The pressure placed on young people to reach stereotypical heights of success, often leaves many distraught, unmotivated and even disappointed in themselves for not meeting standards set by those around them.
I came to this realization after reading what has now become one of my favorite books. The Popularity Rules by Abby McDonald. A few years ago, I was introduced to this author and journalist. Her book had just come out and a friend of mine bought it for me as a birthday present.
Having recently muddled through a tough period in my own life. I read the book in hopes of gaining insight into the hopes of finding success. I got that and more from it, including a concept that I’ve come back to many times since reading the book.
It has shed light on so many things that we go through as young people searching for success and happiness. In her work, McDonald writes about popularity versus working hard to gain success. She pens a unique set of rules that she has seen work for many people in the media industry. Many of whom aren’t necessarily hard working or even half as smart as they think they are – but are vastly popular, and thus have been able to climb up the ladder of success with ease.
The cool kids table
According to The Popularity Rules, everything we were told is a lie, good grades, good behaviour and hard work mean nothing. Popularity is the only prize that counts. The popular people get an easy ride all the time, not because they are smart or special, but because they know a friend, who knows a friend.
Popularity isn’t friendship, its power and status you can use to get everything you want. Become popular and everything else follows, those thousands of followers on your social media pages you’ve always wanted or that job with a corner office, it doesn’t matter.
Before reading this book, I thought I was above the cool kids, smarter, I’d rather stay out of the petty social games they all play. I used to tell myself that I wouldn’t want to be popular even if I could be, like they’re the ones wasting their time with social media and networking events. I was happy being a wall flower – content with a writing job that did not require me to get out of my shell.
That has since changed
While The Popularity Rules may be intriguing and offer an opportunity for a life that causes others’ “FOMO” – other practices helped me clarify how I want my life to look and feel going forward.
The book not only highlights what being popular can do for your social status and eventually, your career – it also sheds light on that fact that you control your life, and that is what I decided to take away. I saw that I have a measure of control over where I’m headed, as well as the ability to create and live a deep and meaningful life.
Creating a vision board and sticking to it has helped put things into perspective. McDonald suggests writing down 10 goals and picking one of those 10 to focus on as a goal right now. When that’s a reality, pick another. With each accomplishment, you’re a little bit closer to your dream.
These are the reflections and visioning tools that work for me, but I implore you to follow your own path. Whatever yours is, don’t be afraid to put your dreams out there so those big ideas can grow along the way.