Pausing for a Moment to Learn…from Hollywood?

June 9, 2020


Ideas for Quietly Bringing Change


A few days back I ran across an article by Tim Dennings entitled, “Be Aware of the Quiet Ones like Keanu Reeves—They are the Ones that Actually Make You Think.”  In all honesty my knowledge of the actor Reeves is limited.  I know of him from “The Matrix” and “John Wick,” but beyond that he’s quite off my radar.  In fact, as I learned from Dennings’ piece, he is off many tracking devices.


Although Reeves may have his place among the most iconic recent Hollywood actors, he doesn’t fit the mold.  Rarely does he get the fame or attention associated with so many celebrities, seemingly still trying to figure out how to be famous.  Rather, he is reserved and comfortable with contemplation, hesitation, and …silence.


Some years ago he sat for an interview with a Rolling Stone journalist.  When asked “why he acts,” Reeves sat stone-faced silent for 42 seconds, finally replying, “Uh, it’s fun.”


Upon diving further into the narrative it became apparent that although Keanu Reeves’ personality and behavior as a part of his comfortably unorthodox brand were the tease, the real story was about the power of silence.  Dennings shares the need for quiet people.


  • Quiet people make you think.
  • Thinking brings clarity.
  • Thinking can lead to change.


Conversely though, there’s encouragement to be loud.  Make your presence felt!  Allow your voice to be heard!  Get your seat at the table!  Be noticed!


There are five basic human senses.  Speaking is not among them.  Consider the ones that are.  Remember the mental picture of the day you learned to ride a bike.  How about the ingrained visualization of meeting your child for the first time?  A second sense might conjure the smell of freshly baked bread or the fragrance of jasmine in springtime.   Most of us can agree that there’s nothing quite as good as the taste of our favorite ice cream on a hot summer day.  On the white sugar sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle there’s a soothing sensation to the touch of those slightly moist granules coursing through our fingers.  Finally, there’s the sound of a favorite song or a babbling brook.  Again, nothing about talking. 


Dennings further lists five points as it pertains to Reeves:


  • Silence breeds curiosity.  That curiosity then often leads to a conversation where someone will listen to you.
  • Being quiet interrupts the pattern.  We all know that people can’t resist the urge to talk.  We also know that they can’t resist the temptation to hear from the people who are extremely quiet.
  • Pauses allow time for reflection.  Pauses in human dialogue allow our minds to think at a deeper level. 
  • The smarter you become, the less you speak.  You’re intelligent when you let people talk first, listen with intention, you practice saying less, and you lead with empathy.
  • Quiet people make us think.


At this time especially might it be more important than ever that we pause and think, asking ourselves, “who that I know has a need to be heard?”  As an added challenge make the contact with someone who’s different from you realizing that we all entered life from the same perspective.  A person of another race or nationality?  Another political persuasion?  Someone much older or a lot younger?  Call them or make a time to go see them.  When you do, a comfortable way for commencing the dialogue could be something along the lines of “how are you?,” rather than “what do you think about…?”  How about allowing them to set the agenda for what to discuss.


Notice inflections or changes in body language and posture if you are in person.  Repeat back what you are hearing said.  Most importantly be positive and encouraging.  Be in the moment.  Be hopeful.  Feel love.


My son came to visit recently.  We cycled a little more than 100 kilometers in the countryside to the north and inland of where we live.  During the ride there was some talking, but the enjoyment of the time was more the view of the terrain, the physical exertion, the sounds of birds and wind, and the sense of achievement.  We were just present in the moment.  Nothing much needed to be said.  The communication transcended words. 


The Seed Sower