Is it me or do the unpopular kids generally grow up to be more successful than the popular kids?
Talk about a personal topic.
This is clearly a sensitive issue because it involves something we all would like to think does not exist: the fact that there are cool kids and there are “uncool” kids.
And what that affect has on their lives.
But stick with me.
There’s got to be something here.
I know too many people (either first hand or having read their biographies) that weren’t in the ‘cool crowd’ growing up and went on to win big time in life.
They get stuff done. They’re respected in their circles. They make a difference.
They have a higher purpose about them that you can sense. Somehow you get the feeling that they’re ‘going somewhere’.
But what am I saying here? That there’s a segment of people out there that grew up super-cool and ultra-popluar, then went into the ‘real world’ and sputtered?
I’m not sure how to say this…but yes.
Let’s understand this one thing before we go on:
I have no particular bone to pick here. I don’t want or intend for this to be a rant against cool kids (because if I’m honest I would have to admit to being that in some circles), nor do I intend for this to be a free pass for the “uncool” kids (again I’d have to admit to being that in some circles).
Having said that there seems to be a pattern or principle at work here that’s got me curious.
Let me give you an example:
“Johnny” was good kid growing up, but a bit of a social misfit. Not from any visible fault of his own (he could hold a conversation and build a fort as good as the next) but for whatever reason he just wasn’t in ‘that group’.
As he grew into adulthood he want through a spell where he felt cheated, under-privileged, forgotten even, because he wasn’t popular.
But then time passes and something happens. (This is likely the part where the secret lies)
And now he’s doing great. He’s as respected as anyone in the community and there isn’t one classmate from ‘back in the day’ that wouldn’t trade places with him.
Before you try to determine who it is I’m referring to let me tell you, I just thought of 5 or 6 different people in a matter of a minute or so, people I know personally. (Maybe they don’t all follow this exact storyline, but the premise is the same)
And that doesn’t even include the Wozniak’s, Einstein’s, Job’s, Roosevelt’s, Spielberg’s, and Swift’s of this world.
Check this out.
Jessica Alba ate lunch by herself in the nurses office so she wouldn’t have to sit with the other girls.
Zac Efron was a self-described geek and was treated like one.
Chad Michael Murray hated high school because he didn’t fit in and he didn’t have any friends.
We could go on, but you get the point.
The sad thing is for every less-than-popular kid that made something of themselves I can think of a crazy-popular kid who is now enjoying a life of mediocrity.
I know that sounds terrible, I’m not sure how else to put it.
What’s at work here?
I’m not entirely sure.
I assume it’s a quite a few factors really, I’m sure we’re just scratching the surface.
But taking this issue into consideration here’s 3 things I intend to do with my own kids:
1. Teach them social skills:
Not because I’m afraid they’ll be unpopular. But because relationships require social skills, and the quality of one’s life is directly correlated to one’s relationships.
2. Train them the watch out for the underdogs.
I’m not about to set out to ensure my kids are unpopular, but by-George they better be watching out for those that are.
3. Make them work for it.
Free rides in life do not a hero make. I intend to allow my kids to struggle against their shells, not because I’m a heartless father, but rather because that’s what it takes to hatch properly.
Because I can think of few things more disappointing than raising the most popular kid in high school, and then watching his life fall apart in the real world.
If that were to happen I sure hope the unpopular kids from his class are hiring by then.
So what do you think?
Do you agree with my generalization that “uncool” kids tend to go further than cool kids?
Be honest with me now.
What do you think is at work here?
Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about having been popular or unpopular.
Maybe it’s about what you make of yourself.