by Ted Richards

Click to listen to the latest episode of The Richards Report featuring Hugh van Cuylenberg, the founder of The Resilience Project.


This episode I’m speaking with Hugh van Cuylenburg from The Resilience Project. The name might not be familiar to you, but Hugh has had a huge impact on some of the most famous names in Australia, including Australian cricketer Steve Smith, Brownlow Medallist Dusty Martin and Australian netball captain Caitlin Bassett.  I’m also excited about this episode because Hugh has actually had an impact on my life too.

Hugh was volunteering in India after playing cricket over there. He volunteered at a school for a couple of weeks that didn’t even have running water, but the people were the happiest that he ever met. Unknowingly he would go onto a journey to find out where real happiness comes from.

What did he find out?

The happiest people practise gratitude, empathy and mindfulness every day. He went on to do a Masters on this subject. He started doing free presentations at schools and the ripples of Hugh’s message started to spread.

Gratitude: The ability to pay attention to what you have rather than what you don’t have. It’s not waiting to be happy when you have the next best thing (be it new shoes or a new car).

Empathy: The ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. The more empathetic you are, the more likely you are to do something kind. Hugh says the older we become, the more we move away from looking out for others.

Mindfulness: Can be a buzzword in society these days but mindfulness is the ability to be calm and present. Often it’s sitting still, and potentially using an app like Headspace, Calm, Buddhify or The Resilience Project’s app to calm your body (see links below).

To make it a little easier to practise this, the Resilience Project provide individuals with 21-day wellbeing journals (suitable from four years old up). Last year 35,000 of these journals were sold.

The growth of The Resilience Project has been exponential. Hugh was working with primary schools when he was invited to talk to the Melbourne Storm. It was meant to be for just 30 minutes but it was an immediate success. The players asked for more and that year he spoke to them 22 more times.

That year he completed five presentations to every NRL competition.

Word travelled to the AFL, with Collingwood and then my former team Sydney bringing Hugh on board to speak, and that’s where Hugh and I first met. His message resonated with me and I try my best to practise gratitude, empathy and mindfulness (with varying levels of success!). The Resilience Project continues to grow and grow as the message spreads.

It has grown so much that as of mid-January 2019 he is already booked up for the whole of the year – so if you would like to book Hugh to speak at your school, workplace or sporting club then unfortunately you’ll have to book in 2020. However, you can buy tickets to some of his larger events throughout the year.

The way he delivers the message might change, but the messaging is exactly the same for professional athletes to primary school kids.


The Lost Connection by Johann Hari

This book talks about the importance of real connections in life. Whether you’re involved in Scouts, sporting clubs or church, all provide an important role in the community connecting people, but they’re possibly not as popular as they once were. Our phones are becoming more and more important, but these online connections we have aren’t replacing face-to-face connections.



App (itunes and android)

Public shows (more to be announced shortly)

Before I go, the podcast has recently ticked over 30,000 downloads and I’m very grateful to everyone that listens in.

The Australian Podcast Awards for 2019 are coming up and I’d be further grateful if you gave The Richards Report a vote.

I’d really appreciate it if you could please click here where you can give my podcast a vote. It will only take a minute. I really appreciate it!

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Published January 23, 2019