“What’s right isn’t always popular. What’s popular isn’t always right.” (Howard Cosell). Jack featured that little saying by Howard Cosell a few weeks back on his Jack’s Winning Words blog.
I remember Howard Cosell. When I was younger, he was one of the major voices of sports. I think I first heard him interviewing Cassius Clay (Mohammed Ali) right after he won the heavyweight championship over Sonny Liston. Howard went on to have a long and always controversial career in sports broadcasting. He wasn’t always popular.
This quote speaks directly to a major lesson that all parents try to teach their children. It’s usually within the context of judging right and wrong, but almost always also about understanding how to deal with peer pressure when making those decisions. Doing what is right is made all the more difficult if it is not what is popular; however, it is never the wrong thing to do. Eventually even teens understand that doing what is right will earn them a better reputation over the long run than going along to get along. Others will know that they can count on you to do the right thing and that builds trust. Having trust in someone is a major ingredient in any true relationship.
There are so many choices (opportunities) presented to youth today that involve serious consequences if they make the wrong (sometimes the popular) decisions. The constant flow of new and different drugs that are readily available at the corner gas station is just one example. Experimenting with those drugs may seem to be popular, but that doesn’t make it right. No one ends up in the emergency room of the hospital for saying “no” to that temptation.
Later in life the temptations may become more subtle, but there is still a line there somewhere between right and wrong, no matter how popular something may be. Discerning that line and staying on the right side of it may be a challenge, but it’s a challenge made easier if one starts with a strong sense of self and a good moral compass.
I’m a believer that one must first love themselves before they can love others. You must be comfortable and secure with who you are and not always striving to be like someone else. Once you are satisfied with who and what you are; you can start to seek out others to share your life with. You will be popular with those people because you are giving of yourself and not just taking from them in an attempt to be like them. They will like you for who you are, not who you are trying to be.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” (Nicole Barutha)
So go out in the world today and be the best you that you can be. Do the right things. Do right by others and don’t worry about whether that is popular or not. The only one that you need to be popular with is you. Others may follow you along that path or you may follow others along the same path; soon you may even notice that you are now part of a crowd of happy people doing the right things. You’ve become popular without even trying.