Recently, the new pope – Francis – has been in the news. Many Catholics, including myself, are excited with the choice. He is also becoming very popular, much like Pope John Paul II was. Benedict XVI, pope from 2005 until early 2013, just didn’t seem to win people over too well, even though I think he was a good pope.
Francis has been getting a lot of positive attention for his humility and his willingness to forego many of the fancier papal trappings. This has immediately endeared him to many people. He has also been seen randomly going into crowds to greet people.
Sometimes, we get the idea that popular are people are far from humble. Even in our book Be Popular Now, we suggest that guys must promote themselves first and build their own brands. In other words, if you don’t advertise yourself, nobody else is likely going to do it (minus a super-neurotic mom!). People also tend to believe that being aloof is associated with popularity. Perhaps this is so at times, like the arrogant running back can be that way because people value his skills and money.
However, most people only become popular because they actually meet the needs of people. The more you disconnect from people (or at least the more you are perceived as being disconnected), the less popular you will be. Even Jesus knew this secret of popularity. Jesus taught humility and helping others. His message of love and inclusion of people that the people in power oppressed made him very popular with the masses and popular today. The book The Moral Animal basically makes this same point.
You don’t meet people’s needs by being aloof, at least not all the time. There are times to be a little aloof and cocky, but generally you should remember that a little humility can actually make you more popular. Plus, humility shows quiet confidence. The most gracious and humble people I know are often the strongest and most confident.