I found myself this morning trying to figure out what makes something or someone ‘cool’. Cool is laid-back and relaxed, but still edgy, interesting, and exciting. Cool is achieving success without (the appearance of) trying. Cool is what so many of us fail to pull off as we try to direct the waves with futility rather than become more efficient, knowledgeable sailors.
That’s why James Dean and Miles Davis are cool. They’re the near-literal definition of cool. Movie and music legends that- did those guys try? Did they even work for it? (Answer: you bet your ass they did.)
But you’d never see either of those cats break a sweat. Show me the photo of Miles Davis sweating. Or a famous shot of James Dean working hard — at anything.
Here’s James leaning against a beautiful car. Here’s James leaning against a fence on this otherwise gorgeous LA afternoon, having a smoke.
Cool is easy-going, simple, approachable — but amazing. Innate talent. IT. The guy in high school who just got all the girls because, well, he was fuckin’ cool.
I wanted to hang out with that guy. I’m sure I wanted to be that guy.
Nice people are cool; nothing seems to bother them. People who don’t complain, show up on time, and get the job done are cool. Charisma is often very cool.
People who respect you, your value, your time, your talents — are cool. People who help you along the way aren’t just cool; they’re guardian angels.
This is a process where cool transitions into authenticity, vulnerability, bonding, trust, and family.
I work pretty hard to come off as cool, but at times have to yield myself to life’s circumstances. See: losing your cool. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better about that, but I slip from time to time. It’s why initial impressions might be the easiest to make, and why getting to know a person over time makes you understand and identify what is truly beneath the curtain.
Make no mistake, every Oz has its wizard — the voice inside our heads (imposter syndrome) desperately trying to convince us we must constantly pull the switches faster or face irreparable failure.
Don’t let that voice get to you.
It’s Friday. It’ll be a great day.
Just play it cool, man. Real cool.