Stop Trying to be Cool

The greatest struggle I’ve had back then was trying to find that one area where I truly belong. For someone growing up with no key talent or gift, I longed to make my mark in the world, just like everyone else.

Unfortunately for my innocent mind, being cool was thought to be the only way to get the universe acknowledge your pathetic existence.

And so, my personal quest to achieve cool status began. Boy, it was ugly.

Eventually, I got over it. But the lessons stay forever. More so, the self-discoveries. Here are four of them:

Cool is an association with wanting something you don’t have
Back when I was a kid, my definition of cool was being privileged.

While my family is neither rich nor poor, at an early age, I could tell the difference what access to the good life have had on the privileged ones.

They simply looked cleaner in their new clothes and shoes, they’re well-behaved in public and they speak a second language, which by the way, was English.

To be able to speak English was a dream for kids of my demographic.

But when I began to have access to these avenues, I realized I still don’t feel cool. There was something missing, like an incomplete sense of privacy because of the keyhole’s presence in the door.

Looking back, it was simply wanting what I don’t have as a kid that hoodwinked me into thinking privileged kids are cool.

Yes, they are. Yes, they’re not.

Dismissing them as ‘cool’ was easier to deal with more than being jealous; cool gives you inspiration and motivation, being jealous stealing and bitterness.

It’s not ‘trying hard’ until you feel you’re really trying hard
If teen years could be an X-Men, they would be Mystique. We’re all scrambling to get to know ourselves, and through self-expression we fill the years with mimicry and experimentation.

For this very reason, we are being slaughtered by the advertising company by showing us which ‘idols’ to emulate, and why we need to buy their endorsements, in order for us to have a glimpse of their life.

If your insides don’t squirm with protest over this new persona you’re trying to become, then by all bloody means continue.

The fact you are interested in this particular area of cool says a lot about your instinct guiding you to it. 

Instinct is innate. It is a box of characters inside of us waiting to be opened.

But when your insides start to violently cringe at the thought of your becoming this ‘cool’ person you desperately want to become, you’re really trying hard.

And you need to stop, for it’s not cool. It’s not giving up. It’s about respecting yourself enough to accept this one’s not for you.

Proceeding to the next chapter of self-discovery, without losing enthusiasm, is the coolest thing ever.

You will disappoint people
The world is unfair.

For one thing, you cannot make mistakes because people will burn you to the ground. For another, people will still burn you if you’re not cool.

And the only way to make cool happen is to make lots of mistakes and iterations to the old ways, in the course of discovering life.

So what do you do?

It’s not pulling a Kim Kardashian and release a sex tape to be accepted in Hollywood. It’s waking up one day, realizing there’s a way to make all your dreams come true.

Some people are born with something that makes them cool, while others need to work harder to have ‘it.’

It’s not shady wanting to achieve ‘cool’ status by working harder, because eventually, it all boils down to who obsessively improved on their chosen craft and connected with the world.

Don’t believe people when they tell you it can’t be done and you’re gonna be stuck with what you have as of the moment.

In the end, you’d rather disappoint people than disappoint yourself.

Cool is about being comfortable with who you are
Probably one of the most iconic quotes since ‘Time is gold,’ Bruce Lee’s “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own” sums up this whole pursuit of ‘cool’ expedition.

All this wanting to become someone, starting a new hobby only for it to disintegrate quickly and pouring resources to learn something that isn’t particularly useful, but looks ‘cool’ in print: e.g. learning French (when it should be Mandarin as most of your clients are Chinese), they will deplete you. Physically and mentally.

One day, I woke up and I’m done with chasing ‘cool.’

That’s when amazing things began to happen. There was just this heavy load all this time, and it was self-inflicted.
Finally, I’ve come to define my very own version of cool. I’m SO over chasing after things.

And ironically, I think that’s cool.