From middle school to high school to college to the workplace, all elections are popularity contests.
What does this mean?
A popularity contest is an election that is solely superficial: voters ignore substance while focusing on a candidate’s looks and
political social skills.
For example, Kid Kennedy, a middle-school class president, is elected because he is popular — not because he ran a brilliant campaign. Despite not campaigning, he learns election dynamics, which he will apply to future elections. He builds momentum.
Why is this important?
Universities and employers want to recruit leaders.
With a simple middle school election, Kid Kennedy is on his way to attending a great college and starting a great career.
Because he learned election dynamics early, Kid Kennedy continues to hold offices in high school, which HYP really like. At HYP, Kid Kennedy learns to network with the main influencers at his school’s consulting club while an underclassmen and, by junior year, becomes its president, which helps him land an offer at the McBain Group. He goes on to become CEO and begins automating back-office roles.
Contrast Kid Kennedy to Mild Child who was too introverted to run in middle school. In high school, he continued being a wallflower, for which colleges penalized him. He attended a no-name state school from which he graduated with a good GPA while mostly developing his analytical & technical skills, which lands him a good offer in the back-office. In 15 years, his role is automated.
I know these are extreme examples, but they illustrate the lifelong importance of social skills.
What can you do?
- Become more extroverted
- Learn how social hierarchies sort
- Chase leadership roles (however insignificant, build momentum). Ask yourself, “For which positions could I run?” You will learn a lot from failure. I give you permission to fail. Seriously.
Wait, HYP will take me just because I am class president?
While colleges do like that you were elected, they know that school elections are popularity contests, too.
Once elected, you MUST accomplish something. It does not to be grand! It can be as simple as increasing your school’s recycling. Show universities/employers that you can set & accomplish goals.