- in Mindset
The urge to signify success and attractiveness is quite human and normal, in my opinion. Yes, people can blow it way out of proportion and become obsessed with their Instagram accounts--modern day incarnations of Narcissus, mesmerized and trapped by our own reflections. But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about just being cool and successful and someone people admire and want to hang with.
Were you and I the Buddha, perhaps this post would not be relevant. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that Buddha's not reading this blog.
The problem with purchasing social status is simple: it will slow down the speed with which you accumulate assets, build an emergency fund, then a financial buffer, then the life of your dreams. Not good.
So I have a few strategies to help you project status while building true wealth rather than the appearance of wealth.
Social Status - Strutting Like a Rock Star, For Free….
- Get in shape. In modern western countries, nothing conveys success like being healthy and in shape. Indeed, if you pay close attention, class markers are increasingly breaking down along those who are taking the time to eat well, avoid cigarettes, and keep themselves in shape and those who aren't. It is actually quite inexpensive to eat well. I'm not talking about Whole Foods, I'm talking about brown rice, beans, squash, salads, etc. Simple foods, that will keep you fit and healthy.
- Be a bit alternative in style. A ten-year-old Patagonia fleece on someone who is in shape conveys success and a certain class better than a fancy suit. Similarly, running shoes and well-fitting jeans are going to do the trick just fine. Check out David Brooks Bobos In Paradise if you don't believe me, a hilarious book by the way.
- Be confident. This should probably be the first bullet. At the end of the day, most people will go right into sync with thinking about you as you think about yourself. If you project confidence, joy, and a sense that you value yourself, so will others.
- Be super well-informed. When you know more about current events, investing, your work responsibilities, or whatever it is you are into, you naturally take the pole position in situations and people respect you. Basically, be a true expert at what you are doing.
- Related to several of the above bullets, be so good at what you do and so confident (without necessarily being arrogant) that you just don't care much what others think of you because you just know you have it together. At this Zen level, you end up in charge because you just know you should be.
Don't Slow Down Your Path To Wealth
These are just a few suggestions. If you ever met me in person, you would probably chuckle that I wrote this. Almost anyone who knows me well would say I have never seemed concerned with social status much -- and how I shake out in the pecking order. Honestly, that's true. Narrow competition and comparison have just never been a major focus for me. But, I keep a weather eye on these things because I am human. I don't expect myself to be indifferent to these matters.
For our purposes, the key is to avoid trying to purchase social status and coolness. It's just going to slow down your financial success way too much…..