Mindy Kaling Is Confident, Okay?

Really! Photo: NBC/Getty Images

Mindy Kaling has a new collection of essays coming out this fall, squeakily titled Why Not Me? In one particular essay, excerpted by Glamour, Kaling provides an instructional guide for young women on how to build confidence. Confidence, Kaling claims, is mostly the same as entitlement.

The essay begins with an anecdote about a time that Kaling spoke on a panel and was asked by a teen girl where she got her confidence. Because she had allegedly responded poorly due to being very tired, she gave a B.S. answer at the time. To right her past wrong, she has written the unnamed girl an entire guide to becoming confident:

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

But if you feel entitled, you must back up this entitlement with hard work, Kaling claims. She goes on to say that the new screen villain is the “workaholic,” but that kids should know their parents are working hard for a reason … or something:

The reason I’m bringing this up is not to defend my status as someone who always works. (I swear I’m not that Tiger Mom lady! I don’t think you need to play piano for eleven hours with no meals! Or only watch historical movies, then write reports on them for me to read and grade!) It’s just that, the truth is, I have never, ever, ever met a highly confident and successful person who is not what a movie would call a “workaholic.” We can’t have it both ways, and children should know that.

The essay closes out with this nugget of summary: “Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.” 

Sounds exhausting. Just do you.

Mindy Kaling Is Confident, Okay?