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The Social Status Games We Play:

The Downside

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By Mudit Jha | 8th June, 2022

We, humans, are these complex creatures that have mastered the art of living together in a society filled with other humans. In such a world social comparision is only natural right...?

Our ancestors during the early days of humankind used to form tribes or groups of like-minded individuals much like the friend groups we make in modern days. With that, there are also many other tribes that formed and eventually became rivals. Fighting and competing for status, even within their own tribes, the hierarchy of power was a driving factor in human life and a core of human behavior.

The “ladder of success” or the “corporate ladder” in business terms. The fight to be on top of the food chain has been with us for millions of years, since the dawn of humanity.

Of course as social creatures, forming groups, sharing resources, forming bonds, etc. were all crucial factors that lead to human survival. According to the Smithsonian Institution:

1️⃣ Beginning 2.6–1.8 million years ago: “Sharing vital resources with other members of the group led to stronger social bonds and enhanced the group’s chances of survival.”

2️⃣ Beginning 130,000 years ago: Over time, humans began interacting with social groups located far from their own. By 130,000 years ago, groups who lived 300 km (186 mi) apart were exchanging resources.

Now let's discuss how all this plays into the idea of status. During those early days, status was measured by how many resources one had in comparison to the others nearby. Due to the lack of connectivity, each member of a tribe would be left to compete amongst themselves. Seeking respect and authority.

🔀 Hopping back to the Modern-day, things aren’t looking much different. Although our methods and technology have advanced- our fundamental drive for status is still very much the same. Although we might say that- “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” The plain acceptance of that fact shows that you DO care and notice the fact that people are judgmental and it's NOT necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if we truly ignored what others think about us and how we fit in society, we wouldn’t be functional human beings.

Don’t become arrogant and foolish with status and power. True status comes from respect and values. Also, money can’t buy friendship 🧽⭐🦀

👷‍♂️Being prone to social perfection

If your prone to social perfectionism, your self-esteem will be dangerously dependent on keeping the roles and responsibilities you believe you have.” - Will Storr, Selfie.

😰One thing social media excels at doing is: making us think that we have to put up a post, or a tweet, or an update as a responsibility to make sure our online presence isn’t harmed in any way. This non-existent responsibility and role of keeping “up to date” is detrimental in long term, it makes us prioritize others before ourselves.

💸A large part of this has to do with the way social media has been molded to function. Originally, social media was designed to be a way for professionals to connect and network in business settings. The target of the first platforms that came into existence in the 1990s to connect individuals was quickly changed and molded by the human natural of showing off status and power as a means of attaining and maintaining respect, fear, and survival in society. The individuals with the most resources- followers, and likes in this case- are on top of the hierarchy. Influencing the ones below, more often negatively than positively.

Essentially, the human thirst for status changed the original purpose for social media to become what it is today. An environment for social gratification. Constant judgment and evaluation of the social pressure during the performance of online behavior.

It's the simple idea of supply and demand; we wanted a place to share our lives and the companies responded by giving us what we asked for and targeting our vulnerability using technology and algorithms to amplify our desires to play the social status games.

⚠️How to avoid this trap?

Be Genuine:
Don’t try to exert dominance over others just to make yourself feel better. Ego is the enemy- it only shows others that you’re self-centered and unapproachable; avoiding the tribe. Being genuine shows that you are a person who wants to be open to forming relationships and connections.

👏 Once you lose the idea that you need to be on top to gain respect, you’ll discover that respect is truly something that must be earned by trust, loyalty, and kindness. Your moral values reflect your personality. Stay true to them. 💝

Instead of focusing on material things to raise status, like money, cars, items, etc. We need to raise our character and choose our tribes carefully. The people we surround ourselves with affect how we think about the outside world and ourselves. Positive people will keep you motivated and energized! 🔋

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how others see you, it matters how you see yourself and the improvements you make daily towards a better version of yourself!

🌝 Like all things, Social Status has two sides. The positive side is the connectivity and power to have any voice shared from anywhere in the world without regard for differences in race, religion, ethnic background, etc. All that matters is how we choose to utilize what we are given.

📌 Conclusion

In this article we covered:

  • 🐒 A brief history of the social status complex in humans from ancient civilizations.
  • 🤑 A Look at how modern-day corporates saw human vulnerability and designed social media to satisfy our needs for status and social gratification.
  • 💖 Avoiding the negative. Being genuine and true to show character and building positive environments to gain valued respect.

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