Philosopher Alain de Botton on "Status Anxiety"
Tina Miller, MA,CFLE stashed this in books
With my book, I wanted to define a new disease as I saw it in my life and in that of others close to me. Status anxiety is a worry about our standing in the world, whether we’re going up or down, whether we’re winners or losers. We care about our status for a simple reason: because most people tend to be nice to us according to the amount of status we have: if they hear we’ve been promoted, there’ll be a little more energy in their smile; if we are sacked, they’ll pretend not to have seen us. Ultimately, we worry about having no status because we’re not good at remaining confident about ourselves if other people don’t seem to like or respect us very much. Our ‘ego’ or self-conception could be pictured as a leaking balloon, forever requiring external love to remain inflated and vulnerable to the smallest pinpricks of neglect: we rely on signs of respect from the world to feel acceptable to ourselves.
Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gets us nowhere.
I suspect that status anxiety is something buried deep in our evolutionary history, far before we had language or analysis. Social animals -- chickens, wolves, bonobos -- arrange themselves via some hook in their brains we might call "status anxiety" or at least status awareness. I once toured a goat farm, and learned that the goats entered the milking pen -- where they received a treat -- twice a day in a rigid order based on status.
But you know what mitigates status? Love. Lower-status goats could get an earlier milking time by befriending higher-status goats -- exactly like high school girls in the lunchroom. Lower-status bonobos can groom and joke their way into the social circles of higher-status bonobos. Friendship is one of the least-studied topics in evolutionary biology, but I'm sure it's gonna happen soon.
That's fascinating about the goats and bonobos. Seems like friendship is ripe for study.
Ultimately, we worry about having no status because we’re not good at remaining confident about ourselves if other people don’t seem to like or respect us very much.
That seems pretty telling - and a way to hack they system.
if you can be confidant - and give yourself status base on intrinsic motivators - you may just walk to the front of the line on your own.
Confidence based on intrinsic motivators is much easier for some people than others.
That's perfect - anything worth doing has some challenge :-)
Haha, well said build. Confidence building isn't fun for some but that just adds to the challenge.