2 min read

Are you seeking love... or status?

I was thinking about the question, “Why is love so important?”

Besides "it's a feeling we all crave” and “I like the feeling of loving someone”, I couldn’t really answer it.

So I thought about, “What happens when I don’t feel loved?”, which led me to think about high school. Nobody had a crush on me. How did I feel about that?

I felt unwanted. Is something wrong with me? Maybe I'm ugly?

So what if I’m ugly? I’m not a good looking person, but I don’t really mind this. I don’t think this is it.

Is something wrong with me? Aside from not being pretty like other girls, I knew nothing was wrong with me.

So why did it bother me that no one had a crush on me? Maybe I was envious of my friends who had boyfriends… 

But why did it – my friends having boyfriends, me having no boyfriend – matter? I didn’t even like the thought of holding someone’s hand. 

Eventually, I realized: Oh, it’s just the idea that my friends had something I didn’t. I felt like it said something about you, if you had a boyfriend.

That’s it. Having a boyfriend in high school was about (social) status, not love.

If I was subconsciously seeking status in high school… Could I also be doing it now, in other areas of my life, without realizing it? 

Much of what we do is motivated by a desire to increase our status.

This is important. As Naval says, "Seek Wealth, Not Money or Status".

Why not seek status?

In the article, he says status games are zero-sum games. There’s a number one, a number two, and a number three. And in order for number three to move to number two, number two has to move out of that slot. Playing status games entails putting other people down, in order to put yourself and the people you like up. This turns you into an angry combative person.

Even more compelling, seeking status comes at the expense of seeking wealth.

In The Millionaire Next Door, the authors write:

There is an inverse relationship between the time spent purchasing luxury items such as cars and clothes and the time spent planning one’s financial future.
Allocating time and money in the pursuit of looking superior often has a predictable outcome: inferior economic achievement.

I’ve read the status thing a few times over the last six years since Naval first wrote “How to Get Rich (without getting lucky)” in 2018. I’ve always mentally nodded my head and said: Yes, of course. I’ll seek wealth, not status. But today I realized there’s a possibility that in some areas of my life, I might be seeking status without even realizing it. 

So it’s a useful exercise to think about something I want or something I feel bad for not having, and journal, “Why do I want this?” or “Why do I feel bad for not having this?” I have a weekly “Journaling Date With Myself” every Saturday from 8:30am to 9am and have added the above to my prompts.