A possible reason so many people pursue the delusional approach is that it is the most effective or sincere resolution to inner conflict.
A solution could be to accept our need for status like other needs such as hunger or affection. We don't have to think that status will make us happy, but at least accept that seeking status is unsatisfying and repulsive in the extremes.
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Even though material conditions have improved during the last few decades, happiness has decreased.
This can be because of two factors:
Most wealth is acquired because people want status. You want to spend money to show everyone else that you have the power to buy.
But seeking status is a low-status behaviour. It becomes distasteful if someone is seen trying to gain fame or new stuff to impress their friends. This results in many people telling themselves that they want material possessions for intrinsic reasons.
A fundamental conflict is that we want status but also don't want to be seen as people who want status.
All efforts towards correctly pursuing your own personal development must take into account reality, not how you think the world should work. The truth is reality isn’t fair and just trying your best towards your dream doesn’t always cut it.
John Doerr's Measure What Matters is about the importance of setting clear goals and using metrics to back them up. Doerr argues that metrics-driven OKRs (objectives and key results) have a considerable impact.
In contrast, Jerry Muller's The Tyranny of Metrics shows that measuring everything destroys our schools, hospitals, police and politics. When metrics is the most important, everyone will try to "game" the numbers. E.g., schools teach to the test rather than to educate.
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