Master the Art of Business
A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.
Humans are social creatures, and we care intensely about our relative status. Status Seeking is a universal phenomenon: when opportunities to increase social status appear, most people will seize them. Status considerations influence the vast majority of decisions and actions.
In addition to understanding Core Human Drives, it’s important to understand that humans are social creatures. Like many other mammals, humans evolved to have a “pecking order,” a relative ranking of Power or status in a group. Competing with other people for status and power brought many benefits, including access to food, mates, resources, and the protection of other group members.
Status considerations are no longer as critical to survival, but our brains developed to place a very high priority on social status. As a result, status considerations influence the vast majority of a person’s decisions and actions.
Status Seeking is a universal phenomenon: neurotypical human beings care intensely about what other people think of them, and spend a significant amount of energy tracking their relative status compared to other members of their group. When opportunities to increase status appear, most people will seize them. When given a choice between different Alternatives, people will typically choose the option with the highest perceived status.
In general, we like to be associated with people and organizations that we think are powerful, important, exclusive, or exhibit other high-status qualities or behaviors. We also like to ensure other people are aware of our status: for proof, examine what people post on their Facebook profiles.
In the words of Alain de Botton, a philosopher and social critic:
“If one felt successful, there'd be so little incentive to be successful.”
Unfortunately, unchecked Status Seeking can lead people to make poor decisions: think of someone who purchases a large house, luxury car, and designer clothing, only to end up bankrupt or in severe debt. As an individual, paying attention to how much you value status is useful when making buying decisions, particularly when there are other potential options that can meet the same needs or desires at a lower cost.
As a business professional, it’s important to understand that status considerations are present in every level of the Core Human Drives. When you make an offer to a new prospect, they will automatically and unconsciously examine how your offer will influence their social status.
Consciously building Social Signals into your offer is almost always an effective way to increase its appeal to your target market.
"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."John W. Gardner, former president of the Carnegie Corporation
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Master the Art of Business