What does it mean to be “cool”?
We all know what “cool” is in school – the cool kids with the expensive clothes who had their own clique, and were oftentimes bullies to everyone else.
But there’s a difference between schoolyard cool and real-world cool.
Real cool is almost totally the opposite: someone welcoming and open, warm and kind, effortlessly independent and capable in whatever they do, wherever they go.
Being cool means being authentically you, and not letting anyone else define who you are.
Here are 14 traits that make a person cool:
1) They Define Their Own Energy
When you walk into a crowded room, what do you do?
You might try to feel the energy out first before engaging or interacting with anyone, hoping that you don’t get noticed before you understand the vibe of the crowd.
A cool person doesn’t care about that at all.
They’re not worried about what other people think or what other people are doing; they live by their own rules at all times.
They define their own energy, and it doesn’t depend on where they are or whom they’re with; their energy is their energy, and they carry it confidently into every situation.
2) They Don’t Need a Posse
Humans are naturally tribal; we like staying in groups, because they give us security and stability, and they help us feel more comfortable with our lives.
We learn how to depend on those close to us, on our group or “posse”, because that’s where we feel at home.
But a cool person doesn’t necessarily need others to feel complete.
While this doesn’t mean that they’ll reject having a social circle, it still means that a cool person is perfectly capable of being who they are even when they’re on their own.
3) They’re Open to New Experiences
Cool people know how important it is to just say yes.
Life has endless experiences to offer, but you can only experience them if you actually let yourself experience them.
A cool person doesn’t pass up on the opportunity to try out something new every chance they get, and this gives them a rich and fulfilling life with tons of memories.
Places to see, things to do, people to meet – cool people learn more and experience more simply because they put themselves out there more than everyone else.
And this makes life more rewarding, more fulfilling, which in turn adds to their natural, inherent contentment towards life.
They know that life is all about experiences; without experiences, how else would they be so cool?
4) They Make Things Seem Effortless
When you think of a cool person, do you ever think of someone hesitant, clumsy, and messy?
Do you ever think of someone who may be stumbling around, struggling to do something, and withdrawing within themselves when they mess up? Not at all.
A cool person is someone who knows how to make everything they do seem effortless.
This doesn’t mean that a cool person is an expert at everything they do; it simply means that no matter what they do, they put their whole effort into it, giving them a sense of confidence and competency even if they have no idea what they’re doing.
This blind, natural confidence overwhelms any inexperience they may have.
5) They Have Their Own Swagger
Cool people live and breathe confidence, and with confidence comes swagger. But what does “swagger” actually mean?
Some people might think that “swagger” is that cool, nonchalant sway in the way someone walks, but swagger could mean so much more.
Having a natural swagger means having a kind of inherent confidence, a bubble of your own security that protects you from the eyes and judgment of those around you.
When you have a swagger, you just have a presence that no one can take away from you.
You stand and enter rooms differently, talk to people without a debilitating self-consciousness.
Having swagger is having the confidence to roam the world on your own accord.
6) They Don’t Judge
Cool people don’t waste their time judging others.
Too many of us spend too much time being judgmental; judging other people for what they’re wearing, for how they’re acting, for what they’re doing.
For some people, the act of judging others is their favorite pastime.
But a cool person is above all that, because one of the inherent qualities of coolness is not caring what others think.
So why should a cool person care about whether someone else is adhering to what society deems “acceptable”?
Cool people simply live and let live, choosing to live by their own rules, and letting other people live by their own rules as well.
7) They’re Holistically Educated
Cool people aren’t necessarily the smartest people in the room, but they’re also usually above average in intelligence.
Truly cool people are Renaissance Men and Women, meaning they’re holistically skilled and educated.
This usually comes with all their various experiences, giving them skills and knowledge in a wide variety of areas.
This is part of the reason why they’re so confident; they simply understand the world, not necessarily to an expert level, but enough to know how things work.
They earnestly engage in everything they try, which adds to their natural abilities.
8) They Help Others Connect
A cool person isn’t someone who puts others down.
They don’t use other people for their own benefit, treating people like tools to further their own ambitions.
A truly cool individual is someone who knows how to connect with just about anyone, connecting with them at their level rather than forcing another person to adjust for them.
Cool people understand hardship, and they understand the difficulties that others face.
When they notice that someone is uncomfortable or shy, they know how to bring that person into the conversation, making them feel like one of the group.
9) They Put the Rest of the Room at Ease
When you’re in a room with a cool person, you just know it.
They don’t make other people feel tense or uneasy; they know how to take control of the vibe or energy of the room and make it comfortable for everyone.
A cool person simply understands people and social interactions.
They understand how to adjust for a specific group, and how to include everyone in a healthy, positive environment.
They don’t worry about any social hang ups that the rest of us might think about, because in their minds they’re already above all that. Instead, their only concern is that everyone is having a good time.
10) They Don’t Let Their Insecurities Stop Them
It would be wrong to assume that cool people have no insecurities.
Insecurities are a basic part of life; as long as you’re human, you have your own laundry list of personal insecurities.
But the difference between a cool person and everyone else?
They don’t let their insecurities control them; they do what they want to do, unfazed by the voices in their head.
They capture their own energy and swagger not because they don’t have insecurities of their height, their weight, their looks, or anything else, but because they know how to shut those voices off.
11) Life Rarely Fazes Them
You’ll never leave a cool person speechless, and you’ll never find them in a fit of rage.
They understand the ebbs and flows of life, and even when the universe tries its best to knock them off the wagon, they don’t let it bother them too much.
They know when they need to live actively, but they also know when they need to go with the flow.
A cool person isn’t an apathetic person; they still care deeply, perhaps more so than most people.
A cool person is simply someone who knows how to accept what life throws at them, and find solutions over obstacles instead of worrying about them.
12) They Live For Themselves, Not For Other
Cool people live for themselves.
They don’t do things because their family forced them to do it or because they were pressured into it by their peers.
They don’t let themselves get convinced by outside forces, and they don’t follow rules they don’t agree with.
They know that you only have one life, so they do their best to live it in their most authentically personal way possible.
They live for themselves, authentically and genuinely, listening to the beat of their own drum instead of what other people want them to do and become.
14) They Find Fun In Everything
Cool people don’t need to be constantly stimulated by the most exciting experiences and people possible.
It can be easy to confuse a cool person with a hyperactive person, but those two aren’t the same thing.
A cool person is simply someone who sees the glass-half-full no matter what the situation. Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, and whomever they’re with, a cool person can find joy and interest in the situation.
Why? Because they just enjoy living.
Putting yourself first
What’s your number one goal at the moment?
Is it to buy that car you’ve been saving up for?
To finally start that side-hustle that’ll hopefully help you quit your 9-5 one day?
Or to take the leap and finally ask your partner to move in?
Whatever your goals are, there’s a hidden trap in how you set them.
The trap is this:
You’ll only experience genuine life satisfaction when your goals are aligned with your values.
Because when values and goals are aligned, you enjoy the journey much more. And this makes achieving your goals much more likely.
If you find it hard to articulate your deeper life values, I suggest downloading the free values exercise by career coach Jeanette Brown.
It takes only a couple of minutes and will reveal a number of powerful insights about your underlying values.
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