“Being cool” is often a tool used by bullied to ostracize their victims. What they don’t realize is that caring about whether you are cool or not isn’t cool.
Someone is cool when they remain calm under stress or under social pressure. Bowing to social pressure isn’t cool. Remaining yourself despite social pressure is.
But being cool is actually so much more than that. Coolness is actually a philosophic approach. According to Philosophy Now (http://philosophynow.org/issues/80/What_Does_It_Mean_To_Be_Cool) being cool “developed mainly as a behavioral attitude practiced by black men in the United States at the time of slavery. Slavery made necessary the cultivation of special defense mechanisms which employed emotional detachment and irony. A cool attitude helped slaves and former slaves to cope with exploitation or simply made it possible to walk the streets at night. During slavery, and long afterwards, overt aggression by blacks was punishable by death. Provocation had to remain relatively inoffensive, and any level of serious intent had to be disguised or suppressed. So cool represents a paradoxical fusion of submission and subversion. It’s a classic case of resistance to authority through creativity and innovation.”
In other words, cool people are subversive in their submission. Cool people view oppression against them ironically and with a good sense of humor at the futility of someone else’s attempt to control them and with an emotional detachment that allows them to remain cool under this stress. It is this refusal to be emotionally distressed when stressed that is the epitome of what it means to be cool.
The seeking of power over others through bullying is not cool. It seeks to attain that which cool people find offensive, which is the exercise of arbitrary power over others.
The paradox of coolness is that cool people acquire self-control despite having no control over what is happening to them. There are a lot of things that we can’t control in our lives. The behavior of others is one of those things. A cool person accepts they can’t control that and thus does not stress out about it and in not stressing, becomes cool, but only to that which can’t be controlled. Those things that are within their control, they can be passionate about, which is why a cool person is so darned cool.
Long story short, cool is a well-defined philosophic term. People who are obsessed with being cool are, by definition, not cool. Bullying other people into adhering to your personal standard of what is or isn’t cool isn’t cool. Being cool is an attitude of personal liberation. Cool people simply don’t try to control other people.
Want to be cool? Learn to find humor in the stressful situations in your life. Accept what you can’t control and be every so slyly and slightly subversive in your acceptance of societal norms that don’t contribute to your or others wellbeing.