Brian Grazer’s Foolproof Method for Learning to Appreciate Something You Despise

The Hollywood producer tells the story of how he realized the humanity in architecture.

To kick off Season Two of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeart Radio and Sleep Number, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sat down with Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer, whose film and television credits include Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Arrested Development, Parenthood, and many more. In a wide-ranging conversation, Huffington and Grazer spoke about everything from how to have a good conversation to Grazer’s relationship with his phone.

Grazer is a man seemingly fascinated by everything. In his 2016 book, A Curious Mind, he shared one of the secrets of his success: “curiosity conversations” with some of the world’s most interesting people.

But even for someone so fueled by curiosity, Grazer still sometimes struggles to get past preconceived notions about certain topics, he told Huffington.

“My shrink told me this, ‘Every time you think you know what something is, you’re wrong,’” he said. “She said, ‘I’m going to tell you right now. You’re about 100 percent wrong every time you have a preconception.”

Grazer admitted that, for a time, he was disinterested in anything he deemed “absent of humanity.” Architecture, for example, was a subject he initially wrote off as merely an “antiseptic manipulation of space” with no intrigue. His felt strongly enough about this that, as he told Huffington, “I just didn’t want to meet anyone in architecture.” But when the opportunity arose to meet renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, Grazer said yes.

“He says the most crazy thing to me,” Grazer recalled. “The first thing that comes out of his mouth is, ‘I look at architecture as a living organism.’ Literally, it was just the exact opposite of what I had ever expected. Architecture as a living organism. And I said, “Well, can you explain that to me?”

By the end of the conversation, Grazer’s view of architecture had changed. His preconceptions had been overturned.

“I thought, ‘Well, that was really shocking and cool.’ I realized again, that’s what I love about these curiosity conversations and that’s what I love about life so much,” he said. “You just don’t know.”

He added that these conversations “shatter preconceptions,” because every person you talk to offers more than just expertise. “They offer perspective that you hadn’t contemplated.”

To hear the full conversation on iHeartRadio, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

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