One day—one fine day—you plan on being an A-list movie star—or at least a B … or even a C. How about a recognizable working actor? Regardless of the details, it’s safe to say you aspire to have a career in the illustrious industry of film and television. Okay. But have you thought about the kind of person you want to be once you crawl up that mountain and stand atop the summit? Do you want to be nice to your fans? Do you want to be difficult? Do you want to be left alone? Or do you merely plan on doing great work and letting the chips fall where they may?

Keanu Reeves has been a successful actor since the age of twenty-two when he burst on the scene as Matt the stoner with a hidden heart in the 1986 film River’s Edge. He followed it up by starring in some of the biggest summer blockbusters of all time, as well as action franchises that repeatedly open at number one. That’s not to mention the critically acclaimed indie gems he routinely slays or his hilarious cameos which are often deliciously self-deprecating.   

With all of that success and acclaim, it appears Keanu Reeves is a very nice man. Just check the internet. There are countless articles, video tributes, memes, and even songs celebrating the actor as a true gentleman. In one such video, Keanu takes pictures with a never-ending line of fans at the airport, all cackling and elbowing to get a selfie with Johnny Utah himself. Just watching the video, one can imagine how a mere mortal might become agitated or even resentful and enraged as one devotee after another sidles up next to the one and only Thomas A. Anderson. But old Keanu, who likely just wants to go home and relax, seems to relish the opportunity to make someone’s day—but not in the Dirty Harry sense. In another video, Reeves is seen hanging out with a homeless guy, sharing a few drinks as well as a story or two. Keanu doesn’t seem to be in a rush to get away from the down-on-his-luck man and, in fact, he appears to be chilling and enjoying himself. 

It should be noted that Keanu Reeves has an estimated net worth of over $350 million dollars, and his movies have amassed almost $4.5 billion in ticket sales. It’s clear he doesn’t need to be doing any of this hanging-out-with-fans stuff. He could be cold maxing in his mansion on the hill with all the best things life has to offer at his beck and call. And who could blame him? But the high school dropout flies coach, regularly uses public transportation, and the martial arts enthusiast hangs out with crew members and stuntmen every chance he gets. 

It should also be noted that Reeves has experienced an enormous amount of pain and loss in his life. He lost his best friend, River Phoenix, to a drug overdose; his sister, Kim, has battled leukemia for years; his would-be daughter was stillborn; and the mother of his baby girl, Jennifer Syme, was killed in an auto accident in 2003. And yet, the man they call Neo has managed to take all that pain and heartache and have it inform his humble and gracious approach to a simple and productive life.

When you get there, how do you want the world to perceive you? As a kind, generous, down-to-earth professional who readily interacts with others? As more of the mysterious, out-of-the-public-eye type? Or perhaps a difficult diva persona who eschews the values of decency and servitude? It’s really up to you … as it always has been.

“I don’t want to be a part of a world, where being kind is a weakness.” — Keanu Reeves