I was surprised last weekend at how much I enjoyed the film A Quiet Place. But I might have been more surprised when I saw who wrote and directed the movie: John Krasinski – the actor known most for playing the part of Jim on the American version of The Office.

It’s nothing against Mr Krasinski. I just didn’t anticipate an inventive and interesting horror/thriller to be the work of the guy most known for bringing to life the pranking of Dwight Schrute and pining after Pam.

This happened last year, too. Few expected the guy from a Comedy Central duo (who had just helped to make an absurd comedy romp about a cat joining a gang) to construct a thought-provoking social commentary disguised as a scary movie and almost win an Oscar. But Jordan Peele is now quickly becoming regarded as a top-tier filmmaker and an important voice in American pop culture – not just the dude who does a mean riff on “Bruce Willy” and “Liam Neesons.”

As humans, we like to put things in compartments. This helps us understand. Sometimes it is how we survive:

This is hot. That is cold. Those are fruits. These are vegetables. That is edible. This is not. 

Assuming what things do or are like based on surface observation helps us explain. Generalizations are for processing information in an easy-to-swallow pill form. And it is tempting to use this reasoning on people:

He’s a “sports guy.”  She is “artsy.” That family is “granola.” This neighborhood is “trashy.”

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The problem is that unlike potatoes and mushrooms and stovetops, most of us don’t actually fit in boxes very easily.

I had coffee this week with an energy executive who has a black belt in martial arts.

I know an entrepreneur who has bought and sold companies – and he plays lead guitar in local alt-rock band.

I’m married to a woman who runs an organization during the day and runs a design company in our dining room at night.

So there are two things to remember:

  1. Don’t assume you know everything about anyone. Most people are way more interesting than you give them credit for…
  2. Don’t EVER think you are too much of one thing to be another.

People aren’t products. We are weirdos. We have disparate interests and the ability to try and fail and try again or try something else. So go do something you love today and try something else tomorrow.

Some days it would do us all good to strive less to please people and try more to keep them guessing.

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