The Desire to Be Popular
How to Handle and Achieve a Higher Social Status
As I travel the country talking to students, they often share a desire with me to be part of the popular crowd. It’s natural to want others to notice us, respect us, and include us. Maslow shares that one of our greatest needs is the need for acceptance. While popularity can seem like the solution it can also provide some challenges.
The more popular you become and the higher position you achieve, the more you become a target. As the saying goes, “The higher up you go, the farther you have to fall”. Some people think that becoming popular is the solution to having friends and getting respect. You might think… “If only I could achieve something greater, then people would treat me better.”. Just look at the President of the U.S.A.. They are the most made fun of person on the planet, no matter who is in office. Celebrities find themselves in tabloids, gossip columns, and have rumors spread across social media. Everyone wants to know the “dirt” on the popular people.
At age 23 I had the opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Secret Service and coordinate an event for a President. It was one of the coolest experiences. I was sure that people would be impressed and that my business would be more successful. Heck, I thought that the phones would be ringing off the hook with people wanting my company to coordinate there event. Much to my disappointment, none of that happened. In fact, I experienced quite the opposite. People began talking about me and questioning who I was and why I was the one that got picked for the job. Instead of celebrating the success, they ridiculed me. It was what I thought to be the highlight of my career. No one cared. I had no more popularity then than I did at age 19, applying for a homeless assistance program. I quickly learned that whether your at the top or the bottom, people will talk.
When people talk about you, whether you are popular or not, you will have to learn an important lesson. You will have to learn how to be resilient. Resilience means to go through a difficult situation and remain strong. It is often the difficult situations in life that offer the best opportunities to develop resilience. When you see someone making fun of you or not including you, don’t get upset. Instead, see it as an opportunity for you to be strong, despite how they are treating you. It might sound hard, but every great leader, celebrity, or other popular person must learn how to handle public criticism and do it with resilience.
Achieving Popularity for the Right Reasons
If you want to be respected, included, and known for making a difference start with honoring others. Do all you can to live in peace and harmony with those around you. Share words of kindness, offer help, give good advice when asked, and always be willing to listen.
Being friendly to all and appreciating (adding value) to them is a great way to grow in popularity. It all starts with a positive character and one that lives the Golden Rule… “Treat Others the Way that You Want to Be Treated”.
Special thanks to Ambassador Dr. Clyde Rivers for allowing me to work alongside the president of Burundi and teaching me how to overcome adversity as a leader and accomplish great things. Your example of leading with the Golden Rule and helping nations persevere during times of crisis is an inspiration to all. You can learn more about Dr. Rivers at http://ambclyderivers.blogspot.com/