How to Be Cool
Posted on December 27 2015
In the 21st century being cool is not an easy task. In decades past being cool simply meant staying connected, visiting friends, and helping your family survive. Today it demands much more of you. It demands that you take on social responsibility at a much younger age, understand self-respect, and learn how to resist peer pressure on an hourly basis - literally. Asking the probing question of how to be cool is not just a step in the direction of self discovery but rather a move toward independence in a society built on groupthink. Contrary to popular belief being cool today takes more effort, difficult choices, and unique style than any other time in history.
Irving Janis is the author of Victims of Groupthink. Janis was a research psychologist at Yale University and a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He became famous for his theory of “groupthink” because he was ranked as the 79th most cited psychologist in the 21st century. In his book he speaks of the various errors made by groups when charged with making decisions collectively. The theory explains that individuals are victims of groupthink if they surround themselves with people who are similar in background and become insulated from outside opinions.
Today we experience groupthink more than ever before. Whether consciously or not our abilities to get to the heart of the matter are often filtered by what we deem acceptable. We gain a sense of what is acceptable through social media, fraternities, fashion, television, Internet, and celebrities. We derive our coolness based on the hashtags trending on Twitter and the shares from our friends and family on Facebook. It we deviate in the slightest way from what is acceptable according to society influencers we easily become enamored with the wrong kind of cool.
The Journey of Coolness
Throughout the 1990s celebrities and singing groups worked harder than ever to reinforce how to be cool, how to love, and how to live. It was as if the current strides to being cool had plateaued and thus a mainstream compass was needed. R&B groups such as TLC and Destiny’s Child flooded the market with songs that spoke of how to be feel pretty, the dangers of letting one make you feel unpretty, and what it meant to be a survivor. These groups broke records with songs demanding respect and shouting from the rooftops that they would be just fine without the middle guy.
As the years past the trend continued only to be driven by a more united front. Songs like “All My Friends Are Metalheads” by Less Than Jake expounded upon what it meant to embrace everyone regardless of sex, age, race, or religion. Male groups like NSync took to uncovering the mind and expressing one’s emotion while stars like Britney Spears and Usher used music as a platform to make various confessions. The tides in the last two decades shifted a lot of what we deemed acceptable and slowly through songs and celebrities our groupthink tendencies began to shape and form.
We yelled about being independent and different but relied on media influencers to tell us how. We pursued happiness but through the eyes of others and not of ourselves. The effects were a rise in social media influences. Facebook was founded in 2004. The company was a well received platform that enabled us to find our influences more easily. The result was that only eight years later Facebook went public in 2012. Following Facebook other outlets for our need to stay in the loop emerged and stalk influencers. Twitter was founded in 2006, Tumblr launched in 2007, Instagram launched in 2010, and Vine came to us in 2013.
Twitter is said to be the “pulse of the planet”. While Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram could easily be called the heart of it. Drew Olanoff summarizes it best, “When you want to search for something online, you ‘Google It’. When you want to connect with friends, or someone that you just met, you ‘friend them on Facebook’. When you want to share your random thoughts with the world, you ‘tweet it.’”
Understanding Cool vs. Kewl
The key to successfully pulling off being cool in a society plagued by groupthink tendencies is to choose your own kind. At The Kewl Shop we work hard to help you achieve this by offering a variety of dresses in a variety of designs, fabrics, and colors. Putting on one of our sexy two piece dresses gives you sultry confidence while choosing one of our long sleeved bandaged dresses gives you the elegance you crave randomly. We encourage various ways to wear our dress to work, with coats, to holiday parties, and more. Our product selection is not just about what is trending and hot but more about helping you achieve your own kind of kewl in a society that desperately seeks to define it for you. We’ve coined the word kewl because we aim to inspire our customers and challenge them to be truly unique - from the inside out.
‘Kewlness’ does not just stop at ensuring your wardrobe is balanced, diverse, and complete. Instead it begins there and touches on every aspect of your life. Being kewl is very different from being cool. You are cool by default in our society if you wear the latest trends in fashion and always opt for a perfectly painted face. Conversely you only achieve being kewl if you embrace your femininity, hold a hefty respect for others, express your heart, and always find yourself in pursuit of happiness.
Related: 10 ways to overcome low self-esteem.
How to Be Kewl
As we navigate the tough waters of social media and the plague of groupthink we must first understand that being kewl is not just about being beautiful. Although we love everything fashionable and actively seek to inspire your unique sex appeal our version of kewl is very different. To be kewl in the 21st century means that you embrace who you are - curves, flaws, and all. It means that when you look in the mirror you make a conscious choice to love every freckle and mole. It means that when you stand up to do a presentation in class or present during a board meeting you are doing it with an ease and comfort in your own skin because you have actively chosen to love your curves.
The next step to being kewl is to care and share. We are not talking about sharing on Facebook or Twitter but about getting out and finding others interested in your interests. We are talking about getting face to face with others and connecting with them sincerely. Being kewl means not hiding behind a screen but going out and physically finding others that are both similar and different in their views. It is about learning, listening, and sharing in harmony without judgment or strife.
The final step to being kewl according is to give back. Giving back means that you volunteer on a regular basis to help those who cannot help themselves. It means that you understand what difficulties others face and work within your means to offer a helping hand. Caring Magazine wrote an interesting take on why giving back and showing compassion to others is a solid step toward happiness. It reports that a brain imaging study by the National Institute of Health headed by neuroscientist Jordan Grafman found that the parts of our brains that are active when we experience pleasure (such as finding the perfect bandage dress) are equally active when we give money to charity. The study found that giving to others increases well-being as well.
Likewise in another experiment published by Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor, who tracked what participants did with a sum of money. Half of the participants were instructed to spend it on themselves while the others were told to spend it on friends and family. At the end of the experienced participants who were instructed to spend on family and friends were significantly happier than those who didn’t. This was even found true in children as young as 2 years old when they shared their treats.
Behind What It Means to Be Cool
While we understand that being cool is a very important part of life for each of us it is also very difficult in a society plagued with groupthink. Through a unique adjustment of perspective and worldview you have the ability to change what it means to be cool for yourself and possibly impact those around you. Being cool or kewl should never be dictated to you based on what is trending or hot but rather be based on what you believe and how you view yourself.
To put this in practice instead of comparing your Instagram feed with your favorite celebrities and influencers unplug for a while and gain a sense of who you are as a person. Make a list of what you like and don’t like, hangout with your family and friends, and read a book to help you journey through self discovery.
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