Popularity is something all human beings hanker after. Man is a social animal and unless he is a recluse, likes to relate with his fellow beings. All men are popular to some extent, within a small group, perhaps. But there is a lingering wish in every human heart to be more popular. While it is true that no one can please all the people on all occasions or at all times, yet it is man’s degree of sociability that is a yardstick of his popularity. Popularity is, to put it simply, the likability of a person within a society.
It is clearly linked with certain personality traits. While some people are born with the traits that make for popularity, others are not so lucky. But they can cultivate the traits which can make a person popular. Gaining popularity is certainly an art, and as in the case of other arts, the efforts have to be sincere. True art involves moral values and depth of vision, similarly the art of gaining popularity must involve sincerity of purpose and honesty of action. When we talk of the art of gaining popularity, we obviously have in mind the lasting kind and not the temporary and restricted type of popularity. It is an interaction of human behaviour which marks out the good natured from the ill-mannered, the glib-tongued from the shy and reticent, the altruistic from the selfish and evil-minded and so on.
Genuine impulse, sincerity and integrity of a man are more likable than the snobbery and hypocrisy that some bring into play under the guise of being popular. Man is the only living being who has risen above the basic instincts and emotions of other creatures. A selfish man is more of an animal than a human being and is thus, also anti-social. It is only the altruist who is loved by all, for he lives, not for himself alone, but for others also. Magnanimity is a human trait which most human beings either forget or do not consider important. A broad outlook. Catholicity of approach, a mind open to conviction and new ideas and suggestions, adaptability and adjustment with others, avoidance of negative feelings and emotions like jealousy, unhealthy and bitter rivalry, and cultivation of the spirit of brotherhood and goodwill- all go a long way in making one not only more popular but also more humane. In the present day world of cut-throat competition and maddening rat-race for honours, gaining popularity or being popular has come to be a mania.
Popularity has come to be identified with influence and acquaintance, the more acquaintances a person has and the more influential people he knows, the more popular he is deemed to be. He then becomes a messiah for other smaller for seeking some petty favour or the other. Of what use is such popularity marked by ulterior motives, underhand tactics and unfair means? It is all unabashed hypocrisy and meanness leading to double standards. Popularity should come naturally as recognition of one’s personal traits of righteousness and strength of character. The art of gaining popularity firmly excluded some features commonly found in people.
Popular people suppress the impulse to talk too much about themselves, or brag or boast of their achievements. They do not indulge in malicious gossip or back biting. A bore can never be popular, nor can be a slanderer. The art of popularity, ultimately, is closely concerned with the art of developing a gracious personality. It is seldom that one can buy popularity with money. The cultivation of good qualities, the ability to laugh at oneself, a mreadiness to help others, a liveliness of thought and expression and, above all, a sincere attitude in human relationship – these are what constitute the art of gaining wide and true popularity.