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Rainn Wilson

Live to Serve

“Gratitude is always the best place to start with anything.”

I used to get really wrapped up in myself. I was always thinking, “What’s in this for me? Why should I do this?” All I was doing was serving myself.

It wasn’t until I started to shift my mindset that I really started to feel fulfilled. The moment I started serving others, that’s when I felt a change for the better in every way.

The truth is, the world isn’t about us. We are such a small fragment of it and one that will disappear in a short amount of time. If we want to be fulfilled, we need to look at what we can do to make the biggest impact.

Serving others allows us to make that impact. And when we do help everyone around us, they find ways to show their appreciation.

To dive more into this on this 5-Minute Friday, I’ve brought back some insights from Rainn Wilson.

You know Rainn as “Dwight” from the office.

He sat down with me to explain the importance of knowing your spirituality (whatever it might be) as it helps to inform your daily decisions.

We also discuss the importance of gratitude, and servitude, and how he tried living a selfish life – only to feel unfulfilled.

Discover all of that and much more, on Episode 648.

"This physical realm is just a way stop.”  

Some Questions I Ask:

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The #1 question people have (00:33)
  • How we need to work together (1:58)
  • Who you need to be thinking about (2:54)
  • How Rainn tries to look at things (3:55)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Connect with
Rainn Wilson

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:              This is 5-Minute Friday!!

Welcome, everyone, to this very special episode with the one and only, Rainn Wilson. That’s right, Dwight, from ‘The Office’, is in the house today. And I’m extremely excited to dive deeper behind who this human being actually is and wow, did he blow me away with everything he shared.

Rainn Wilson:               The number one life’s big question, and I know this isn’t a spirituality webcast per se, but the – I’m sorry to go here, but I’m going to go here – the number one big question is, “Is there a God or not?”

Because, as Thomas Merton says, who’s a fantastic writer, one of my favourite writers of all time, Roman Catholic writer. He says, “Either everything is all spiritual, or not spiritual at all.” So, there either is a creative life force that created us, has a purpose for us.

Lewis Howes:              Or it’s random.

Rainn Wilson:               Or we’re all a random assemblage of molecules bumping together, and for some reason evolutionarily, you and I developed these brains and we have these little headsets on and here we are having this conversation, and this is all just random chance and it doesn’t have any meaning, whatsoever, and whatever meaning happens is because we put our meaning onto it and then we’re dead, and, boom! lights out, and that’s the end of the show.

So, it’s either that, or there’s an all loving Creator and this physical realm is just a way stop. You know, we were in the womb for a while and we’re in our physical bodies in the world for a while and then our souls move on to whatever is the next phase and then the next phase and the next phase of, essentially, I suppose, maybe meeting this Creator.

So, if that’s what you believe, that puts your life in a very different context. Not to say that atheists or agnostics and people of faith can’t and shouldn’t work together, and that there’s so much that we share: we want to make the world a better place. We want to bring joy and love and inspiration to people’s lives, for the most part, and I think that the whole debate of…

I never want to get into a debate with an atheist, you know, it’s just so pointless, it’s not going to convince anybody of anything, but I think we have to find a commonality and a way to move together. But I do think that everyone has to go on the journey of deciding whether or not there is a creator.

Lewis Howes:              Yeah. What they believe in.

Rainn Wilson:               What they believe in. Because it’s going to inform your life choices.

Lewis Howes:              I just find it’s got to be hard, I don’t know, if you don’t believe in anything, you’re going to feel very unfulfilled, I think, throughout. You’re going to have a lot of those moments of unfulfilment. Maybe that’s what you were feeling when you were kind of even not connected to spirituality. It’s like, “What’s the purpose? What’s the meaning? What’s the reason?”

Rainn Wilson:               Well, what I believed in was self, and that’s not enough. If you just believe in yourself…

Lewis Howes:              It’s tough. It’s a lot of ego.

Rainn Wilson:               It’s a lot of ego, and that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be successful, I wanted to make money, I wanted people to like me and see me in plays. I wanted to play great roles and be seen and remembered for it, and that’s just a lot of self, self, self, self, self. And then it’s not about anybody else.

And I think it’s hollow, and I think what it did for me is, four or five years into my career, it just kind of rang hollow. It’s like, “Here I am, I’m doing the plays.”

Lewis Howes:              It’s draining as well, right? It’s exhausting, probably.

Rainn Wilson:               Yeah, just focussing on yourself all the time and self-promotion and trying to get a better agent, trying to get a better job, and it is, it’s pretty exhausting. So, what I try to do now, what I try to do and fail a lot – because I still have a lot of ego tied up in all this.

Lewis Howes:              What? Do you mean you’re a human being? You’re not perfect yet?

Rainn Wilson:               Oh, I’m not. I haven’t achieved that yet, I’m not a saint. I’m trying to look at things as more, as service, because you’ve started the conversation with gratitude, and I think gratitude is always the best place to start with anything. And what I always say to people who are lost is, “What can you do to be of service to someone else?”

And you told me, out in the lobby, before doing this podcast, that you really started this as a service, to have great conversations and to help people. And I feel that, and I felt that in listening to your podcast. This was not just you self-promoting.

You were really trying to help people with ideas and I appreciate that, and that’s been, it’s a tricky thing for an actor, because, “Oh, I want to act! I want to be in front of the camera and play great roles and get this attention on me.”

But I really do want to be a storyteller that makes a difference in the world, and even doing ‘The Office’, as silly as ‘The Office’ was, my favourite stories was when someone would say, like, “My sister was dying of cancer, and we would sit in the hospital room and watch episode after episode of ‘The Office’ and we would just laugh together, and we’d laugh until we cried.”

And the fact that we were able, through that show, to bring laughter to people, and bring joy to people, was very fulfilling.

Lewis Howes:               Hey, guys! If you enjoyed this inspirational clip from a past episode of the show, then you’ll love the free book I’m giving away right now. It’s called The Millionaire Morning. It includes some of my best tips for starting off your day with a millionaire mindset. Get your free copy at and just pay shipping.

Again, check it out right now,

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