For young professionals (YPs), reputation is important. As much as we would like to believe that we don’t care what others think of us, to some degree, we all do; we must. We are all in a stage of our personal and professional lives when proving ourselves to be capable, consistent – and even cool – are key. But while exuding a certain character via our appearance, actions, and opinions is necessary in the YP world, playing the “too cool” role won’t get us very far. Here’s how being too focused on trend, status, and being “cool” can hinder our happiness and success:
Keep “cool” out of it
Spending our time trying to portray an image that is not a true reflection of ourselves is not only a waste of energy but can be harmful to our health, happiness, and success. We all have unique interests, talents, and opinions, and playing the “too cool” role can stifle those qualities and impede our opportunities to discover our true selves. Don’t keep those interests and possibilities locked away just because they don’t fit in with the status quo, or because they cause some less enlightened folks to scoff or snicker. “Let your freak-flag fly,” as they say, and you may just be surprised how freeing and empowering it can feel.
Who are you trying to impress anyway?
While being seen as “cool” amongst your YP peers may be working for you to some extent, rest assured that your older coworkers, important superiors, and close family members are likely feeling less impressed. In both our professional and personal worlds, we all have to play the game in one way or another; but in the eyes of those who really count, having the courage to be yourself is much more notable than being cool or popular. Playing “too cool” is just another dead giveaway of a lack of self-confidence and maturity. Having the guts to be ourselves, even when it goes against the grain, will help us stand out amongst the YP crowd and is a great indicator of our strength of character.
Open your mind
Another concern with playing the “too cool” card is the risk of missing out on the varying views of others. Being “cool” provides only a very narrow path, and in the end it’s not “too cool for school” – it’s too cool to consider that the opinions of others matter.
High school’s over
At one time, hanging with the “in” crowd, wearing the latest trends, and owning the must-have products seemed for many of us like the be all and end all. While such things may still hold value for us today, they’re just no longer at the top of the list. Sure, if pop culture is your thing, if fashion is your forte, super! But if not, don’t worry about it. More importantly, don’t force it. We’re adults now, and “cool” has new meaning. Being cool now means being you; liking what you really like, thinking how you want to think, and doing what makes you happy. Own who you are and be proud of it – there’s nothing cooler than that.