learned how to cry harder and laugh harder and cry at different things and laugh at different things. And the one line I use often is to find joy despite difficulty. And we certainly, like you have done that in our family. We have laughed more heartily than we ever have. We've also have cried, more deeply.

Hanh:

Yes. Yes. And there's nothing like a good cry. I actually encourage that. My children may not understand that. They're older. I got 18, 21, and 24, but they do. But like I said, there's nothing beats a good cry and you need it. Okay. So, on the other hand, what could someone who grew up in a very selfish environment do to change their attitudes?

Richard:

Yeah. I'd say there's a couple. First of all, don't think like we need thought we did some original research for the book and we surveyed, we worked with a scientist out of uh, university of Wisconsin. Sorry, a Badger. I know. And then what we did is we looked at what we, the way we define, what selflessness is and what it means to be selfless. Now, we're talking about maybe 76% to 90% in that range for both of these questions. Is it is it is doing selfless things in bite sized ways, doable? Yes. And does it, okay if you, that you agree with that, according to the poll most Americans agree with that statement 70 to 90%. I don't have the number in front of me. Then we followed up by asking, "Okay, does it mean a full change in lifestyle? Does it mean like the equivalent of, changing your diet?" If you will, or "Moving to a different part of the country?" And the majority also thought that's what it meant to be selfless. And the reality is it's doable in bite size ways. And so for those who want to access, that idea is to start small. It's not mother Teresa or desmond Tutu, as I brought up earlier. It is doing something that we make a conscious decision, as we look, we were looking into that for the book to research. Okay. "How often do we make decisions?" And about every 15 minutes, we make a conscious decision. So, when we make that decision, like after this gathering you and me, I'll be thinking, "Okay, it's getting close to, having lunch. What should I have for lunch?" And the way to think about that differently is do I, "Can I get you a lunch Hanh, or can I donate a meal to somebody?" Those are the bite sized things we can do. Or let's go further on it. One chapter is called "Three lunches." Do I go to lunch with somebody that is very different than myself to try to bridge the gap" And I'll get into what "Three Lunches" is after this, but the idea is what can we do in bites? Another way is to share a story on your social media, about somebody who is selfless. Maybe it's a Good Samaritan that you read a great story on. Share that story. So, there, and by doing that, you're thinking outside of yourself, you're sharing also a lesson for other people to embrace, to say "That's a good thing to do." "Three Lunches" is the idea that, Stanford had a study that looked at people that didn't like each other because of their ethnic background. And they looked at hundreds of pairings of people like this. And then they had them have a lunch together or a coffee or a gathering three times. And before that the measures of prejudism were this high, like very high. At the end of those three meetings, it was like just above zero. That's something that's really accessible is just to have a lunch or a coffee with somebody you don't necessarily think you share stuff with. And then that prejudice will go almost two to zero. That's something easy to do, go have lunch. And that is been proven in this study at Stanford. And boy, wouldn't the world be a better place if we just did that?

Hanh:

It's sure is. And like you said, those are very, they're small steps, right? Very doable day to day, especially now when the economy is easing into a reopening. I don't know about Michigan. I don't know about the other States, but in Michigan we're actually tightening it up, back up again. But I, I hear what you're saying. Take small steps. Cause I think what you're ultimately doing is discipling folks to be more giving and more considerate.

Richard:

And part of that Han is showing gratitude. That is a selfless effort notion. It is a cousin. Gratitude is a cousin of selflessness. Thank you Hanh, for having these conversations, people need to hear these conversations. And the more we do, I think we become better folks. Now, me thanking you for that is real. I do thank you for that, but we need to do that more often. It, gratitude even in a business context, it's shown that gratitude expressed by leadership increases. Efficiency or productive productivity by 50%. The "Three Lunches", in a business context, you could say Let's say I'm a salesperson and I come back to you Hanh and you're my supervisor. And I say "That lead is dead. I met with them not going to happen." Then, but what you could say to me is "Did you meet with them three times? Did you have, did you go to the conference and say 'Hello to them?' Did you ask them to go to coffee? Did you buy them a lunch?" I bet you, if an, even in a sales context, if you have that rule of three, like that was out there, that you probably have a higher hit rate. So, there's a bunch of different ways of looking at, these little things in both personal, but also what we do in our work.

Hanh:

I agree. And I think often, when I'm placed in that kind of situation, where I might say "That's not gonna work.", or, have an attitude that something may not be favorable, let's say. I think I asked myself this often, is it me that determine the outcome of this? Or is it something that it's creating in my mind? In other words my attitude towards that created, or at least in my mind thought it was unfavorable. Was it really, or can I reverse that? I say there was something positive from it. And this is what I need to do to continue to cultivate that. So, it's in your attitude and it's the outlook of the situation. And also, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Because when you give them the position where they empower your being, I would say, "Hold off. If you're going to do that, make sure that it's a positive empowerment", right?

