There’s only one thing in life that matters, and that’s being damn cool. Money, power, prestige, looks, clothes, language, and happiness are all window dressing we use to help us be cooler. Scarface was only partly right when he said “…when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” Sure, but then you get cool.
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Here’s how it shakes out: None of us “need” a double-breasted pinstripe suit. None of us “need” a supercar. We want them because they’re cool. Yet, they cannot make us cool. Like the adage goes: “Don’t let your clothes wear you.” Being truly cool can be about appearing cool on the outside, but for true style, true grace, true serenity and aplomb, you’ve got to know how to use your own personal mojo, to channel your chi into something really smashing. Your style must come from within, and that means learning to exude cool without faking it: from the inside out. Here’s 17 steps to get there. Your own personal Tao te Cool.
Confidence is always the key, but that doesn’t mean trying to overcompensate or be cocky. Being accepting of yourself, your faults, your flaws, and everything good about you makes you comfortable within your own skin. In a word: cool. If you’re wearing sweatpants and a Looney Tunes T-shirt, wear it with a straight back and a broad grin. We’ve all had those days, so make it your own.
Laugh At Yourself
You’re ridiculous, even if you don’t know it. Showing shame and embarrassment tends to make people feel that way about you, whereas a wry chuckle at your own mistakes, misfortunes, errors, and failings makes it hard to hold them against you. Raise your hands in celebration with a hearty “I screwed it up again!” and the world laughs with you.
Care About You
Taking yourself too seriously is a failing, but so is not giving a damn about yourself. A little pride in your appearance, your bearing, your grooming, and your meat suit go a long way. You’re stuck with this body and brain, so along with owning it, take care of it and feel good about all your bits and bobs.
Stand and Deliver
Stand up like a person. Don’t shrivel and shrink, trying to make yourself smaller. You’re here, dammit, and you deserve your space. Show by your body language how good you feel about you and how much you respect others by looking them, and life dead in the eye.
Go Your Own Way
It’s easy to say you need to march to the beat of your own drummer, but doing it is tough. Most of us have issues with who and what we are. Ask yourself as often as possible: “What is the best thing to do in this situation?” The Nazis follow(ed) the mob, so don’t fall in line just because someone tells you to. Being wrong is rarely fatal, so long as you’re careful.
Be A Rebel
Speak up against the wrongs you see. Complacency is the #1 killer of good people, because it sucks them into the well of apathy. Cool people aren’t actually detached, they’re engaged and involved in the world around them. Civil disobedience isn’t just a couple pretty words, they’re the heart and soul of cool.
Survival of the fittest doesn’t mean being the best. It means being the most adaptable. When you are wrong, when you make mistakes, when you err since you are human, laugh it off and then make a change. If it might be fun, or might be a good experience, have it, even if it means taking a blow to your ego. You might be surprised how fast you’ll learn to live without fear of different things, and how cool people find your fast adapting personality.
Assume The Best
The world is going to do what the world is going to do and there’s scant little you can do to alter it it. So, assume the best, but be careful. This doesn’t mean being naïve, but keeping an outlook that says “Why not?” instead of “Why bother?” shows an outlook of taking life as it comes instead of letting it lead you around by the nose.
Stop Being Cool
Honesty is awesome, as is engagement, involvement, and taking life by the horns. If you’re obsessed with your image, you’re affected. Cool people know when to join in the fun, when to get dirty, and when to lay back and detach. Fear isn’t cool, and if you’re afraid of how you’re being judged, you’ve already judged yourself and found want in your deepest parts.
Dare to Care
We share this planet with each other, and that means showing compassion and empathy for the people around you. Think of the truly amazing people in your life, those who embody coolness. They’re the ones who are always there, always ready, and always willing to help you move a body. Caring about everyone and trying to show them respect will get you all the respect you could ever want.
Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
You can’t be the cat’s pajamas while you’re running around trying to get more stuff. Be happy with what you’ve got and that will shine through. Not only is gratitude good for your brain chemistry – making you happier – it also means you’re calmer and more collected, because you don’t need this nonsense. You’ve got all you could want.
Always Be Improving
The greatest thing about trying to be the best person you can be is that you’re always the best version of yourself, each day. You never need to look back at the “glory days” but instead can be enjoying how excellent you’ve become. Then, think of how marvelous you’ll be tomorrow if you just keep climbing the ladder, rung by slow rung.
Most of us want it all and we want it now. Is someone screaming with impatience and frustration cool? Nope. Rather, the person waiting kindly and calmly is the one totally in control. Slow down and wait for your good work to pay off, and, in the fullness of time, it shall.
Mind Over Matter
Notice how this list doesn’t talk about how to get more cash, look good, or drive the right vehicle. Stuff is merely an extension of yourself, which means that you have to start on the inside. Get your brain right and your body, home, and lifestyle will follow suit.
Try It All
You never know what you’re missing until you know you aren’t missing it. Get worldly, get novel, and try out something you never thought you’d like. Weird food, unusual churches, fascinating people, and a whole world of experience awaits you. Get out there and find what fits so you can learn how to be forever cooler.
Keep It To Yourself
You don’t need to always be shouting from the rooftops how great you are. That grandiosity is ego, not true serenity. A little mystery makes you engaging and appealing, so don’t speak, letting your light say all it needs to.
Give It Away
That mystery is great, but don’t get coy or play games. When someone is seeking help, advice, or counsel – which they will when you actually get your body, brain, and soul in true cool mode – help them out. Watch one, do one, teach one goes for finding the secret of life, and the gateway to cool.