This now-classic film required him to dress up as a woman in order to play the character of Dorothy Michaels.
But before he agreed to play the part, he had a requirement.
He didn’t want to look like a man dressed in drag. He wanted to be seen as a woman when walking down the streets of New York City.
That, he was able to do.
But when he saw himself on film after these initial clips were made, he realized that he didn't want to look like an ordinary woman.
He wanted to be a beautiful woman.
After making this request, he learned that no amount of make-up and Hollywood wizardry could transform him into “beautiful.”
This response shook him to the core, and he arrived at one of the most profound insights of his life.
Watch this short video with Dustin Hoffman to see first-hand the impact this role had on his life and his attitude about women.
The lesson here goes far beyond the attribute of beauty as it applies to a woman. Or the attribute of handsome as it applies to a man.
The larger take-away is for each of us to think about the prejudices and beliefs we hold about anyone we perceive as different from us.
How do your attitudes impact the way you interact with people who are not like you?
I encourage you to monitor the thoughts that rush into your head when you meet someone new…or run into an acquaintance you've brushed off in the past due to concluding that person “unworthy” of your time in some way.
What if you kept an open mind and looked for the treasure you might uncover from each person you meet in life?
"If you approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter." - Eleanor Roosevelt, American diplomat (1884-1962)