Show off with things that genuinely increase the quality of life

The desire for status needn’t make us miserable

All humans desire higher status, whether they realize it or not—at least that’s what researchers say. Sounds plausible to me when looking at human behavior.

Status is solely dependent on others’ views of us, which means that we live much of our lives with the motivation to impress others.

I believe human nature is so malleable that we have the power to, at the very least, decrease our hunger for status once we realize how trivial it is in the modern world. But maybe it’s so hardwired that we can’t get rid of it completely. I don’t know.

What we certainly can do is to change our status signaling actions to something more beneficial for us.

A common way of signaling status is to buy expensive things. The problem with that, of course, is that it often comes at the cost of our personal finance, with upsides mostly limited to status signaling.

Another common way is by pursuing a career that we aren’t interested in, just because it looks prestigious to others. It might have the upside of paying well, but more often than not, that’s wasted toward the beforementioned expensive things.

We could instead flaunt our awesomeness with how much we now read, how we’ve finally learned to play the instrument we always wanted to, or how we’ve found a love for running. All of these have substantial personal benefits and few drawbacks to our quality of life.

If we indeed cannot eradicate our desire for higher status—which I nevertheless recommend trying—at least we can turn it into a motivator for real personal gain.


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