Summary: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It By Lauren Graham
Summary: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It By Lauren Graham

Summary: In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It By Lauren Graham

If you’re kicking yourself for not having accomplished all you thought you should have by now, don’t worry about it. People bloom at different stages of their lives, and often more than once.


YOU may feel these emotions in the face of disappointment—you may have a right to, in fact. You can probably find friends and relatives to agree with your feelings of injustice, too. “You do deserve it! It should have been you!


You might walk around angry for a while, might lose your inspiration, or try to drown your sorrows. “I hate you, Biffelth!” you might hiccup into your beer—or worse, into your Snapchat. You may be right that you’ve been wronged—you may even be one hundred percent correct in your assessment of the world as an unfair place.


BUT here’s a secret: The lows don’t last any longer than the highs do. Like clouds on an overcast day, sometimes we have to face the fact that what happens to us in life isn’t controllable, and if we wait a while, don’t take it personally, and decide to enjoy ourselves anyway, the sky will eventually clear up.

It always does.


Then, one day, it’ll finally be your turn. After all the hard work and hoping and dreaming, the winner will be you. Maybe you got the most praise, or the biggest raise, or the part in that movie that Biffles Schniffelson was after. Hooray! Now all the problems and mixed feelings and fatigue and anxiety on the way to winning will magically melt in the warmth of the praise and awards and accolades, and maybe even money that comes with being a winner, right? And once you get there, there’ll be no more insecurity. You’ll finally make peace with the confidence that’s sometimes eluded you, because success makes confidence your friend for life, doesn’t it?

Well, sort of.


THE truth is, achieving success doesn’t automatically bring you confidence. And coming in ahead will only make you feel better for an annoyingly brief moment. Satisfaction is not found in the big achievements. It’s not in winning. Starring has nothing to do with how big your part is—it’s a state of mind.


Things might not always seem like much, but over time, they add up to something bigger. They become the foundation of your life, building blocks on the way to all those milestone moments. It’s undeniably fun to call your parents and tell them someone noticed you in a measurable way: a good grade, a raise, some positive feedback. Or to get recognized by others on the “big” days, like when you get into college or find your first job. Or, of course, when you graduate. But those days are few and far more rare than the many, many more days when you and your work will go unnoticed.


In the meantime, perform every job as if you’re being well paid, as someone who probably wasn’t paying me well once told me. Which is to say: why not treat yourself now as the success you dream of becoming? Respect yourself and your work as you would if you were being paid to be the boss, and I bet you’ll climb the ladder even faster.


MAYBE it’s not acting for you. Maybe it’s baseball or coding or taking care of kids. But whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you. Treat every day like you’re starring in it. Don’t wait for permission or good reviews. If you can do that, you’ll be surprised by how far you might end up sailing.


DON’T wait until you’re on Broadway. Or until you reach the Olympics. Or until you’re CEO of a major company. Don’t wait until you’re the president of something, or for the day when your life looks perfect to you and everyone you know. As I like to say: “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” Just kidding, that’s a quote from Salvador Dali. I do however like to tell people, especially regarding writing and deadlines: “Don’t be perfect, just be done.” Which is yet another way of saying: “Don’t worry so much.”


Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Those mistakes are as valuable as the triumphs. If you free yourself from having to be “right,” you’ll open so many doors. You might choose classes that interest you, rather than ones you’re “supposed” to take. You might carry a book with you that isn’t something you’re required to read for school. You might try something new—like, say, taking a three-day spinning instructor certification class—and change direction entirely. And why not? Your job doesn’t define you—your bravery and kindness and gratitude do. Even without any “big” accomplishments yet to your name, you are enough. Whether you have top billing, or you’re still dancing in the back row, you are enough, just as you are.


IN conclusion, don’t worry about it.

You already have The Most. And you’re already one of The Best.