9 Ways To Be Like Robin Williams, And How To Be A Better Person

In the released documentary, Robin’s Wish, Robin Williams wrote a note in his favorite book before he died, saying, “I want to help people be less afraid.”

Robin Williams touched all our lives, inspiring multiple generations of children, and entertaining us by making us laugh, and also making us think. 

On this day, the anniversary of his death, we want to put to the side his amazing acting work, and look at what he did with his wealth, fame, and power, once he achieved it.

1. Help Homeless People

According to Brian Lord, a man who once wanted to book him for an event, Robin Williams had a requirement in his rider that said that every company that hired him, also had to give jobs to homeless people.

Along with Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, he also managed to raise more than $70 million for the homeless through Comic Relief, a televised fundraising event.

2. Lobby Your Elected Officials for Issues You Believed In

In 1990, he testified before Congress about preventing homelessness. His speech was in support of an act that would provide homeless people with mental health services and housing. He said, “You can’t keep picking people up, you have to stop them from falling. That’s what I hope.”

He also lobbied his elected officials for years on issues he believed in, including many Social Justice Issues.

3. Help & Comfort Friends During Hard Times

Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve, who is best known for playing Superman, first met in college, and their friendship withstood the test of time. After Christopher Reeve had an accident that paralyzed him, Robin Williams supported his friend and cheered him up. It was actually Williams who made Reeve laugh for the first time since the accident, when he came to visit him at the hospital. He was also involved in The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injuries.

Schindler’s List was a very emotional and difficult movie for Steven Spielberg to film. To cheer him up, Robin Williams would call Spielberg once a week and make him laugh. “Robin knew what I was going through, and once a week, Robin would call me on schedule and he would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone. I would laugh hysterically, because I had to release so much,” Spielberg said.

4. Help The Sick

Robin Williams was a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, whose mission is to find cures and prevent cancer and other life-threatening diseases in children. He spent his time with patients, entertaining them, and making them smile and laugh. “He made us feel like we were the superstars,” said one of the kids’ moms. He also participated in various celebrity events that supported the cause of the hospital and starred in their commercials.

5. Respect Those Who Serve You

American troops loved Robin Williams. With his performances, he made 6 USO tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, and 11 other countries.

After Robin Williams’ death, Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, said this about him: “From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with the hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform. He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DoD — so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.”

6. Stand Up To Greed and Consumerism

Robin Williams almost didn’t play Genie in Aladdin, because he didn’t want his voice and his likeness to be used to sell toys and merchandise to kids. He said, “The one thing I said was I will do the voice. I’m doing it basically because I want to be part of this animation tradition. I want something for my children. One deal is, I just don’t want to sell anything — as in Burger King, as in toys, as in stuff.”

He even passed on the rights to his name, signature, photograph, and likeness to the Windfall Foundation, a charitable organization. He made sure that there wouldn`t be any advertisements with him for 25 years after his death.

7. Lift People Up With Your Kindness

One fan once recounted,

I was walking in New York at night and I see Robin Williams and a whole bunch of people getting his autograph. He signed gracefully, then took some photos with people. A guy in his 30s, a little overweight, comes and asks if Robin could please sign some memorabilia he had bought and saved for over 20 years, because Robin was his hero.

Then he asks if he can take a picture, Robin says, ’Sure, boss,’ and the guy takes a photo of just Robin and then Robin asks. ’Do you want to be in the photo?’ Then the guy looking down goes, ’Oh no, that’s fine…I…hehe…I’m ugly, I don’t want to ruin the picture,’ and then Robin says, ’Don’t be like that, come here,’ and takes a picture with the guy.

Another fan said,

I met Robin Williams at Disneyland. He was behind me in line at the Tomorrowland Terrace, and I said “Hello, Mr Williams.” In a calm, low voice. And he said, “You’re doing it wrong,” and when I asked him, “What?” he launched into me with a hug and started yelling, “IT’S YOU! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S YOU!”

8. Stand Up For Your Colleagues

Lisa Jakub was a teenager when she played the role of Robin Williams’s daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire. Because of the filming process, Lisa’s teachers at school would have to give her an increased workload, and they weren’t happy about it. That’s why she was kicked out. Lisa was upset about it, and Robin Williams noticed this.

When she told him what happened, he wrote a letter to the school asking them to allow her to return to her classes and explaining that she was just trying to pursue a career, while also getting her education. He also said kind words about her character and her work. Unfortunately, the letter didn’t work, but the school framed it and hung it in the principal’s office.

9. Inspire People To Think Differently

I remember being 9 years old, and first learning about Robin Williams, from the famous movie, HOOK.  I didn’t know anything other than he was the guy who played Peter Pan.  But some months later, I remember watching his TV special.  It was an old HBO special from 1978 that Comedy Central was recycling, and I wouldn’t realize until years later that they cut a third out of it.

But, I was amazed and enraptured by the antics of a man who was brilliant, energetic, and was thinking about life in a whole other way.  My favorite bit from that special (and from his entire career) was where he portrayed an old man in the far off future, encouraging young people to keep a “little spark of madness” because without that, we’re nothing. 

We mustn’t lose that, and I hope we never do.

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