What I learned from Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute)

Hey everybody,

I’m sick.  I’ve been walking around with a stuffy nose that is inexplicably still able to run.  It’s disgusting.  Lots of Kleenex, DayQuil, and cough drops.

While my mucus and I made our way home from work yesterday, I listened to an interview with Rainn Wilson.  As of yesterday, I knew nothing about the guy who played Dwight on the Office.  It turns out he’s a really cool guy, and he’s doing a lot of interesting stuff.  So this week I’ll keep the Bulletin brief and share a few things I learned from Rainn Wilson.

Being content with little

When he was first starting out acting in NYC, Rainn Wilson lived in the city on $17k/year.  He ran his own moving company.  He owned a moving truck and would help people move houses in between acting gigs.  His goal was to shoot a few commercials or be an extra – anything to make a stable income.  That was as big as his dreams got.  He never imagined he’d become famous on NBC.

Rainn’s experience with being poor reminded me of a quote from Seneca:

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with course and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’”

Sometimes people say, “What’s the worst that could happen?” in a joking, off-hand way.  Seneca is urging us to actually think about and even act out the worst case scenario.  Once you’ve experienced the worst case, according to Seneca, your fears have more perspective.

Baha’i

Rainn Wilson is of the Baha’i faith, and if you asked me yesterday I would have had no idea what members of the Baha’i faith believe.  But today I can tell you the Baha’i faith has three core principles:

  1. The oneness of God – there is only one God
  2. The oneness of religion – all major religions come from and point to the same God
  3. The oneness of humanity – all races, tribes, people are created equal

It’s a kind of overarching religion that says that Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and Krishna were all messengers from God to move the human race along spiritually.  There are 5 million Baha’i in the world.

I don’t know if Baha’i really are as peaceful as the philosophy would suggest, but it’s nice to hear of a religion so heavily based on unity and bringing people together.  At least for Rainn Wilson, it’s a joyful message and helps him be a hopeful person.  In response to an interview question, “What is something you believe that many people don’t believe?” Rainn answered, “I believe world peace is possible.”

Soul Pancake

You remember when that Kid President video was a huge deal?  It was produced by Soul Pancake.  Turns out Rainn Wilson is one of the co-founders.  Soul Pancake’s mission is to “tackle life’s big questions” while bringing more joy into the world.

I’ll do a more in-depth Bulletin next week when I’m feeling better.

Love you guys!

-Bennett