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"Enough About Me" with Richard Lui

Family Over Career

Seven years ago, Richard walked into his supervisor’s office at NBC’s 30 Rock headquarters. He told his boss his dad was not doing well. Having just learned of his father’s Alzheimer’s, Richard wanted to be with him as much as he could during his important last years, even if it meant setting aside his career. He was prepared to give up his dream News anchor job and join 53 million Americans in becoming a family caregiver. His boss was understanding of his situation since she too served as a caregiver to her mother. She was kind and accommodating with Richard and together they worked on a new work schedule for him. He would no longer work on a daily show or be sent to locations where news was taking place around the country and the world. His speaking schedule was cut drastically and his annual earnings were slashed. 

Richard’s decision to fight for his father reminded him of when his dad enrolled him in a martial arts class at nine years old because he was being bullied at school. Now it was time for Richard to step up and do what his dad had taught him.  He says, “I was presented with a challenge and decided to figure out how to help my dad. This prolonged illness is not what any of us would have chosen, but Dad is still teaching me through it. He is teaching me the unexpected power of selflessness.”
For seven years, Richard traveled two to three times a month to fly back home to San Francisco (one year he had 500,000 frequent flyer miles) to help care for his mom and dad. His siblings would also take turns to help with their care. Despite the difficult journey, Richard is grateful for humor along the way. For example, his dad would sometimes take twenty showers a day. Eventually, they had to shut the water off so he could not take so many. 

His dad is now in a nursing home. He cannot walk, talk, or eat food by mouth. When Richard visits his dad (prior to COVID-19) he wears a name badge that says, “Hi, I’m Richard your son.” During each visit, it has become a tradition to read a Bible chapter to his dad.  “Every time we read chapters of scripture to him it brings him back, keeps him closer to us, even if it is just for a verse,” recalls Richard. Currently, Richard is not allowed in the facility his dad lives in due to COVID-19 restrictions, but he still visits outside his father’s window. 

A More Satisfying Life

America suffers for a selfish pandemic because so much of the culture is focused on what’s in it for me. Instead of focusing on yourself, Richard encourages you to discover a more satisfying life by doing the following:

  • Do selfless things that de-stress your life. A study done in 2015 revealed that people who do more acts of kindness (big or small) throughout the day have less stress and improve their mental health.
  • Count your blessings or show gratitude - it boosts your own positivity as well as others positivity. It also reinforces kindness and strengthens your bond with others. 
  • Build selflessness muscles - muscle memory is what enables a person to ride a bike without thinking. When you train your muscles when performing an activity like lifting weights you are actually training your brain. Therefore, Richard says, “Maybe it is possible to train ourselves to have selfless muscles.” For example, by doing smaller selfless things we can get stronger and work up to bigger selfless acts. Exercising these muscles changed everything for Richard. As he watched the disease progress his dad forgot how to do lots of things like shaving. Richard took over this job among other tasks. “Caring for my dad has been a test of my selfless muscles,” shares Richard. He has also discovered that reporting on stories of race through the years (Rodney King and George Floyd) where people have been beaten or killed just because they look different has helped him develop a new selfless muscle – a new language to give voice to it. It has also helped him to see others better.

Richard has covered many stories of ordinary people who were self-sacrificing. Some of the most memorable are those listed below:

  • Peter Wang, a fifteen-year-old Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was killed on February 14, 2018 when a shooter fired bullets into the classroom. Peter did not run but held the door for his classmates so they could escape. 
  • Tiffany Parada, a mother of four, risked the lives of herself and family members to save strangers when they spotted a shooter on the interstate. With her four kids in tow, she drove past the shooter as he reloaded his weapon shooting at their vehicle, to warn others about the shooter. 

Richard's Info

Growing up, Richard’s family did not have a lot of money. His dad was a pastor and a social worker and his mom was a teacher. Each year his parents would send him to youth camp which is where Richard’s love for writing began when he and a friend created a daily newspaper. After high school he did not immediately go to college instead, he worked on a political campaign. He began college at twenty-two and soon after started his journalism career. Today Richard has more than 30 years in television, film, technology, and business. He is currently working for MSNBC / NBC News and previously worked with CNN Worldwide. At CNN Worldwide he became the first Asian American male to anchor a daily, national cable news show when he solo anchored the 10 a.m. hour on CNN Headline News (2007 to 2010).  He is a team Emmy and Peabody winning journalist. 

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