Reader's Digest / Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self
August 13

Reader's Digest / Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

Reader's Digest featured Allen Klein, author of Positive Thoughts For Troubling Times! His advice is important: "Don’t compare yourself to others, your journey is your journey." Read all the advice here!


“Ever since I was seven-years-old and saw my first Broadway show, I wanted to be a scenic designer, the person who made those pretty stage pictures. I thought I’d achieved my dream when I got into Yale Drama School to study stage design but after a year, I was asked to leave. They basically told me that I had no talent. I was devastated. I left Yale and went back to New York City where I learned my craft working on off-Broadway shows, apprenticing in summer stock, and failing my first attempt at passing a very stringent union test. It was so frustrating seeing others succeed at my dream while I struggled so much. But I kept at it and passed the second time and I got into the scenic design union. Shortly after I was hired by CBS television where I embarked on my decades-long career. I got to design many TV shows including Captain Kangaroo, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Jackie Gleason Show. Then I realized that while I—the kid who had ‘no talent’—was designing shows on national television, my fellow classmates were still at school designing college productions. I would tell myself to keep trying, don’t compare yourself to others, and everything will work out for the best.”

—Allen Klein, aka “Mr. Jollytologist”®, scene designer, TEDx speaker, and author