Tom Hanks can do a lot of things well, like, for example, charm the pants off all of America for decades. Part of that has to do with his uncanny ability to project an air of the Everyman. He’s been called the new Jimmy Stewart, such is his ability to connect with audiences on a deep emotional level. Deep down, we are all Tom Hanks. Even you. EVEN YOU.
Hanks plays an ordinary guy like nobody’s business. It’s what’s made him the star he is, whether he’s playing an ordinary guy who dresses as a woman for cheaper rent, an ordinary guy who deals with another toy muscling in on his turf, or an ordinary astronaut dealing with some tough, everyday decisions.
He does this incredibly well, even though he’s a multiple-Oscar winning multimillionaire who has been in the upper echelon of society for most of his life. And this isn’t a knock against Hanks; he’s an actor, he’s supposed to play people that aren’t exactly like him. By all accounts, he even seems to be a pretty cool dude. And if he invited me to one of his barbecues, it’d be cool. Just a thought, Tom.
Strangely, the thing that he really can’t play is what’s closest to him, a super rich guy.
Healthy: Deeply receptive, accepting, unselfconscious, emotionally stable and serene. Trusting of self and others, at ease with self and life, innocent and simple. Patient, unpretentious, good-natured, genuinely nice. / Imaginative and creative, attuned to nonverbal communication. Optimistic, reassuring, supportive: have a healing and calming influence—harmonizing groups, bringing people together. A good mediator, synthesizer, and communicator. At Their Best: Become self-possessed, feeling autonomous and fulfilled: have great equanimity and contentment because they are present to themselves. Paradoxically, at one with self, and thus able to form more profound relationships. More alive, awake, alert to self and others.
Average: Become self-effacing and agreeable, accommodating themselves, idealizing others and “going along” with things to avoid conflict. Have a “philosophy of life” that enables them to quiet their anxieties quickly. Submerge themselves in fulfilling functions for others. In their reactions, they are unresponsive and complacent, walking away from problems and “sweeping them under the rug.” Become passive, disengaged, unreflective, and inattentive. Thinking becomes hazy and ruminative, mostly about their fantasies, as they begin to “tune out” reality, becoming oblivious. Emotional indolence, unwillingness to exert self (and stay focused) on problems: passive-aggressive and indifferent. / Begin to minimize problems to appease others and to have “peace at any price.” Become fatalistic and resigned, but also stubborn and resistant to influence. Practice wishful thinking and wait for magical solutions. Inadvertently create conflicts with others by their denial and obstinance.
Unhealthy: Can be repressed, undeveloped, and ineffectual. Do not want to deal with problems: become depressed and listless, dissociating self from all conflicts. Neglectful and dangerously irresponsible. / Wanting to block out of awareness anything that could affect them, they dissociate so much that they eventually cannot function: become numb, depersonalized. / Becoming severely disoriented and catatonic, they abandon themselves, turning into shattered shells. Multiple personalities possible.
Key Motivations: To have serenity and peace of mind, to create harmony in their environment, to preserve things as they are, to avoid conflicts and tension, to escape upsetting problems and demands on them.
Examples: Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace of Monaco, Walter Cronkite, Walt Disney, George Lucas, Garrison Keillor, Sophia Loren, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Ron Howard, Ringo Starr, Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Nancy Kerrigan, Linda Evans, Ingrid Bergman, Perry Como, Jim Henson, Marc Chagall, Norman Rockwell, “Edith Bunker,” and “Marge Simpson.”