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Why Being Popular Isn’t as Cool as It Looks

Why Being Popular Isn’t as Cool as It Looks

We’ve all heard the old adage, “Here today, gone tomorrow.” It summarizes the idea of how fleeting popularity is in our society today. Take a look around. Football stars, movie stars, political figures, coaches, and CEOs of major companies all have one thing in common: they were popular, and then they fell from grace.

Norv Turner got the ax in San Diego because his team wasn’t winning. Tim Tebow got the boot over Peyton Manning in Denver, and, yes, Michael Jordon really got cut from his High School basketball team. Why? Because according to the world’s standards, they didn’t perform well enough. Folks like Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods learned the hard way that popularity can quickly go to your head and lead you to do some pretty messed up stuff. These were superstars, and they all fell from grace — hard. Movie stars aren’t even immune from being dethroned. Their popularity can fold like a deck of cards, if not forever, at least for a time: Tom Cruise, Brittany Spears, and Ben Affleck all took hits for their performances — or lack there of.

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The bottom line is this: being popular is great, but it comes with a price. If you’re not producing, you’re done. That’s not a pleasant thought, but a necessary one to consider. While popularity has its perks, it also has its pitfalls. You don’t have to have the notoriety of a superstar to struggle with wanting to stay on top; you can be jealous of your best friend, a sibling, your boss, or just about anyone.

The truth is, being popular isn’t always the coolest thing to be. In fact, there are a great many more attributes that far outweigh being popular. So if you’re tired of being on the performance treadmill and trying to win popularity through the world’s standards, here are a few things to consider:

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Being popular….

Doesn’t last forever

Unless you’re Oprah, or if Elvis is still in the building, popularity can be fleeting. Instead of focusing on being popular, focus on how you want to be remembered in life. Strive to build a legacy that will last and that can be passed on to generations after you. Ask yourself how you want the people who really mattered to you in life to remember you, and plan your life accordingly. You may not be the most popular person in the world, but you’ll be the most popular person in your world.

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Keeps you on the performance treadmill

It takes a lot of effort and stamina to develop popularity and sustain it. That means you’re only as good as your last performance. Whether you’re a car salesman or a top NFL football player, if you aren’t making it happen every week, you’re done. Even if you’re a people-pleaser, you’re still putting yourself on the performance treadmill. You always have to do a good audience analysis, find out what people want you to say or do, and do it so they’ll like you. You can’t be free to express how you really feel because you’re afraid others may reject you. So you keep running, never realizing who you really are apart from your performance.

Puts your focus on self

If you’re always worried about what people think, you can never rest. You will always have to say the right things, perform perfectly, look perfectly, and act perfectly. In other words, you have to always be focused on YOU! Even for a narcissist, that can get old. Thinking about yourself too much hinders you from developing empathy toward others. When we’re “other-focused” and think about paying things forward, we’ll not only feel better about ourselves, we’ll generally get what we want.

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I’m not saying being popular isn’t nice. I was popular in High School, but looking back, I can see how it created some false beliefs in my life that hindered me from walking in real peace and rest.

If you’re tired of performing to be successful, take a risk and jump off the treadmill for a while. You might like how it feels, and, who knows, you might never want to jump on again!

Back at you: How has the drive to be popular stolen your joy? Any suggestions for jumping off the treadmill?

More by this author

Rita Schulte LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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