Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Application Form Cool

A really good question from Gemma on the AdGrads Facebook group about application form questions got me thinking. So I wrote this over at AdLads but thought it may be pertinent to put it here as well.

How To Be Cool

A bit of an ambitious title huh? Yeah I think so too. But see, I’ve been thinking a lot about cool; not the word, maybe not even the concept, but the connotation. What is cool? It’s all so subjective right? But I think cool is pretty closely related to confidence. They even go together well in a sentence; cool and confident..see? I may be onto something. And you can make an argument about creativity being very closely related to cool and confident, maybe like first cousin-close. And then it’s pretty clear that cool, is well for want of a better expression, pretty damn cool.

What has really got me thinking about all this is the mad season that is graduate recruitment. I’m trawling through applications that ask me questions like ‘How do you sell coal to an eskimo?’ or ‘Which superhero would you be?’ and thinking ‘What the hell do I write here?’. That combined with something my main main Richy B said a while back, something along the lines of ‘We get along because we know cool when we see it’ got me thinking about what cool is and how you can be cool.It’s simple really, cool is inside every single one of us. Really. It’s about being self-aware, and being self-aware is something I go on about a lot to Anton, Will, Alex, all y’all who read the blog and pretty much everyone I know. But I’ll say it again, being self-aware, and really knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your life, forget about career type things. So you’re self-aware and you know what you’re good at. Be confident in it, like really really confident. Ooze that stuff.

Confidence is one of those things that is really easy to see through if it’s false bravado, and confidence masked with arrogance is like me on a Sunday night in front of the TV watching the NFL: right in your face. So real confidence is easily spotted and comes naturally, because that’s what it’s the product of, being naturally at ease with something you know you’re good at. And that’s where creativity comes in. Think of everything you’ve seen that you consider to be creative. Was it forced? Awkwardly out of place? Not at all. It was really at ease with itself, natural even.

At this point I’m sitting here smiling because I think this post is coming together now, it’s a load of psycho-babble maybe, probably even. But I think it makes sense. And it’s right at this point where I can get to the crux of the matter, when y’all are sitting there trying to figure out a way to be creative and cool and original when answering a question on an application form / coming up with an idea for something at work / for anything at all, remember

  • The things that come easiest to you are the things that are natural. No matter how people will try and put you into boxes ‘numerate’ ‘orator’ etc, everyone is creative, every single one of us. So be natural and take yourself out of the boxes that you’ve been put into, sit outside, sit on your bed, sit on a couch, sit in the bath with a notebook - wherever you feel at ease is where you’ll be in the most natural frame of mind. Go to that place (be it mental, physical or both) and just zone. And you’ll find (and trust me, every single one of us will) that you’ll be more creative than you thought you could be.
  • Natural is confident, confidence is natural and both of them are pretty damn sexy.
  • Natural, creative and confidence are so intertwined it’s not a coincidence, they all stem from the same thing; being at ease with yourself.
  • Find out what it is about yourself that makes you without question you, like patent-pending you, what about your life has made you who you are? That’s your gold-mine and that is where you need to be knee deep in sifting for the nuggest of the good stuff, because that’s where you’ll be most confident, most unique, most effortless, most cool and most you.
  • Take this feeling of confidence outside the box of ‘work’ and things will seem almost effortless compared to what they were before.

So take it from someone who used to be so uptight about things I used to work myself into a frenzy about how to be original. All you have to do is be the thing that comes most naturally to you. I’m no good at being anything but me. To everyone that matters and in everything that matters, that’s always more than enough. And that is pretty damn cool.

2 comments:

Waldemar said...

love that attitude, be cool.

The AdLads said...

Thanks Wal!