Good Will Hunting is the story of Will(Matt Damon), a janitor at MIT, who is an undiscovered maths savant. Will is an orphan who spends his spare time drinking with his buddies and getting into petty scuffles. Professor Lambeau(Stellan Skarsgård) discovers Will’s mathematical acumen and promises Will a fulfilling life. Professor Lambeau tries to get Will interested in working with him on hard math problems. Will resists his efforts, and Professor Lambeau cannot grasp why. Professor Lambeau approaches his psychologist friend Dr. Sean Maguire(Robin Williams) to help him get to Will.
Below is the explosive scene where Sean(the psychologist) explains to Professor Lambeau(maths professor) that Will’s life experiences make him behave the way he does.
Perspective dictates our actions and decisions. We do not act and decide based only on the data at hand. Our life experience plays a significant role in our actions and decisions. Perspective is how we color the information we have with our life experiences.
Two people might have the same information, but their life stories will compel them to make different decisions.
Someone who has made risky choices in the past and succeeded will tend to make more dangerous decisions. Someone who has made risky choices in the past and failed will lean towards conservative options.
We encounter situations in our lives where we cannot comprehend others’ actions. We think—what this person should be doing is obvious; even then, why is this person not doing that?
Whenever we see someone acting differently than what we expect, the questions to ask are:
- Does this person have some information that I do not?
- How does this person’s life experience differ from mine?
Even though the above might sound obvious, this kind of structural thinking does not come naturally. Many just seeth at others acting weirdly without ever pondering why.