“Cynicism is a disease that robs people of the gift of life.” – Rainn Wilson
Rainn Wilson (@rainnwilson) is best known for playing “Dwight” on NBC’s Emmy-winning, “The Office.” He has also acted in “Super,” “Cooties,” “Juno,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” and “The Rocker” among other movies. He co-founded SoulPancake, a media company that seeks to tackle “Life’s Big Questions.” He’s a board member of Mona Foundation and co-founded Lidè Haiti, an educational initiative in rural Haiti that empowers young, at-risk women through the arts. He is the author of the brand-new book, The Bassoon King, which is his laugh-out-loud memoir.
We cover a lot in this episode, including:
- The value of “as if” exercises from drama school
- Meditation practices, and what constitutes a “win” in a session
- The origins of SoulPancake and the Kid President video mega-hit
- Favorite books, documentaries, and movies
- Acting as therapy (even for non-actors)
- The basics of Bahá’í Faith and what Rainn would put on a billboard
- The Sexy Nostril exercise
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast with a cast member from The Office? — Listen to my conversations with BJ Novak. In this episode, we discuss creative process, handling rejection, and good comedy (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: When it comes to setting and achieving goals, what systems have worked best for you? What have you tried that has or hasn’t worked? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Explore SoulPancake:
- Watch more of Rainn Wilson:
- Watch Amy, the documentary about Amy Winehouse
- Learn more about Lidè Haiti
- The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson
- The Family Virtues Guide by Linda Kavelin Popov, Dan Popov, and John Kavelin
- Learn more about The Bahá’í Faith
- Watch The Act of Killing on Vimeo
- Apocalypse Now is another of Rainn’s favorite movies
- Connect with Rainn Wilson:
- SoulPancake and long-term goals for the company [8:15]
- What have been Rainn’s most challenging projects, and how has he prepared for them? [15:20]
- Does getting deep into the mindset of a depressed character help you fight depression in real life? [19:20]
- Rainn Wilson’s meditation practice [23:10]
- Exercises that could benefit non-actors to get outside of their own head [29:00]
- Rainn Wilson’s exercise habits [34:15]
- When you think of the word successful, who is the first person that comes to mind and why? [36:20]
- Most gifted books [42:30]
- In recent memory, what purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life? [46:35]
- What is something that you believe that other people think is insane? [48:43]
- Common misconceptions about Rainn Wilson [52:05]
- What Rainn Wilson has in common with Dwight Schrute (his character in The Office) and which characteristics are completely different? [53:00]
- Why Rainn Wilson decided to write The Bassoon King [53:55]
- The core tenants of Bahá’í Faith [58:20]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, what would it say and why? [1:06:05]
- Advice to a 30-year-old Rainn Wilson and what his life looked like at that point [1:06:55]
- Favorite movies and documentaries [1:08:45]
- An ask or request of the audience [1:10:55]
Posted on: November 30, 2015.
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Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.