Make Yourself Weird – Only Get to Know Folks Like You

Matt Damon was interviewed by the Associated Press recently and made some comments about the upcoming Presidential election here in the US that made some headlines.

Now I am a fan of Damon’s work. If you ever get a chance to hear him talk about what he put himself through to get ready for his break through role in Courage Under Fire it’s hard to deny the guy is seriously committed to excellence in his profession. And there is no doubt Damon is one of the most bankable actors around.

I like watching his movies.

Fear of the Unknown

In the interview Damon expresses concern about Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin because he “doesn’t know anything about her.” And it kind of freaks him out.

Were that really the case (the lack of knowledge, not the freaking out) I suppose I could see where he’s coming from. But with the intense media scrutiny that Palin (and her whole family) has been under these last couple of weeks it seems a little strange for him to say he doesn’t know anything about her.

I suspect he really means something more along the lines of “I don’t know anyone like her or who values the things she does.”

Take a look for yourself.

People Different From Us

Now I’ll be the first to admit that there’s no one quite like Matt Damon in my current circle. Sure I’m taking some acting lessons. I even auditioned for a very tiny part in a movie staring Dean Cain that is going to be filming this fall. (No telling at this point whether I earned the part or not.)

But actors at Damon’s level aren’t folks I associate with right now. Nor do I really know what types of people Damon hangs out with.

That being said, I have a hunch that Damon doesn’t associate with many people who think like me. If he did he wouldn’t be quite so freaked out by the whole Palin thing.

Think about it. With my personal history of going to a state school, six years in Naval Aviation, a decade and a half working on the docks in the maritime industry, and a business owner, which of the two sets of candidates do you think I’m more like and might relate to better?

Expanding Our Horizons

There was a time when I only knew people who were pretty much like me. I joke that my own personal views are slightly right of Attila the Hun. Most everyone in my circle of friends were folks I worked with or went to chruch with. Back then I’d rather be right (as in correct) than have friends.

All that’s changed. Being in the tech field, most of the people I associate with see the world very differently than I do. I’m OK with that.

And now I’m dabbling with the whole acting thing. That’s another demographic that doesn’t see the world through the same lens that’s in front of my vision.

Actually I think it’s been very good for me. I’ve come to realize that there are merits to other points of view. I can disagree with people without thinking they are stupid or ignorant.

Associating with people who are vastly different than me has helped me gain respect for those I disagree with.

Bottom line is, when I only hung out with people who were like me I was a little weird. Well, really I was kind of a jerk to people who were different. I tended to be condescending and talked like everyone with a different view was unworthy of consideration.

Because I’ve been there I think I can give Matt Damon some advice. Expand your horizons a bit. Then you won’t find folks those folks who are so different to be so terrifying.

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Comments

  1. This reminds me of some advice I once got from a dear comrade that helped me in so many ways. If you want to influence someone or make a new friend, mimic the person’s behavior and mood. This will make people comfortable and create rhythm.

    • Hey Jesse, thats a pretty good idea. I guess by using this one, people will be able to shed their inhibitions more easily and become more friendly with us quickly. Well, actually it depends from person to person and from situation to situation.

  2. Well I can definitely say that I have fear of unknown. I need to make some changes in my life and I hope to find some role models to improve my life.

  3. I know people who are very similar to me and those who are quite different. Having a diverse group of friends is personally stimulating and self-improving.

  4. It’s good to know or surround oneself with good people period.
    It keeps all of us moving in the right directions.

  5. It’s super important to keep an open mind when meeting new people. This is a classic example of someone judging someone before getting to know them.

  6. Ah, I’ve just found the Why Do I Need It Page and now all my questions are answered! Thanks for the interesting and useful information. Written well worth waiting for the following posts.

  7. Well, Matt Damon has a point, but the whole political scene is nothing more than a whole circus show for us. On the other point, being different does get your recognized. But this is only a recent phenemon. Remember Pharrell Williams from the Neptunes? He was the weird, nerdy guy that came out of nowhere. His music was something that people have never seen before. Now, he is a house-hold name. No longer is the typical business making the real bucks, but new and innovative ideas. Who would have known that Youtube or Google would have been as big as they are now? Their ideas were new, and at the time, they didn’t have competition….and still don’t.

