Ryan Reynolds attributes his success to conflict resolution and getting over his ‘angry’ 20s, but ‘there’s still room for backstabbing someone’

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Ryan Reynolds has become a lot more than a movie star with a superhero franchise.

The Deadpool actor owns multiple businesses including the prepaid carrier Mint Mobile, the production and digital marketing agency Maximum Effort, and even Wrexham FC, the Welsh soccer club that is the subject of his new FX docuseries. He used to be an alcohol mogul, too, but he sold the Aviation Gin brand for $610 million

He chalks it up to one thing more than any other: conflict resolution skills. 

The 45-year-old said on Thursday that his ability to find peaceful solutions to disagreements has changed his life and the way he approaches situations in his career. 

“It’s quite literally changed every relationship in my life, and it’s changed the trajectory of my career and businesses,” Reynolds said at Indeed’s FutureWorks conference, according to CNBC. 

It’s a skill he picked up in his twenties during a workshop.

“I was a little bit lost, I was a little bit angry,” he said. “I wanted to get better…and I didn’t expect it to, but it really changed my life.” 

If you’ve watched Reynolds at all—whether it’s in his movies or his new series tracing his $2.75 million purchase of Wrexham with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney—it’s hard to imagine him as an angry person because of his witty and friendly persona.

But without that workshop that taught him conflict resolution skills, Reynolds said, he might not have been so successful. 

“We live in a world that’s increasingly gamified, and I think we have an instinct to win, crush, and kill,” he said. “But if you can disengage or disarm that instinct for a second and replace it with seeking to learn about somebody instead, that, as a leadership quality, for me, has quite literally changed every aspect of my life.”

Reynolds said that instead of focusing on winning an argument, he instead listens to what the other person is saying and acknowledges their feelings. “You can’t address problems with other people unless you understand them,” he said. 

And even if the issue isn’t resolved right there and then, you’ve at least made an ally, Reynolds said. 

“There’s still room for backstabbing someone and then tasting the blood of your enemies,” he said jokingly. “But it’s never going to be as effective as trying to understand somebody.”

Nonetheless Reynolds’ success definitely appealed to his Wrexham co-owner. In the first episode of their series, Welcome to Wrexham, McElhenney is seen onscreen joking about how much money he knew he’d need to buy the soccer team. He said he had “TV money,” but needed something more. So he went through all of Reynolds’ endeavors listing them as movie-star money, superhero-movie money, alcohol money, and mobile-phone-services money—before pausing to ask, “What other companies does [he] have?”

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