Being “cool” is one of the pressures that everyone feels, especially when they’re younger. It can manifest in a myriad ways:
- What you wear
- What you say
- Who your friends are
- Where you go
- Where you’re from
- Social Media (too many things on there to list – sheesh)
But what’s at the core of all of it is this idea that there are certain barriers to “cool” or life that some people naturally have and others don’t. Not having those barriers is “cool.” Not having those problems is “cool.” And when you’re cool, you’re confident – because you’re cool. We always assume that they go hand in hand and in that order. They wouldn’t act that confident unless they were cool. If I was that cool, I’d be so confident. Wow, I’m so much cooler than them.
We don’t want to be cool to be cool, we want to be cool so we can be confident. Who cares about being cool if we don’t have confidence in our “coolness?” It’s effects are completely lost if we don’t know that we’re cool and have confidence in it. We think that if we are naturally cool, then we will be naturally confident.
Confident people are naturally cool, which is how they’re confident. They’re just somehow better at being cool. They’re just somehow better, right?
But if “cool” is actually confidence in what you say, wear, do, etc, then this way of thinking is going about it in the completely wrong way.
At the heart of confidence is the idea that some people are beyond worrying about judgement, mockery and the whim of others. We think that these people must not make all the mistakes us un-cool/un-confident people make, because otherwise they wouldn’t be cool/confident.
Ultimately, we think they’re just living life better than us.
Confidence is a skill, not a natural gift. And while it can be informed and influenced by our life experiences, competencies, connections and validation, the greatest way to develop it is to assure ourselves that noone is cool – including us.
Once we learn to see ourselves and everyone else as this utterly not cool thing, it doesn’t really matter if we or someone else does one more un-cool or stupid thing, because there is no coolness to lose.
And if we have nothing to lose, we’re confident.
I guarantee that people have experienced worries, insecurities, jealousies, imperfections, anxieties and imposter syndrome just as intensely and frequently as you have.
We are all uniquely flawed, but flawed just the same. We are just far more intimate with these types of moments when we experience them than when others have their comparable experiences.
One of the best remedies is to make the leap that everyone’s mind basically works the same. There are things that almost all people worry about, even if it’s not publicly apparent.
We question our thoughts when in reality other people would arrive at the same conclusions and react to things the same way as us. It’s reasonable. You’re reasonable.
Even though that’s true, everyone has felt uncertain in the same ways we do.
Everyone is afraid and intimidated – even the people who intimidate us.
Noone lives without making mistakes and being embarrassed.
Additionally, when we accept ourselves as imperfect, uncool people, it also makes it easier to accept these moments in others and have compassion for their comparable experiences. And you know what’s really cool? Developing empathy.
Noone is cool. Everyone has just as much right to be confident as anyone else. Live it up. Be confident in your un-coolness.
To quote Bob Lefsetz –
“You’re not in a popularity contest. Act accordingly.”