As promised, I’ve started my book. I suppose this is a rough draft because if this week was any indication, I’m going to have to re-write these chapters over and over again. Is that what writers do?? Ughhh…. too much work. Anyways…… Hope you enjoy!
Before we get started, I need to explain how you should handle owning this book. This is a self-help book of sorts, but not a coffee table book. In fact, it’s best that nobody knows you own it. One of the cool rules is that you must never let the world know that you’re trying to be cool. It’s probably the hardest thing to pull off. If you’ve invested in this book, you are either a friend or relative of mine, but in the event that you are actually part of my target market (people trying to find a way to increase their cool), then you should really keep this book a secret. That doesn’t help my marketing at all, but for you it’s crucial. Trying to be cool without appearing to be trying to be cool is the trick to this whole thing. It’s a hard enough thing to do, but if someone in your circle finds out that you bought a book to help your cause, your cool factor will decrease dramatically. Plus the relentless teasing!! Counter intuitive, right?? Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through it, but rule number one is to keep your ownership of this book discreet. It’s like rule #1 of Fight Club.
I’ve had the idea to write this book for a long time. Ultimately whether we’re prepared to admit it or not, we devote a good chunk of our lives to the pursuit of being cool, or accepted among our peers. For something that so many people aspire to, I’ve always been surprised by how few resources were available to actually make this happen. This book (if executed properly) is designed to be a manual of sorts to increase your ‘Cool Factor’. You’ll hear me refer to this many times over the course of the book. What I’m referring to is the idea that your coolness is a sliding scale and can increase or decrease with just about every move or decision you make. Not every last one of these ideas will strike a chord with you, and nobody can be expected to execute every idea in this book all of the time. I do believe however, that no matter how cool you think you are, or how cool you’d like to be, that there is something here to be learned or perhaps reminded of. My mission here is to pull together a few relatively tangible suggestions that could be helpful to your Cool Factor no matter who you are. There is no perfectly cool person in the world, so there is no perfectly written book that could ever make you that person. We are pursuing excellence, not perfection.
What is cool? It’s a moving target for sure. There’s no real definition, other than it might be the most time-tested slang word for describing your approval of something. Approval can be very important for members of society, yet overtly seeking approval is actually not considered cool which can be very confusing. It’s not conventionally cool to admit how badly you want to be cool, and the irony is not lost on me that purchasing this book might not qualify as cool either. If you watch movies involving teenagers, especially from the 80s, the beginning of the movie usually has the jocks, or the rich kids representing cool, but as the movie wears on, the nerdy main character always ends up being the cool one. That transference of cool is arguably the driving theme behind most teen movies. Teens do tend to have the biggest desire for acceptance, but I would argue that it never really goes away completely. It often just gets buried among life’s other priorities. Adult cool and kid cool take on different forms, but they both stem from the same desire for acceptance. Perhaps kids are more keenly aware of cool, but adults who think it no longer matters are likely experiencing some sort of denial. We evolve somewhat, but at the end of the day, no matter how many kids you have, or how great your job is, or how distracted you become with the real stresses of your life, social anxiety never goes away completely. A lot of people think that we should grow out of that stuff, and that it no longer matters in the real world. I would argue that it matters even more in the real world, but the standards do change.
Cool means different things to different people. The standards of cool to a teenager vary greatly from those of a 45-year-old. Regionally and culturally there will be different behavioural expectations as well. Every individual has a different list of things that they value. For me to be able to tackle this project, and say that there’s a single path to cool that everyone can follow and have success with is impossible. What I think is possible is to come up with some ideas that are designed as action items to increase your cool factor. I can’t change whatever ‘cool tools’ you brought to the table. If you’re rich and good-looking at the time that you’re reading this, then you have some building blocks to work with. It may be a longer path for others. What I can hopefully do is help you walk the path toward cool. I can’t guarantee that the girl of your dreams will fall for you after this, or that you’ll get that promotion at work that you’ve desired. I think if you are able to use some of these concepts, that you can definitely get cooler. Will I give you your money back if not? It’s totally not cool for you to ask for your money back.
Who am I, and what makes me cool enough to write a book about being cool? That’s a very good question. I’m not really qualified to write a book like this in any way, but who is? I’m not an author, I can’t even really sit here and tell you for sure that I in fact am cool. It’s very subjective. If you asked 100 people who know me if they thought I was cool, I feel confident that 70 of them would say yes with a straight face, and if that’s not true, I’d rather not know. Who said I have to be cool to tell you how to be cool? Does a professional sports coach have to be a good player to be a good coach? I think most of the great coaches weren’t the most gifted players, but they paid attention to the details, and made the most of their talents as players. Then they were respected enough to get coaching jobs later. So I feel like I could be a good cool coach even though I might not be one of the coolest people you’ve met. In order to figure out how to be cool, I think it’s important to understand what it’s like to feel like you’re not cool. It allows you time to actually try to think these concepts up. If cool comes very naturally to you like it does for some, then you probably don’t need to think about it as much, therefore making you less qualified to write a book about it. See? I basically just told you that I wasn’t always cool, and if I am now, it’s because I worked at it.
I didn’t go to school for this. I’m not aware of any school for this. There should be one, but again, it wouldn’t be cool for you to go to it. I think like any writer, I’m a people watcher. Like any kid I wanted to be one of the cool ones, but I always felt like I was in the middle of the pack somewhere. I definitely wanted to increase my own cool factor as a kid, but didn’t necessarily know how to do it. The information wasn’t conveniently in one place. I had to try a few things. Some worked, and some didn’t. Is it as simple as buying that shirt, watching that TV show, or using that slang? I used to watch cool people, and try to pick up things, and implement them. Was that a good approach? Or is it as simple as just being yourself and letting the cool come to you? The truth is that those approaches might work, and they might not. Cool is an elusive lady. If you want to spend some time with her, you’re going to have to treat her with respect.
I have one last thought before we start to drill down. Try to remember that cool is not an absolute. It’s fairly temporary in nature. You’re only as cool as your most recent expression of cool, unless you are able to demonstrate a consistency of cool, at which point you will be considered cool. Clear? Remember integers in math? It was simple addition and subtraction using positive and negative values. If you think of a straight line and have zero plotted in the middle, with positive 1-100 on the right, and negative 1-100 on the left, that is what I think of as a cool factor. Your cool factor can move up and down. The closer you are to zero, the more likely that you can go from cool to not cool very easily. If you build up enough cool points, then you can still do a few uncool things without affecting your overall rating. Now picture every act in your life as having an either positive, negative, or even a neutral effect on your cool factor. Now for all you nerds that think I’m about to assign a point system to this, I’m not. I just wanted you to understand that cool moves in positive and negative directions. I don’t find unnecessary math to be cool, so I’m going to shut this concept down right here. No drawings, no point systems. I basically just wanted you to know what I picture in my head when I refer to a cool factor, which I will do ad nauseam.
Are you ready to increase your cool factor?? Good! Let’s do this!!