Don’t let yourself get caught up in popularity contests. When you care about winning a popularity contest, or maintaining some kind of popular status, you make pleasing other people more important than being true to yourself.
One of the keys to happiness is not having a fuck to give about popularity contests or worry about what THEY will think. THEY don’t know a goddamn thing, THEY don’t care about who you are when you wake up terrified in the middle of the night. THEY aren’t worth your time and energy, so don’t put your sense of self worth and control of your happiness into their hands.
Be kind. Be honest. Work hard. Speak up. Be honorable. Be silly. Be you.
Whenever someone tells me they’re not going to [read | follow | subscribe | whatever] because I’m not dancing precisely the way they want me to, as if I should listen to their threat and immediately modulate who I am to please them, I usually think, “oh how adorable that you think I have a fuck to give for someone who thinks being popular is so important to me that I’ll do whatever it takes to keep their (conditional) approval”. So I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and I thought I’d take a stab at putting those thoughts into something affirmative that I wish someone had said to me when I was younger, and worried all the time about being popular and cool.
I may work on this a little bit, and see where it leads, but this is off the top of my head in about five minutes.
The trite explanation for that is, when you see Earth from space, the borders disappear. You’ll be looking at Africa or Europe, and thinking back to what happened there 60 or 70 years ago, and you’ll be wondering: How could that little line right there have meant anything to anybody? You can’t even see it from a million feet away. But more important is that you can see that people all around the planet live more or less the same way. One of the guys on the crew put it best. He said we look like bacteria in a kitchen—we’re living in these sheltered little warm spots that have a nice supply of moisture. You can look down on a city and think, hey, I know that place. But then you wait half an hour, and you’re on the other side of the world, looking at a place you’ve never even heard of and, wow, it looks exactly the same.
So you make this link. You realize, “Those people are the same. They’re trying to solve the same problems the same way. They just have their own particular set of barriers and circumstances.” So it affects your response, when you hear about some idiot doing something stupid that has a negative effect on it all. You have to accept it; there are good dogs and bad dogs in life. You just wish that people could get a little more of that million-feet-away perspective.
“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived ideal can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.”—Conan O’ Brien from his Dartmouth’s commencement speech (via shumbodynamedharry)