So my kids were asking me how they could be cool? Heck I’m not cool! And I don’t even KNOW anyone cool! How do I tell them what to do? I felt the instinctive need to give them fatherly advice though…but all I got is THEORY hahaha! I couldn’t just let them walk away empty handed, so I reacted quickly, shot from the hip…
Maybe I stumbled upon something that was common sense in my brain all along…something that began to make sense the more I elaborated with them…it became a lecture of sorts important for their development…an epiphany…a realization…an illuminating discovery…I guess if we don’t learn by experience, then we have to learn by observation…
I figured I would start with telling them how to be an OUTSTANDING PERSON in general…and talk about what is NOT cool…then build a case from there…
Being cool is NOT conforming or fitting in…it is better to be unique and different.
Being cool is NOT flattering others to make them like you, as that is insincere.
Being cool is NOT being a know-it-all or bragging or showing off, as that is immature, attention-seeking behavior. It’s not good to bait people for compliments or look for their approval.
Being cool is NOT being popular or widely accepted by a majority of people based on our reputation. Because reputation is merely an opinion of what people THINK we are. And unless they know you for who you REALLY are, then their admiration of you is only temporary and will fade as soon as the spotlight moves to another person. Some people will attach themselves to a popular person just because association with the popular person makes them feel popular themselves. It is better to be surrounded by people who like you FOR YOU! A handful of true friendships is far better than a crowd of conditional admirers.
So what is "cool"?
What is it that makes someone the kind of person that EVERYONE wants to be around?
I told my kids it boils down to these categories:
3) REFINED EMOTIONS
4) INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
A confident person is sure of his or her self worth, they believe in their own abilities and assume they have something to offer others. They know that they are inherently good, regardless of flaws or imperfections. They have optimistic expectations about people and situations.
Instead of beating themselves up mentally over downfalls, they constantly reaffirm their OWN self-esteem anyway. You must first love yourself, before you can be healthy and capable of loving others. Caution though, that there is a fine line between being confident and being vain. Here is a list of traits with confidence in the middle with the extremes above & below.
Vanity: Thinks only of self in superficial positive
Confidence: Other centered
Weak: Thinks only of self in negative
Vanity: Haughty, proud, sense of superiority
Confidence: Realizes no one is better than anyone else; some are simply privileged with blessings
Weak: Feels badly about self
Vanity: Takes all the credit
Confidence: Realizes that no one gets anywhere without support and teamwork
Weak: Blames others for faults (character flaw) or over-blames self for faults (neurosis)
Vanity: Arrogant, conceited, and exaggerates their own self-worth
Confidence: Has a sense of modesty and humility
Vanity: Condescending and pretentious
Confidence: Uplifts and encourages others
Weak: Seeks sympathy, begs for praise, and fishes for compliments
Vanity: Overbearing and aggressive
Confidence: Enduring patience and without resentment
Weak: Timid, shy, bashful
Vanity: Sense of superiority
Confidence: Realizes we are all created equal with equal rights
Weak: Feels of low value, inferior, unimportant
Merged with confidence is self-sufficiency and being independent. According to author David DeAngelo, “Independent is the OPPOSITE of ‘dependent’. When you act ‘dependent’, you lean on others, you look to them for approval, you ask what they think, before you make a decision, you tend to want to stay physically close to them, and your feelings tend to depend on what others feel and think of you. When you act INDEPENDENT, you lean back, you do things because YOU decided you wanted to, you don't ask others what they think - instead you decide yourself, you are fine walking away from your friends for awhile when you're out, and your feelings are controlled by what YOU think, not what others think. A "dependent" person will get upset easily about things that others say, and constantly be looking for attention and approval in some way. An INDEPENDENT person, on the other hand, will be more likely to... walk away and look around the place ALONE to see who's there - and feel fine about leaving their friends for awhile and striking up a conversation with a stranger... They'll be cool and calm no matter what happens - even if others are getting upset around them... And, most importantly, they aren't looking to others for attention and approval. They're doing their own thing, and enjoying whatever happens.”
According to David DeAngelo “Most people are ATTACHED to the outcomes of things. They're constantly worrying about what's going to happen... and talking about the future in a fearful, uncertain way. This type of person always wants to know what other people think of them, and they're worrying about what they should do so other people will like them. Unfortunately, this almost ALWAYS comes across as INSECURITY. An indifferent person, on the other hand, just goes about life and takes things as they come. The indifferent person doesn’t worry about the outcome of whatever situation they're in. No big deal. When you are ATTACHED to the outcome of a situation, it makes you act all kinds of freaky. You pause, act nervous, hold back, look for approval, act insecure... and any of 100 other unattractive things.
