Huffington Post – For the latest in our WISE WORDS interview series – where stars from a whole range of fields share the important life lessons they’ve learned along the way – we’re posing some of the big questions to Aaron Eckhart.
Following his breakthrough roles in ‘Erin Brockovich’ and ‘Thank You for Smoking’, Aaron found blockbuster success as attorney Harvey Dent in ‘The Dark Knight’. He’s also starred in ‘The Pledge’, ‘Rabbit Hole’ and ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and its sequel.
His latest film, ‘Sully’, sees him share screen-time with Tom Hanks, co-starring as First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, the co-pilot sitting in the cockpit of US Airways Flight 1549 alongside Captain Chesley Sullenberger in January 2009, when a freak flock of geese few into the engines, and swift decisions had to be made, to save hundreds of lives, and create one of the most memorable visions ever to be seen on the New York landscape, the sight of a jet plane full of passengers sitting on top of the Hudson River.
To celebrate the film’s release, Aaron spoke to Huff Post UK about some of the lessons he’s learned along the way, how Harrison Ford gave him the words that secured his success, and how a spontaneous act of kindness by Nicole Kidman filled his heart …
What do you do to switch off from the world?
I have a ranch in Montana and on that ranch there is very little relaxing going on. I mostly chop wood, move large rocks, cut dead wood, cut trees down. Till the land, that’s what I do. It’s not at all Hollywood. It’s very redneck. I grow my beard and spend the day in mud. That’s the real me.Or I would be on my bicycle, going up a hill. It’s the left-right motion of the brain, just like walking, puts you in a trance. Your biggest inspiration comes when you’re in that hypnotic state. That’s why people get their best ideas on long walks, riding bikes, anything with that left-right motion. I love quiet.
How do you deal with negativity that comes your way?
I’m working on that quite hard. What I’m working on is that, you cannot control anybody else, the sooner you accept the person without changing them, the better off you’ll be. Instead of trying to impede the sound of others, whether it’s a dog barking, or a traffic noise, if you can train your mind not to engage with that sound but to protect yourself within, then you can have peace and tranquillity in the midst of chaos, then that to me is the biggest evolution of life.I’m not perfect about it, but even if you’re cognisant of it, then you can start to switch. I’m a light sleeper and I have an issue with a neighbour with a dog. I don’t want to fight with him, engage with him, bring him into my world. I want to inoculate myself so that it doesn’t matter if there are 15 dogs barking. That’s a daily pursuit that I have.