Last month Amy Poehler finally released her long-awaited memoir. Fans have been waiting for this comedic genius to gift us with her unfiltered thoughts for years, and she finally did with her new book Yes Please. Unsurprisingly, Poehler shares an incredible amount of life wisdom. Here are 20 of the best quotes from her book.
1. On writing: “Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea…. The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not.”
2. On her own struggles with writing a book: “Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It has been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”
3. On what we should do when that voice in our head is telling us to give up: “Well, the first thing we do is take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it is saying to you, but it will be muffled, and just the fact that it is not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer. And then you just do it.”
4. What it feels like when that inner voice won’t stop grating on you: “That voice that talks badly to you is a demon voice. This very patient and determined demon shows up in your bedroom one day and refuses to leave. You are six or twelve or fifteen and you look in the mirror and you hear a voice so awful and mean that it takes your breath away. It tells you that you are fat and ugly and you don’t deserve love. And the scary part is the demon is your own voice. But it doesn’t sound like you. It sounds like a strangled and seductive version of you.
5. On accepting yourself for the way you look: “Decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier.”
6. Why it’s important to let loose: “Looking silly can be ver powerful. People who are committing and taking risks become the king and queen of my prom. People are their most beautiful when they are laughing, crying, dancing, playing, telling the truth, and being chased in a fun way.”
7. Why it’s important to tell yourself to shut up when you’re being too hard on yourself: “Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works. Even demons gotta sleep.”
8. On apologizing and why it is so hard: “Your brain is not your friend when you need to apologize. Your brain and your ego and your intellect all remind you of the ‘facts.’ … Shame is difficult. It’s a weapon and a signal. It can paralyze or motivate.”
9. On why we sometimes try to avoid apologizing: “A word about apologizing: It’s hard to do it without digging yourself in deeper. It’s also scary and that’s why we avoid the pain. We want so badly to plead our case and tell our story. The bad news is that everybody has a story. Everyone has a version of how things went down and how they participated. It’s hard to untangle facts and feelings.”
10. On the upside to dealing with pain: “Any painful experience makes you see things differently. It also reminds you of the ample truths that we purposely forget every day or else we would never get out of bed. Things like, nothing lasts forever and relationships can end. The best that can happen is you learn a little more about what you can handle and you stay soft through the pain. Perhaps you feel a little wiser. Maybe your experience can be of help to others.”
11. Why you shouldn’t stress about getting older: “You can either exhaust yourself thrashing against it or turn around and let the pressure of it massage out your kinks. Fighting aging is like the War on Drugs. It’s expensive, does more harm than good, and has been proven to never end.”
12. On young people versus old people: “The pressure of ‘What are you going to do?’ makes everybody feel like they haven’t done anything yet. Young people can remind us to take chances and be angry and stop our patterns. Old people can remind us to laugh more and get focused and make friends with our patterns. Young and old need to relax in the moment and live where they are. Be Here Now, like the great book says.”
13. On positive ways you can scare yourself to feel alive: “You can tell someone you love them first. You can try to speak only the truth for a whole week. You can jump out of an airplane or spend Christmas Day all by your lonesome. You can help people who need help and fight real bad guys. You can dance fast or take an improv class or do one of those Ironman things… Adventure and danger can be good for your heart and soul.”
14. On sleep: “Sleep can completely change your entire outlook on life. One good night’s sleep can help you realize that you shouldn’t break up with someone, or you are being too hard on your friend, or you actually will win the race or the game or get the job. Sleep helps you win at life.”
15. Using improv rules that you can apply to life: “Don’t think. Get out of your head. Stop planning and just go.”
16. On creativity: “Creativity is connected to your passion, that light inside you that drives you. That joy that comes when you do something you love. That small voice that tells you, ‘I like this. Do this again. You are good at it. Keep going.’ That is the juicy stuff that lubricates our lives and helps us feel less alone in the world.”
17. On not getting your validation from other people: “You have to care about your work but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look.
18. Why you can’t take work too seriously: “You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, ‘I made it!’ You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful. Most people I know struggle with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other. Our ego is a monster that loves to sit at the head of the table, and I have learned that my ego is just as rude and loud and hungry as everyone else’s. It doesn’t matter how much you get; you are left wanting more. Success is filled with MSG.”
19. Why your career is like a bad boyfriend: “It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you. If your career is a bad boyfriend, it is healthy to remember you can always leave and go sleep with somebody else.”
20. The most important thing to remember: “Nobody looks stupid when they are having fun.”