This I Believe

Tom - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: integrity

This I Believe

I believe that being “cool” is having confidence in yourself and not letting what others think of you get in the way of being who you want to be. “Cool” is what you make of it, not what others tell you it should be. It does not matter what you wear, who your friends are, how you talk, what music you listen to, or anything like that. All that matters is how you think of yourself.

In too many schools there are social hierarchies with the self-exalting “popular kids”, the rebels, and everyone in between. The one thing all schools have in common, though, are two groups: the followers, and the leaders. The followers are the people who spend their time trying to keep up with the latest fashion and acting the way they see people do on TV and in movies. Followers are scared to go against the flow and be different from the crowd.

Leaders, on the other hand, are the people who do what they want and have fun doing it, despite what followers think. Of course, leaders can dress nice and look good by followers’ standards, but leaders are truly defined by their actions towards others and their ability to fearlessly be a unique individual.

One of my favorite comedy movies, Zoolander, has a great quote in it: “Guys, have you ever stopped to think that maybe there could be more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking?” While the quote is hysterical within the context of the movie, it also has a larger meaning if you stop to think about it. Derek Zoolander, the main character, asks this of his friends and they laugh in his face. Ask the average “follower” this question and they might do the same.

But in actuality, there is much more to life. Life is too short to waste it away perfecting yourself in the eyes of others. Be who you want to be, not who others want to make you. You can’t enjoy life if all of it is spent trying to fit in with the followers.

No one should have to pretend to be someone they are not in order to make friends with others. If someone does not accept you and like you for who you really are, they are not worth trying to impress. Just enjoy life; that is what makes you cool. And as the late, great philosopher Dr. Seuss once said, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” This I Believe.