Rainn Wilson on Otherishness

The final episode of this season’s Callings podcast features a conversation with Rainn Wilson, who is best known for his role as Dwight Schrute on The Office. Rainn is an actor, producer, writer, and cofounder of the media company SoulPancake. His most recent book is Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution.

As he shares insights from his career with hosts Erin VanLaningham and John Barton, Rainn emphasizes that his artistic and spiritual journeys are not fundamentally different. His Bahá’í faith informs his beliefs that “the act of creation is an act of emulating the creative source” and that the spiritual path “includes making the world a better place and giving to others.”

He considers how comedy can heal and how joy can be a service. In his understanding of human flourishing as a process, which counters the “happiness myth” so prevalent in our culture, he stresses its inclusion of conflict as well as satisfaction. He also shares how failure can prepare us for breakthroughs—even if you “bomb on Broadway,” as he claims he did.

Rainn believes that education should be about learning widely and deeply, which speaks to his commitment to what he calls “otherishness”—replacing “selfishness” with care for others and curiosity about the world.

Click here to listen to the episode featuring Rainn Wilson titled “The Office and the Soul.”

Stephanie L. Johnson is the editor of Vocation Matters.

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