One surprising claim in David Rock’s book was that evolution hardwired a desire for zero-sum status in our brains. That is to say, I feel good when I am somehow superior to someone else. There must be a winner and a loser. I thought the status claim was a bit dubious. I’ve never felt like someone is dramatically above or below me in some social pecking order. If it never applied to me, how can it apply to anyone else?
Now, after reading and listening to an interview with Pete Michaud on niche marketing I’ve come to think the desire for status is absolutely true; I’ve just defined myself into an obscure niche where I tower an order of magnitude over everyone else and will be forever king
The activities that A) I care about, and B) where I compare more or less directly with others are:
- Music: specifically bluegrass, specifically bluegrass influenced by 30’s country
- Programming/WebDev: Specifically ASP.net/C#/Silverlight/Sql Server/html/Css/Photoshop
- My startup company (hey, I’ve made it to beta, that’s more than most) – and I have the best visual contact manager out there.
- Politics: specifically libertarian, utilitarian minarchist, practical Constituitionalist, properly informed social Darwinist
- Trivia: specifically Atlanta, general military history and political thought
- Economics: specifically the field of law and economics
If you add all those up no one is even close to where I am now, or where I’ll be in the future. There will always be people who make more money, and for that matter, code better and play music better, but how many of them can hold an informed conversation on the legacy of Eric Hoffer and the history of private currencies in America? None I would imagine.
So how to raise your social status and self-esteem? Just be specific and niche it down.
This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog