Movie B-School: Dazed & Confused & Being Cool

4 minute read

Cool permeates our culture, in nearly everything we do. Even social circles considered “nerdy” by the masses still have the one kid that’s the coolest of them all. As Farmer Ted in Sixteen Candles would say, “I’m kinda like the leader you know, the king of the dip****s.” This also seeps into our adult lives, especially at work. How well do you perform on a project when you are feeling confident and collected vs. how well when you’re feeling insecure or unorganized?

When we’re of school age, “cool” means a different thing than it does when we “grow up.” As a teen, cool is about being popular, having the most friends, wearing the coolest clothes, etc. For the over 25 crowd, being cool is a reflection of how much confidence you possess, how well you know yourself, and letting go of that looming worry of what everyone else thinks about you.

Time recently published an article about the trick to finding cool. The article states that it can be learned, and at its core, being cool is a matter of not trying too hard, confidence, knowingly breaking the rules occasionally, attitude, and body language. Remember a few weeks ago when we talked about personal brand management? Well, this should be part of yours, especially if you’re in the advertising and marketing industry, where cool is our currency.

Movie B-School: Dazed and Confused and Being Cool I North by Northwest Boise

Dazed and Confused leads us through the first night of summer break, where the popular Seniors have chosen the newly crowned Freshmen to haze before they start high school. A few of said Freshmen are brought along to party that night, including Mitch, who main character, Pink, has chosen as a mentee on being cool. Randall “Pink” Floyd is the star QB, possessing that charisma and charm bred into football gods. Beyond that, he is a laid back, gentle, and happy guy with both friends and girls flocking to him. If anyone in the film were going to teach lanky Mitch how to be cool, it’s Pink.

Movie B-School: Dazed and Confused and Being Cool I North by Northwest Boise

Pink’s general, laid-back attitude of only sweating the big stuff is part of his cool. Time says that you can get this attitude down by being cool on the inside, which will permeate through your body…much like an athlete puts themselves in the zone before a game. Have a big presentation coming up? Pretend you’re Pink (not the singer), and stay cool and confident on the inside. This will help you avoid body language that gives away your nervousness.

Movie B-School: Dazed and Confused and Being Cool I North by Northwest Boise

Along with Pink, we have Matthew McConaughey’s infamous character “Wooderson,” known for three lines in the film:

  1. “Alright, alright, alright.”
  2. “You know what I like about high school girls? I get older, and they stay the same age.”
  3. “It’d be a lot cooler if you did.” (to a head-shaking Mitch, after asking if he brought an illegal substance to the party)

Although Wooderson is painted as a pathetic older dude hanging out with high schoolers, he still has a few of the coolest quotes from the movie. Time says that knowing the rules, and still breaking them is one of the totems of being cool, along with confidence. Wooderson, as you can see above, likes to break rules and has full confidence that these kids think he’s awesome. So, how does this help you? Gauge the situation, obviously, but adding a little Wooderson to your day from time to time will buy you a lot of cache with your peers.

Movie B-School: Dazed and Confused and Being Cool I North by Northwest Boise

Dawson: You know that Julie chick? Loves you. You want her? Gotta play it cool, you know. You can’t let her know how much you like her ’cause if she knows, she’ll dump you like that. Believe me. Like, if she asks you if you want a ride, you say, “No, I’ve got my own ride, but maybe I’ll see you later.” Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? It works.

Do less. Dawson’s advice to little Mitch rings true to cool. Many, many employees try way too hard to get their boss to like them (with a little brown on their nose), and fail to realize that with all relationships, hanging back and doing less is the way to win them over. As he says, “Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? It works.” Let me note here that there is a difference between trying too hard, and giving it your all. In a work situation, it’s one thing to do your best on a project, but another to add in constant, unwanted face time with your boss.

If you can keep these tips in mind as you navigate your workday, it’s pretty simple to recreate and give your personal brand a cool injection. After all, who doesn’t want to be adult-cool?

(Images via, viavia, viavia)


steph profile for web

About the Author

Stephanie Norell is the Marketing Director for North by Northwest’s Boise office. She loves horror movies and Pinterest, adores the classic film Xanadu, and “enjoys” disseminating her thoughts for trolls to discuss online.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s