Our desire for status has taken a toll

Our life goals now reflect a desire to own more stuff, get more power, and feel more visible and influential. It is very different from our desire to foster community and cooperation a few decades ago.

Our children also feel that the number of their social media followers is a worthy accomplishment. But the more we seek these online markers of status, the more we feel disconnected.

@joshuamar

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Self Improvement

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

There are two types of popularity
  • In childhood, our popularity is defined by how much others like us. The most popular kids help others, cooperate and lead quietly. This type of popularity predicts desirable long-term outcomes.
  • The second type of popularity emerges in our adolescence and reflects our "status" more than our "likability." The markers are visibility, influence, dominance, and power.

Throughout adulthood, we can pursue greater likability or greater status. This decision is complicated by the growing number of platforms (TV, social media) designed to help us gain status.

Research finds that unlike the positive outcomes associated with high likability, those who care more about their status grow up to have difficulties with their interpersonal relationships later on.

Studies reveal that likeable people are granted privileges that become self-perpetuating. Those who are liked are invited to join others more often, and in turn, offered extra opportunities to learn skills. These skills lead to even greater likability and more learning occasions.

Once people realize that status is linked with negative outcomes, it will be easier to return to a focus on likability.

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