On the other hand, when you're indifferent to the outcome, it makes you magnetic! Indifference is the ultimate way to show a LACK of insecurity in life.”
Don’t gossip, criticize, condemn or complain. No one likes a complainer. If you have a grievance, offer a solution along with your dissent, otherwise it comes across as whining. Don’t ever seek pity. Broadcasting your troubles to the public with a “whoa is me” mentality repels people. Don’t hang your emotions out there for everyone else to see. Show some restraint. Control your moods and tempers. Train your mind to be positive and optimistic. If you really need comfort or advice though, reserve the deeply wounded problems to discuss with those closest to you, who can give unconditional support. The key is knowing the difference between dumping on someone for attention versus confiding in someone who can actually help your cause. However, do be empathetic, sensitive and understanding with those who seek your sympathy anyway. This is the paradox of being other-centered and being a bigger person.
A sense of humor is powerful. Laughter goes with happiness. When we laugh, it triggers positive feelings and makes us feel good inside. People crave that feeling and if you can give it to them, then you make their day better. But a sense of humor starts inside… you have to be light-hearted with your own shortcomings; be able to laugh at yourself, that way you don’t take criticism personally. When people tease you or give you a hard time, give it back harder!
If you're not naturally funny, it's a great skill to learn. Read books. Watch live comedy. Do whatever it takes to learn how to be funny. It’s about bringing a laugh or a smile in a timely moment. This skill takes an awareness of your audience, what they find funny and what they find appropriate. But more importantly, humor can be personal and others don’t even need to know what you find funny in a given situation. Just keep yourself laughing and smiling : ).
A sense of humor is a mastery of emotions. Controlling your happiness is just as important as controlling your sadness. Here are some guidelines for emotional management.
Crying is acceptable for
1.Legitimate physical pain
2.Mourning – the loss or absence of a loved one
3.Lamenting – sorrow for someone else’s loss or suffering
4.Remorse – sincere regret for doing wrong
5.Gratefulness & joy – expressing heartfelt appreciation
6.Emotional awe – enthusiasm for a highlight in life (i.e.: wedding day, birth of a child, a sentimental gesture)
Crying is unacceptable for
1.Self pity - feeling sorry for your self
2.Disappointment - Just because something didn’t go your way
3.Pouting - as a manipulation to gain sympathy or attention
4.Extended sadness – do not dwell on emotional pain, it leads to the bondage of depression
Dealing with anger…
According to The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman, there are 2 types of anger. Definitive anger and distorted anger.
Definitive Anger – valid anger caused by injustice or mistreatment.
1.Acknowledge to yourself that you are angry
2.Restrain your immediate response
3.Locate the focus of your anger
A. Was it the person’s intention to hurt you?
B. How serious was the offense?
C. Is this issue related to a past event?
D. Is this anger influenced by other issues?
4.Analyze your options
A. Confront, reconcile, and FORGIVE
B. Overlook the offense, release it to God/karma
5.Take constructive action
Distorted Anger – invalid anger caused by disappointment, unfulfilled desire, frustration, or tiredness
1.Share information – tell the other person about the concern in a noncondemning way
2.Gather information – do you have all the facts?
3.Negotiate understanding – open honesty
Express struggles in a nonthreatening manner
LISTEN to the other person’s response
4.Request change – most people will respond to your request, if you neither demand nor manipulate for the change
Being able to relate well to others and make them comfortable around you is probably the MOST important part of being cool. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Watch how others dress, carry themselves, walk, and talk. Pay attention to little details... If you can first get yourself to the place, where other people want to be around you just because they enjoy your company, you'll find building friendships to be a lot easier.
Don’t put people down. Be an uplifter of spirits, offer encouragement…find things to like about others, be a good listener and take a genuine interest IN THEM…and they will usually automatically like you in return. “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
To retain your uniqueness, be a trendsetter not a trend follower.
Don’t worry about having all the coolest possessions, the coolest car, or any fashionable materialism…these things are superficial and aren’t a reflection of who you are.
