Do We Ever Graduate From High School?

Written by Anthony Meindl

Do we ever graduate from school?

The wanting to be liked? Or popular? Or more attractive? Or more “cool?”

At one level – no –  because what everyone struggles with as adults are the same core issues that high school traumas (like surviving lunch period!) brought up for us: thinking that we’re not good enough or we’re inadequate or flawed in some way. We’re not worthy or desirable. We’re weird or unlovable.

What you are feeling is what everyone else is feeling. You’re not living in a vacuum.

When actors go into an audition room, they incorrectly think they’re the only ones who feel insecure. Everyone in the room is! We all have the same vulnerabilities. It may seem like the people making the decisions have the power but we’re all on equal footing here. At a business level, they need you as much as you need them. And at a core human level everyone wants to be liked and understood. Everyone wants to be seen and heard. Everyone is trying to do their best. And just like you’re wanting the casting director to like you – they’re answering to producers. Who are in turn answering to a director. Who in turn might be answering to a company.  

The key to it all this is to learn to become more internally referenced. You’re never going to get out of that high school lunchroom if you keep looking outside yourself for the answers or the confirmation or the support or the love or the appreciation. First of all, “out there” is a reflection of “in here.” So what you are seeking out there is something you aren’t fulfilling for yourself internally.

People are fickle. Why? Because they’re (especially in this business) externally referenced. Judgments are made by your last job or how you look or how skinny you are or how much money you make or how young you are or hot or who you know. But those things change. You’re on top today; tomorrow you’re fired. Your show is cancelled. If you’re identity is based on the external, what happens when the externals are taken away?

If you’re waiting to hear it from your husband or your teacher or your lover or your coach or your mother or your best friend or your kids or your peers – it’s possible you may never hear it. Or what you do hear won’t be enough. Or it won’t be said the way you want to hear it. You have to give this to yourself first.

Work toward doing it for you. Work toward applauding you. Work toward the validation and acceptance and love and support coming from you. (And ironically, when you do that, you’ll begin to see it starting to show up more often in your external world.)

If other people give it to you – well golly! – that’s a nice bonus. If they don’t, it won’t be the end of the world.

Because the true victories in life are in conquering the noise in our heads that take us back to high school lunchroom periods over and over again.

“Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” — Albert Einstein


Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, producer, director and actor whose first feature screenplay, THE WONDER GIRLS, was the Grand Prize Winning Feature Screenplay in the Slamdance Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2007. Prior to this accomplishment, Meindl was responsible for the production of an array of award-winning projects. His background in acting, training, and performance has afforded him the opportunity to create what has become a thriving artist community in Los Angeles.

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