Do you think of me as now?

Today is February 5 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “do you think of me as now?”


In a New York Times interview actor Josh Brolin recalled a role he lost years ago in the 1996 movie Courage Under Fire. When trying to remember the actor who he lost out to the interviewer said “You lost the Denzel Washington (lead) role?” Brolin laughed hard and said “No, it was the Lou Diamond Phillips role (a much smaller role). See that?” Brolin said to the interviewer, “You think of me as now, and I was never now.”


Since his rejection Brolin would go on to appear in films such as Mimic (1997), Hollow Man (2000), Grindhouse (2007), No Country for Old Men (2007), American Gangster (2007), W. (2008), Milk (2008), True Grit (2010), Men in Black 3 (2012), Inherent Vice (2014), Sicario (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), and Deadpool 2 (2018). Brolin began portraying the role of Marvel Comics supervillain Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making his first appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). He appeared in the mid-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and reprised the role as the primary antagonist in both Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Brolin has been nominated at the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics' Choice Movie Awards and Independent Spirit Awards.


What is most striking about this comment by Brolin is the duality between now and the past. Years prior to the interview Brolin was indeed a different person; thus ‘he was never now.’ This reminds me of a comment from American linguist, philosopher, and author Noam Chomsky who wrote


“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope. If you assume there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.”


Those who navigate the chaos understand that the person they are speaking to was ‘never now.’ Do you?


Do you understand you have the choice to pursue optimism and create a better future for yourself? If not, what is holding you back from doing so?