I often here these parenthetical explanations of a person who was “cool” in spite of their condition. Or better yet, I hear people wanting to avoid association with specific groups of people in fear they will be presumed less “cool” or socially acceptable. It has brought me to think about how do we define cool? What are the guidelines of if someone has the capacity to be cool? Is cool something we can only possess depending on what others feel or perceive us to be?
First, it’s safe to say no one wants to be associated with a life leech. Someone who has no positive value to your life nor offers any progressive input or challenge to who you currently are or want to be. That being said, does that mean someone in the lowest of conditions (as you perceive them) cannot be cool? Does that mean someone who is the product of their environment cannot be cool if their environment lacks substance? No. Absolutely not. Have you ever found yourself learning a lesson from someone that “seems” unqualified to teach? We find ourselves surrounded in a world of people who have a variety of good & bad experiences. A thief, no matter how sketchy a person, has a perspective that might enlighten the ‘righteousness’ in you. As there is no condoning the action, there is understanding the mentality. An addict, often very wise through all life has shown them, can give you some of the best advice on avoidance, control, empathy, and/or the lack thereof. Some of the most beautiful stories are found in the depth of those ashamed to tell them. The most amazing thing about elevation is that it can happen from the ground level.
Much of our mentality comes from a copycat training course we have all been freely gifted by society. For example, in society, we are a sold the ideal cool is the rich & famous. Anyone who seems nearly inaccessible, or above social class. So brands, corporations, and mass media portray them in the highest of lights….until they reveal a human error, discord with the social acceptance, or just anything contrary to the image built to “sell” their cool. Here is the flaw in this. It is not cool to be controlled. Having to alter your essence in an effort to appease is actually the opposite of being cool. It lacks authenticity. For example, Brandon Marshall of the Broncos takes the leap of standing up for his beliefs…companies (Century Link & Air Academy Federal Credit) do not find this “cool” so they drop him from their endorsements. What this implies is a lack of fundamental or contrived agreement will result in a lack of support…lack of support means detachment. That is not cool. Now, to examine our trickle down effect.
When we see ourselves being questioned due to an association that others find, inconceivable we often retreat and abandon the association. Much like endorsers of celebrities. Yes, it is fair to argue…maybe the endorsers are taking a stance just as the celebrity did. Yet, that means their initial stance only operated on vanity if they feel disagreement is not a workable situation. As individuals, it is in our best interest to seek growth. Growth does not come from understanding what we already know, but what we have not acquired. We are taught difference or disagreement often means disconnection and/or dislike. This, in turn, makes us very insecure individuals that are more concerned with our appearance than our expansion.
So how do you decipher cool, you might ask? Who would want to be associated with the type of person who has all those strikes against them? Cool is determined by your ability to carry. Whether you are carrying your beliefs, team, style, life, open-mindedness, dream, endeavor etc. with a sense of confidence and intellect/wisdom no one can deny you of your cool. Cool is not fitting in with the crowd for convenience, but challenging the crowd for growth. Cool is influential when comfort is overbearing. Cool is not conformity but informative. Cool is the brand you build on your own individuality that impacts the positive growth of others.