By Richard Telofski , Contributor, US Daily Review
Remember back to high school.
Yes, I know for some readers high school is not the most pleasant of memories. But just for the sake of this discussion, please take yourself back there. If it helps any, specifically I’d like you to think about the campaigns for class president.
Who usually won?
Was it the guy or gal at the top of the class, who had the most knowledge about the problems facing the class, who had the most common sense, or perhaps who had the most experience actually running something?
Of course it wasn’t. That would make too much sense, something of which teenagers are often short. No, the most qualified guy or gal usually didn’t win the high school class presidency. Often, the winner was the “coolest” person.
That’s right. The “cool” guy syndrome was usually what moved the ballot box.
That “cool” guy or gal victory was usually captured right after they promised things like:
- Free ice cream at lunch.
- A shortening of the school day from six hours to forty-five minutes.
- A requirement that the “smart” kids give their “fair share” of homework to the “less motivated.” (The “less motivated” were usually in the majority. Thus, the effectiveness of this tactic.)
- Free juke boxes in the school buses.
- And more goodies which made no practical sense, but drove the voter to cast a ballot for the “cool” guy or gal promoting the goodies.
Promises like this captured the presidency.
You can’t remember? That’s most likely because they never met their promises. That was often the cool guy’s problem. Lack of achievement. Up until he captured the presidency, he had never accomplished much, never ran a club, never ran an event.
But while your cool class president wasn’t doing much (at which they had had a lot of practice), they were cool, right? That made you feel okay. And I’d bet that in many cases that same cool guy or gal was re-elected the following year.
Freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year. Rarely, if ever, did the cool guy deliver on the promises made in order to get elected. Rarely did they accomplish anything of substance as your class president.
Because cool people usually know only one thing. And that’s how to be cool. When cool is your ethos, when cool is rewarded by society, there is little motivation to do anything else.
Okay. Now snap out of the high school flashback. I hinted at the beginning of this article that these memories might not be so pleasant. So leave the cool guy syndrome behind. Sing hallelujah, come on get happy. Come back to 2012. You don’t need to worry about cool guy syndrome anymore. Or do you? Doesn’t this cool guy syndrome sound a little familiar?
A cool guy, who riffs Al Green classics, plays basketball, perambulates smoothly, is handsome and has a trim figure, separates people into cliques (class warfare?), is fawned over by the media as if he was a football team captain, is popular with young people, talks about the successful sharing more of their labors with the “less motivated,” promises “ice cream” and other goodies at every turn, is self-centered, uses the word “I” a lot, and who doesn’t take criticism well is running for president. (OMG, can’t you see that he’s cool; how could you criticize him?)
But this time, it’s not the presidency of your class that’s at stake.
It’s the presidency of your nation that is at stake.
I said snap out of the high school flashback. But apparently we can’t. We can’t snap out of the flashback. We live in one because we’re addicted to coolness. The president hasn’t done anything, which should not be surprising because he hadn’t had much practice at doing anything before he captured the cool vote.
Yet he has been cool for the past 3 1/2 years. He’s probably been the most cool president ever. But just like your high school class, a cool president doesn’t really solve any problems.
So now I want you to remember back to November 2008.
Yes, I know for some readers November 2008 is not the most pleasant of memories. But just for the sake of wrapping up this discussion, please take yourself back there. If it helps any, specifically I’d like you to think about the campaign for president.
Was it the guy or gal who had the most knowledge about the problems facing the country, who had the most common sense, or perhaps who had the most experience?
Nope. It was the cool guy.
Sorry, but Obama’s just the “cool” guy from high school.
And how does that help us?
Richard Telofski is a competitive strategy and intelligence analyst. Formerly the president of one of the first competitive intelligence consultancies, Richard currently practices at The Kahuna Institute where he studies the effects upon business of non-traditional competitors. He blogs about “The War on Capitalism” at www.Telofski.com.