I discovered that I have been suffering from a delusion.
When I arrange to meet with a new person, I often consider that it’s going to be disappointing, a waste of time.
I later come away shocked that the person I’ve had such poor expectation of turns out to be amazing, sometimes even a kind of genius.
It’s weird.
It happened just last month while I was on a TV shoot.  One of the actors in the scene, who was essentially a “background” performer and one whom I’d basically ignored, sat down and chatted with me at lunch and by the end, I thought he was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met.
Stuntman, actor, prize-winning archer, polo player, creator of  his own weaponry and armor, has a collection of military uniforms of ancient warriors he’s also made himself… what the WHAT?  (See for yourself on Instagram: @equuspolo)
On a job last week I worked with another actor who, frankly, looked homeless.  Turns out, that’s just his brand, and he’s a hugely successful actor and stuntman, does tons of volunteer work, donates much of what he makes in commercials, and is an expert on radiological photography and other mechanical subjects. 
I never would have given him a second look if we hadn’t been thrust together in that show.  (You can give him a second look at @actinghomeless)
Last year I nearly cancelled a meeting with someone who reached out to me to meet about a collaboration.  I looked at his YouTube channel and thought we probably weren’t a good mix.  When I finally did meet him, he turned out to be a different person entirely, NOT the guy I had watched, but a very interesting and accomplished person.   We began a very nice friendship. 
Just this morning, once again I was about to cancel a meeting with a young man who represents a singer and wanted to meet to explore a collaboration.  Again, after some research I was going to beg off…  but at last, remembering these prior times, I stopped myself from cancelling and went anyway. 
Turns out, this young man and I hit it off beautifully, and he has a surprising background that I instantly warmed to, and we will definitely be doing something together. (@visionoutloud)
What’s going on?
My lack of enthusiasm towards new people, which might be described as a general pessimism, is like a default setting with me, but it has lately revealed itself to be not only inappropriate but singularly unhelpful. 
Like an unwanted feature in a new car that automatically warns one of possible hazards while getting in the way of safe driving, it’s of dubious value.
Could it be that I’ve been automatically mis-estimating the value of people in general?  Me?
At The Acting Center, the acting school I attend (and which was co-founded by my wonderful Tamra) they encourage students to speak to people on the street, in order to study their personalities and research characters.
It’s the kind of drill that, at first, one tries to get out of doing, since most of us are uncomfortable talking to strangers.
It always surprises me to discover that even the most ordinary, disheveled person on the street, once I’ve gotten into communication with them, turns out to be far more unique and interesting than I would have ever credited.
It’s then that I am reminded that any given individual is far deeper and more rich than a first glance might reveal, and, like you and I, forms an entire universe of personality traits, quirks, attributes, talents, experiences and other factors, many of them amazing.
Other people are treasure troves of information and new points of view.  Meeting new people expands my world and can lead to wonderful new adventures.
I really don’t know what I was thinking.