4 Lessons from Mindy Kaling’s Memoir

I wish the title of this blog post could end with “from Mindy Kaling” period, as in I actually met her and didn’t just read her second book “Why Not Me?” But sadly that dream is not crossed off my bucket list yet. I devoured her book in two days when I desperately needed a pick-me-up from winter blues, job hunting, and adjusting to the new year. I didn’t get all of her cultural references (and I’m a fairly hip 23 year-old) but if you’re willing to meet Mindy half way, she is sunshine mixed with a dose of “you’re not doing enough with your life if you’re not working 18 hour days.” Every ounce of her is hard-work, and her humor and her straightforward style of talking about determination are a lifeline. (I explain the cover image later.)

1. “If you believe in yourself and work hard, your dreams will come true.”

Mindy speaks about her college experiences, creating/pitching/producing her own show, her romantic and platonic relationships, her parents, and meeting Obama. This is how she sums up the struggle of getting just the idea of the pilot of her show sponsored. She continues, “Well. . . I guess the people who work hard whose dreams don’t come true don’t get to write books about it, so we never really find out what happens to them. So. . . If you believe in yourself and work hard, you have a fighting shot at having your dreams come true.”

2. What you wish for with all of your heart defines you.

Sometimes Mindy just felt like a good friend in how clearly she speaks about things. A friend that would smack you if you did something stupid. If you don’t like what I’m about to say (because taking bits and pieces out of context may not be the best way to win you over) pick up her book and read page 202. Well, read the whole chapter that comes before. Mindy goes on to say, interviewers and photographers ask her about her weight all the time, and even make snarky comments on what she eats to her face! But she’s not fat and really lays it out with two keys points. So. . . numero uno, but we’re already on lesson 2 so go with me, “Even though I wish I could be thin, and that I could have the ease of lifestyle that I associate with being thing, I don’t wish for it with all of my heart. Because my heart is reserved for way more important things.” However you see yourself and your dreams, feel it deep within you, cut out the bull crap people throw at you, and go for it.

3. Flaunt it!

We’re still on page 202! That was a little moving right? Whether that idea moved you to anger or enlightenment, here’s the cherry on top. “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t go it? Flaunt it. ‘Cause what are we even doing here if we’re not flaunting it?”

4. Confidence comes from knowing you know what you know.

“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn’t always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.” Confidence and entitlement get confused. Entitlement can come from seeing your own worth in a situation. It can also come from thinking you’re important, regardless of your actual social value in the world. Just use it for good.

This was going to be five lessons, but honestly I got this book from the library, photo-copied those 3 paragraphs that touched me (because I have a horrible horrible memory, love having books around, and can’t afford books), and don’t have a fifth!

On an equally perky, but different note. I did a bit of traveling this past month, but managed to lose a memory card. So until I rediscover those photos for a new post, here’s one from a visit to a vegan sanctuary I made in the early fall. . . because why not.


I’ll work on finishing my “why not”s with “me”s.

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