Richard:

Absolutely. Yes, and that's the whole idea is what can we offer that's product productive. That is uh, practical, which has been the approach of this, what I call an instruction manual. The way we put it together was to be very, like that unmitigated selflessness I brought up earlier, there's that checklist that you can score yourself. There's also a checklist to score how selfless you are. So, we want to know what your starting benchmark is. You can do that and then you can take it again in months and determine, "Okay, what's my score?"

Hanh:

That was my next question. So this, what you describe is how the selflessness and gratefulness are intertwined. Is that right?

Richard:

Yes, that's right. Gratitude is the very close cousin of selflessness and they're all in the same family. And I, when we wrote the chapter 17, which you're talking about just gratitude. We really approached gratitude. Later in the game, if you will, when we're writing the book. But we knew that it was so important and the way that we laid it out, which I just gave you some of the statistics that we found that related to why we do it. There's different ways. There's gratitude apps for instance, that I started using when I began the book. And you should try them out, there's two or three of them and you just basically, you get a little prompt to say, "What are you grateful for today?" And then when I was looking back at what I'd write, some days it would be. "I'm grateful for my mother. Who's taking care of my father and my sister. Who's giving her heart and soul to help my father and my mother and their journey. My brother, who is there today to bring food to my mother." Other days it'll be "I'm grateful for water and electricity. I'm grateful for air and that I can have this, fresh air because there are many folks who don't have that. I'm not grateful because I got it and others don't. I'm just grateful cause I'm grateful for having it." It's not, if you don't have it, therefore I should be grateful for it. That's not the way I see it. So, I wanted to just clear clarify that. The gratitude apps are really fantastic. And there's also maybe you've heard of, this is the Gratitude Letter, which is a letter that you write, really. You write it for somebody and then you read it to them. And it's proven that the oxytocin and the dopamine, the happiness chemicals in our body go up, not only for the time you're reading it to that person, but for a month, and for both the person that wrote it and that is hearing it. And that is, those are some of the things that we dig into in the gratitude chapter. So, thank you for asking that, Hanh.

Hanh:

It's effective. I love what you're saying. It could be a letter or a note. I know I love getting it. Not, I don't get it that much, but I love getting it from my family. It's a reminder that, your loved one pause in their day, took time to write a small note. And I got to tell you, it comes with more weight than a text. I, we do too much with the texting, something that's more original that took time to write. I think that's wonderful. So, I know that you mentioned caregiving has impacted your life. And I know you are spearheading many efforts, to share your journey and help all others to take on their new journey. So, how, how is this that you find rewarding to take your journey and helping others?

Richard:

I think it's a big team effort and I want to be on the team to help things get better. So, I, just doing my little bit, This is very much a sense you're sitting in Michigan right now. It's very much of a Midwestern value I think is, "Let's get it done together." And it's certainly what I learned and what I take forward from my education when I was in Michigan as well. And so, that's my approach. The book was put together with 10 people working on it. And I'm thankful for all of them. In the book I have a cartoonist. There's cartoons in there in the back, there are four poems. I don't know if he made it that far, but yes, there are poems and I've, I guess I'm a wannabe poet. There are graphics in there that are put together by two people I've worked with his journalist for a long time. The cover, which has all these dots on it. Done by a great artist that I met. And it signifies how all lot of little things of people helping me make me whole and vice versa, the little things we give as a person to others. She did a fantastic job Lerain, is her name. She's another member that we went through many covers to come up with this concept and the idea of how do we become whole and what makes us whole. It's through the daily little things we do for people. It, that idea of being part of the team, the collective that can make things happen was approached in the book as well as approached in the way I feel what this book might mean. There's so many other people that are smarter and have bigger voices, and I realize that. And this is just one little bit to, to be part of, I think, what is the good stuff? I don't have the biggest voice nor am I the smartest, nor am I the best writer, but might as well add to the efforts to make things better.

Hanh:

I'll tell you. I thank you, so much to share your journey and also to have this conversation and speak openly. I think that's the key is to really amplify the message, and to share with others that "If you're on this journey here's mine and we're here to commiserate and support each other." I thank you so much. Where can the listeners find your book? It's on Amazon, right?

Richard:

Yeah, and all your local bookstores and the places that you normally go to. In fact, I'll be having a book event at Literati in Ann Arbor. Coming up in coming weeks or just nailing down the date. Yeah.

Hanh:

Let me know. 10 minutes away.

Richard:

There you go see. Yeah, we're trying to figure out where are these book events can be done physically. And if Literati has a mix of that because of our the grace that's been given upon me is that, having a vaccine is really great and if it's safe to do so, I will, of course be there.

Hanh:

Awesome. Um, do you have anything else that you would like to share?

Richard:

Just thank you for taking the time, Hanh , uh, to you and your entire team for doing this. The voices and the faces that are behind the camera, right?

Hanh:

I appreciate this.

Richard:

No, thanks for taking the time and enjoy the rest of your Tuesday. Keep on doing this.

Hanh:

I look forward to when you are next here, let me know.

Richard:

I will Hanh, thank you so much. I'll see you at Literati.

Hanh:

Yeah. All right. Take care.

Richard:

All right. Bye-bye.

Hanh:

Bye-bye.