My mother told me a story when I was a child that had a big impact on how I treat people. When she was little, there was a family in her neighborhood that was really poor. Her mother would invite them over and the kids would walk around the house stealing stuff. My grandmother knew they were doing this because they did not know any better and they had no money. She continued to invite them over but started hiding the valuables. She told my mother that you should always be nice to people because everyone's situation changes and people need people. Those kids, who were dirt poor and used to steal from them, all grew up to be lawyers and doctors. Popularity and status shifts.
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him-(this quote is attributed to many people)
Popularity, like everything else in the world, is subject to change. I have worked for several jobs where someone is my co worker today, and next month, with no warning, they are my supervisor. I have seen people go from millionaires to lower middle class in under a year. I know yoga teachers who went from 70 people per class to 3 or 4 per class.
Below is a funny video, A Message From Formerly Popular Kids in High School, that illustrates this perfectly.
Lessons To Learn From Popularity Shifts
Treat Everyone With Respect-You never know when the winds will change. The person you are ignoring today may be your boss tomorrow. The person whose butt you are kissing today, may be tomorrow's pariah.
Take Nothing For Granted-your status can change in the blink of an eye. Be thankful for everything you currently have.
Don't Get Caught Up In Your Own Hype: When you are popular, everyone is telling you that your shit does not stink. If you start believing them, you will be a douche. When and if your popularity shits, everyone will be glad to drop you
Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: Have several groups of friends, several sources of income, several hobbies, several projects on the back burner. If one goes away, you have something to fall back on.
Do Not Tie Your Identity Up with Your Current Situation-Your spirit or who you really are is much bigger then any role that you may take on. When making movies, many actors chose to never get out of character. While they are on set, they become the character. They do drastic things to their bodes like gain and lose massive amounts of weight to further become the character. When the movie is over, they drop the character and go back to their lives.
Even though we take our lives very seriously, it is really one long epic movie. The difference is that we have identified with the roles so much that we believe we are them and we think we cannot take them off. However, the reality is that your roles can change with or without your consent. If you identify fully with your role, there are only two ways to take if off, death and through a situation that forces you to change. When we see our roles that same way that a child sees a game of dress up, it becomes fun and exciting instead of traumatic and heartbreaking.
Learn To Recognize When the Shift Is About To Happen & Prepare Accordingly-When you are not identified with your roles, then you can see when a shift is happening and you can plan accordingly. I used to love Linkin Park. I had their albums Hybrid Theory and Meteora on repeat. Then their music shifted and I hated it. It sounded more like pop music then rock. I watched a show about them and they explained that they changed their sound because they knew that their brand of rock music was on the the way out and they wanted to try something different. Even though they lost me as a customer, I respected and understood their decision. Recognizing the shift kept them relevant.