Mindy Kaling and Confidence: How to Make it Your ‘Thing’

by Jul 16, 2018

Look, we can’t all be successful writer-actor-producer-directors like Mindy, but with her help we can sure as heck feel like it’s possible. (Maybe. Probably. In, like, a few years). It’s a little thing called confidence, and when it comes to using it to help your career, the girl knows her stuff.

And it’s not the usual ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ advice that – while totally legit – we kind of hear all the time. Mindy’s got the low-down on real, actual ways you can give yourself that confidence boost you need to make your career work for you.

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Hard work is the only work you need

According to the good ol’ Google machine, confidence is defined as: ‘The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something’. Which basically means self-confidence is you knowing that you know your stuff, and acting like you know you know your stuff. And how do you get to the point where you know you know your stuff? (I’m sorry, that amount of ‘know’s is painful).

Well, as Mindy has pointed out: ‘Confidence is just entitlement… Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it.’ And how do you make sure you deserve it? Hard work.






‘People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake,’ Mindy advises. ‘I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton… but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work… Because confidence is like respect; you have to earn it.’

Plus, if you know for a fact you’ve put in the work then it’s more difficult for that niggling sense of self-doubt to get a foothold. Because ‘If you feel like you have done hard work, it behoves you to be confident. You need to own it.’ – See? Girl gets it.

Don’t let people get you down

Unlike most of us, the downfalls of fame likely won’t apply in quite the same way it does to Mindy. After all, we won’t have hordes of online haters posting mean comments or entire articles about how we think we’re so great and Hollywood’s standards have dropped. How does she get through it?: ‘… it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me.’

Even if we don’t have the pressures of fame, it’s likely you’ll come across people throughout your life that will make you doubt yourself, and understanding how to overcome that negativity is a pretty important talent for your future career success.

‘People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you’re succeeding. People do not get scared when you’re failing. It calms them. That’s why the show Intervention is a hit and everyone loves “worrying about” Amanda Bynes,’ Mindy has noted. ‘But when you’re winning, it makes them feel like they’re losing or, worse yet, that maybe they should’ve tried to do something too, but now it’s too late. And since they didn’t, they want to stop you. You can’t let them.’

So what do you do? Work hard, feel entitled, and ‘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.’ (x)

Don’t let your own plans or ambitions make you doubt

And finally, to be truly self-confident it’s important not to let your goals or aspirations hold you back from believing in yourself. So what if you didn’t manage to achieve world domination and a fully-fledged cat army before you turned 30? You’ve still got time, and you’re no less competent because of it. (And hey, the cats aren’t going anywhere).







Goals and dreams are great, but don’t let yourself turn them into shackles or base your self-worth off of their completion. Like Mindy said in her recent commencement speech at Dartmouth: ‘Don’t be scared if you don’t do things in the right order, or if you don’t do some things at all… If you have a checklist, good for you. Structured ambition can sometimes be motivating. But also, feel free to let it go.’

Her final piece of advice?

‘Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, but especially not yourself… Just remember: Why not you? You made it this far.’ (x)

Check out her full commencement speech below (it’s both inspirational, and pretty funny)


Featured image courtesy of BBC America

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who has run the UTS Careers Blog since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.