Buy what you can afford, don’t flaunt your belongings and don’t be greedy…be a person who gives and shares. But be careful not to “buy favor” or give away too much, where people take advantage of you. Pull back, if you notice others begin to EXPECT you to cover their slack. Serve others and don’t take advantage of their good graces either. Don’t worry about having the coolest clothes, just take care of yourself, exercise, eat healthy, have good hygiene, and especially don’t have bad breath! Taking care of your self subconsciously communicates that YOU LIKE YOURSELF…
Self-improvement is important. Continue to educate yourself on multiple topics. Take interest in subjects beyond the things you naturally like. Keep an open mind to different foods, styles of music, books, films, social events, and cultures. Broaden your tastes and experiences to make you more interesting, rather than being limited to “the usual.” Loosen up, be carefree and silly…don’t be afraid to be yourself. “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Have an opinion and be able to express it with passion. This will give you charisma…a magnetic charm and appeal. Enthusiasm is contagious! You can learn something from other beliefs and cultures. Partake in new and unfamiliar social settings often. You don’t necessarily have to fit in, but get exposed to multiple ranges of ideas and lifestyles. Honor differences while embracing what you have in common. Build a bridge to understand other people, especially those you interact with on a regular basis. Being prejudice and judgmental is foolish; instead explore the background to what makes other groups unique. Step into their point of view and compromise when necessary, where the outcome can benefit all sides.
Serve people…find their need and fill it!
For people to like you, you must meet certain needs:
1. General Needs are belonging, competence, and worthiness.
2.Emotional & Physical Needs (5 love languages by Gary Chapman)
A. Quality time
B. Positive affirmation (compliments)
C. Acts of service
D. Physical touch
3.Temperament needs (Your Personality Tree by Florence Littauer)
A. Directors need achievement & appreciation
B. Producers need order & sensitivity
C. Performers need attention & approval
D. Observers need respect & worth
Even though people may like you, because you met a need, doesn’t mean they will necessarily want to follow you. To be a leader you must earn respect. Raising the level of friendship to respect requires the following:
1.Making sound decisions (not letting emotions control our choices)
2.Admitting mistakes (honesty to others and our self)
3.Placing what’s best for others ahead of our own personal agenda
4.Accountability & dependability (keeping our word, fulfilling promises)
5.Standing up for what we believe, even if others disagree
6.Keeping calm, when challenges arise (level headed)
7.Treating others with kindness, regardless of their benefit to us
8.Accepting input from others (willing to learn from outside our self)
9.Humility (not being conceited or too good for someone else)
10.Positive mental attitude
Yes, it is shallow…when the surface of a person portrays one thing, but a deeper investigation exposes absolutely no evidence of substantial backing! It is pretense...it is facade, an artificial and deceptive front...it is a mask, and saying what someone wants to hear in order to satisfy their own agenda...They are posers...pretenders...fakers...users...takers...(all talk and no walk!) ...building of a genuine friendship requires the earning of trust and respect...and forgiving, when someone lets us down. Begin each day with a fresh slate; however, set your standards, so that no one treats you like a doormat. THOSE IN YOUR LIFE SHOULD BE WORKING HARD TO EARN YOUR RESPECT JUST AS MUCH AS YOU ARE EARNING THEIRS.
Is this all there is to being cool? Probably not, but we couldn’t go too far wrong with a foundation like this right?
make a habit of looking people in the eye
hold your head high
give a firm handshake
SMILE OFTEN : )
take good care of your appearance
speak up as if you know what you are talking about, even if you have doubt
don't be self-conscious. think about the other person instead
be a listener
ask questions about them
answer their questions with a return question
the person who is asking questions in a conversation is in control of the conversation
the person who returns questions is your equal
make the other person feel good about their self
and they will automatically like you.
you don't have to try to impress
flattery gets you nowhere
be sincere with your compliments
don't brag about your own accomplishments
be genuinely interested in others
there is always something to like about everybody
act as if you are sure of yourself and you eventually will be
you are what you think you are
if you don't like yourself, then change what you are saying ABOUT YOU in your head...
you are an amazing person and you know it!
no pity parties
no begging for sympathy
no wearing your emotions on your sleeve
no "whoa is me"
stop that self-loathing nonsense
it's not attractive
it's selfish thinking about your own shortcomings, failures and misery...
be solution minded
kick ass and take names
rise above your circumstances
improvise, adapt, and overcome
- Kasey Cole Braun