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Popularity is overrated

I was never popular in high school, but I was very aware of the social order and the categories that I didn’t fit in. “Hmmm, let’s see, not going to run for student council. Not a member of the cool crowd. A jock, but not a superstar. Smart, but not valedictorian. Etc.”   It was a bad time …
By Seth Barnes

cheerleaderI was never popular in high school, but I was very aware of the social order and the categories that I didn’t fit in. “Hmmm, let’s see, not going to run for student council. Not a member of the cool crowd. A jock, but not a superstar. Smart, but not valedictorian. Etc.”

 
It was a bad time of life. I was depressed and felt geeky and misunderstood. In fact, I couldn’t understand my own self. A cloud of inadequacy seemed to hover over me; I didn’t dare risk failure.
 
Somewhere along the way I heard that one of the popular girls at Rock Bridge High School liked me. I couldn’t believe it. But I also couldn’t bear the potential rejection if somehow the rumor was wrong.
 
Seth Godin made this great point that got me thinking about the subject:
“Popular rarely correlates with guts, hard work or a willingness to lead (and be willing to be wrong along the way)…Worth considering is the value of losing school elections and other popularity contests. Losing reminds you that the opinion of unaffiliated strangers is worthless. They don’t know you, they’re not interested in what you have to offer and you can discover that their rejection actually means nothing.

When you focus on delighting an audience you care about, you strip the masses of their power.”

If you were to track Jesus’ popularity, you would see wild swings in the graph. And you would see that it didn’t bother him a bit. “Let the dead bury the dead,” he said dismissively of someone who valued the opinion of others too much. “What is that to you?” He challenged Peter when Peter became too inquisitive about John’s future.
 
Here’s the bottom line: We play to an audience of one. I may not have made the grade in high school, but then thankfully the tyranny of that epoch is over. Now all I want to hear is the master’s approval at the end of my life.
 
What about you – whose opinion do you really care about?

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