Long ago, way back during summer (if you can remember that distant time), after internship finished I had about two weeks left before I had to head back to Dubai. And in those two weeks I had to pack spending time with family, finish a painting, shop for everything I needed to carry along to Dubai, and of course give some time to progress in my sketchbook and writing. But, for the first time a nonfiction book had caught my eye and I really wanted to finish it before I left. This autobiography by Kunal Nayyar grabbed my attention just by its title, Yes, My Accent is Real: And Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You. And as I read it, the short episodes of Kunal’s life were hilarious, sweet, candid, and also inspiring. I couldn’t put the book down, as each tale was told with candor and lined with a lovely relatable rawness. Like, hey, this could be a situation in my life. And yet, there were some pieces of advice that Kunal shares with the reader that were so simple yet so profound (sort of like how after tasting all the wonderful flavors at Cheesecake Factory, a simple New York baked cheesecake tastes heavenly).
If something happens, good.
If it doesn’t happen, even better.
That, like all motivational advice, sounds nice. But if any of you think to yourself, ‘woah, even better!’ in the face of disappointment, then I really want to meet you.
We all face disappointment. Not the small kind, but big failures that we dream and hope about.
Imagine Kunal getting rejected for the lead in a play in his undergrad program, then in masters again, not once but multiple times. Imagine the insecurity and self-doubt he must have felt when he was being typecast into a certain genre (that being comedy), even after practicing every line and nuance of a more serious character. It seemed unfair. It seemed biased. It seemed unjust. And it could have made him feel inadequate. In that situation, someone like me would have just dwelled in self-pity and start to lose confidence in myself, ultimately actually affecting my ability to act. But, there is another side to the story.
If something doesn’t happen, even better.
But, what if Kunal had gotten the chance to play Romeo? Would he have been able to experience and understand the comedy that Benvolio provided to Romeo and Juliet? If he hadn’t played Dorn in The Seagull and had instead gotten the dramatic lead, he wouldn’t have learned the exact character nuances that he did. And every single moment he played Dorn and Benvolio added something to him as an actor that ultimately resulted in the perfect blend that was required for Big Bang Theory’s Raj.
Sometimes we so fervently believe we deserve something. Something that we do better than others, or are more skilled at. Or maybe we seek a relationship or a specific friendship.
Or perhaps it’s that internship you had applied to in the perfect city, or the job offer you have been waiting for months. Or maybe the acceptance letter from your dream college.
The fact is, though, that while we wait, we have to remember that no matter the outcome, it is not the end.
If it happens, good. But if it doesn’t, sit down, sip a margarita, wait for your opportunity to become the next Rajesh Koothrappali on Big Bang Theory, and live the, “Even better.”
“so often in life we agonize, we deliberate, and we beat ourselves up to carefully evaluate the reasons we should or should not do something. But usually it’s so much simpler. If you have no other offers, take the one offer you have.”
What a thought for the indecisive person causing chaos within me. Whether I am trying to decide where to sit in Starbucks for the perfect cozy atmosphere, or I am deciding what to do with my life, I will contemplate for a much longer time than is needed even when there is only one choice (or table) in front of me.
But why can’t we just chill. I don’t need to think of the perfect everything. If, let’s say, I want to drink tea and I can’t find the there is no place that offers the perfect ambience I am looking for, then I should just enjoy it wherever I am! Savor the taste. Find the positive. It could be the fact that I am getting tea, and I love it. Or the fact that I’m not starving. Or that I even have a chair to sit on. You get the idea. When there is no option, why stress and try to find the ‘what could be’.
Or if you don’t have time for one more commitment, no matter how much you want to do it, you should move on. There isn’t really a choice, is there? Either you drop something else or give up on this new desire. Or perhaps, like me, you feel like you need to quit something you are doing, even though you love it insanely. But, it’s holding you back from diving into other opportunities. So again, not much of an option, right?
Or if you have a disagreement with someone who is important to you. Well, you could forgive them, or try to understand their perspective. Or, you could give up. But is giving up on them really an option? So follow your heart and resolve the issue.
There are numerous cases where we know what needs to be done, or that we have no other option. Yet, we still want to talk about it, discuss it with loved ones, and chew slowly on the options. We will think and overanalyze the consequences of one option, just to realize that there is no other valid option. But there is no point when you know the answer is within you. Relax, don’t stress by overthinking, and do what your heart is saying.
After finishing the book, and still having watched perhaps less than ten episodes of The Big Bang Theory, it’s pretty clear you don’t need to be a fan of the show or of Kunal Nayyar to enjoy his work. Read it, and you’ll get some very important advice, including how to win auditioners’ and models’ hearts… actually just how to win at life in general. And as a little bonus, you’ll get some inspiration on overcoming shyness, building self-confidence, dealing with feeling like an alien in a foreign country, and applying lessons learned in life. Not a bad investment of time, don’t you think?