  8. Differences is what makes the world go round. I love having people around me with different views. Its makes me feel more educated on how people are and gives me another point of view to think of other than my own. How boring if everyone agreed wtih what I said right or wrong!

  9. “Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”

    –Anthony Robbins—

  10. I agree that it’s important to have an open mind when meeting new people. I love meeting new people but I still think at 21 and having been to university etc I still haven’t met someone I can totally relate to and call my “best friend”.

    It makes you think, just like theres a partner for everyone out there, has everyone got one person who they could be best friends with?

  11. Haha go Matt! (that matt, not this one!) I’ll admit I tend to be impressionable and non assertive to a point so try to keep negative influencers away. Good luck with acting, tried it once, but y’know, I prefer to be in regular work! will subscribe and see how it goes.

  12. Great video, you go Matt!

  13. The more people you know the better. Meeting with new people can lead to new opportunities and new friends. This story reminds me a core concept proposed by Dale Carnegie in the last century: people love to hear what they like, not what you like. This is a way leading to successful relationships with others.

  14. Opening your mind to different cultures and people can always shape your personality for the better!

    Thanks!

  15. Celebrities should keep there comments on politics to themselves. Keep to acting and looking pretty.

  16. My mom always tells me not to prejudge people. One of her favorite sayings is “perception is reality” and that is always paired with “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

    I liked Jesse’s comment above (#1). It really is a good idea to mirror the tempo and mood of the person you’re communicating with – really makes them feel at home.

  17. I wonder how much influence Saturday Night Live and MadTV had on this year’s election. When Governor Palin spoke at the Democratic convention, she was hailed as brilliant, but the lampooning started immediately thereafter. The commenter who said “perception is reality” is correct here, she was characterized as simple-minded and inept, the country’s perception changed, and the perception became reality.

  18. The “Don’t Judge The Book By It’s Cover” comes from the absence of the physiognomy knowledge as well as the body language knowledge. The majority of information during the conversation an average person picks up from the non-verbal clues rather than verbal ones. A face can really tell about the character. Learn the physiognomy and the body language, speak to a person for a couple of munutes and you’ll know everything about him or her.

  19. I totally agree with “15. Pink Boutique” :)

    Actors should be pretty, play nicely and keep their political correctness to themselves :)

  20. Great video, thanks

  21. I just wanted to say that i love all interviews with matt damon. go to youtube and watch them. he is such a funny guy :D

    Sebastian.

  22. I admired Mat Damon after he uttered those candid words. He’s one of a kind and know how to put his feet without stepping on others toe.

  23. This one is a classic.

  24. I don’t know why these actors think we care about their opinions. They are good actors, NOTHING else!

  25. I remeber matts video the day it came out. I must have watched it 100 times.

    I respects his views and love his acting.

  26. I remember also when this video came out. I also don’t really listen to what most celebs have to say because some of the stuff that comes out there mouth. But i had to agree with Matt on this one. Funny part was ” A very bad Disney movie”

  27. I happened upon this site while following the links from another site. Your site is wonderful and i bookmarked it. Thank your for the hard work you must have put in to create this wonderful facility. Keep up the excellent work

  28. It’s great video.. and i love all interviews with Matt Damon

  29. The video is no more available. Can some one please give a link to this video.

  30. Matt Damon is my favorite in Bourne Series, well I can sense in the movie he doesnt fear any of the unknown. But reality and movies are different and we cant control the real world, there is no 2nd chance.

  31. I think Matt Damon is a great guy. But I guess an actor should keep his comments on politics to himself.

  32. I remeber matts video the day it came out. I must have watched it 100 times.
    I respects his views and love his acting.

  33. I saw that interview and Matt D. was great. I don’t like his politics but he is at least genuine

  34. «The requested video is not available …» :)

  35. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I like ‘kids in the hall’ too…

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