You have probably heard of American Indians, their elders were the most respected of all members in the tribe.
So how the hell do most older people today mean almost nothing in our society? Where is the respect, honor, and status?
Let’s focus on social status. Imagine yourself walking down the street and everyone perceives you as a loser or at least as an unimportant person. Then imagine the same walk, but you are a well-known and respected scientist, recognized by most people. It is the same walk, but your feelings are completely different. In the first case; depressing, in the second case; motivating and fulfilling.
This is the power of social status.
Imagine you are an eighteen-year-old boy meeting a girl in the club. On a scale from one to ten, she is a nine and you’re a six. I don’t mean looks only, but overall quality better looks, clothes, confidence, communication skills, a funnier personality. Subconsciously you feel worse than her, so your actions may reflect that feeling. You will be limited in your expression, shy and uncertain of your actions. But let’s shift the situation. You are still a six on a scale from one to ten, but she is a five. Suddenly you become more confident, relaxed, and she feels it. You are the same person, but you are now more open and creative in conversation because all negative tension is gone. The status affects your body language and boldness of your behavior. You are exactly the same human being, but if you spend most of your life in first scenario, when you are a six on a scale from one to ten, placing everyone else above, your life will be much harder.
It is similar to someone looking for social welfare. The one who helps always feels more comfortable because of his higher status. The person asking for help usually feels intimidated.
Imagine a big corporation. Do you know which workers decide to go to work with their bike or by bus or car? The higher status you have, the bigger the chance you choose a bike or public transportation. If you are lower in the hierarchy, you select a car more often. It says a lot about power of social status.
Using a bike is beneficial for your health and the environment. If you have higher status, you probably have a bigger salary and better quality of life. Being happy motivates you to care about yourself because you want to live fuller, better, and longer. Your health is important, but the environment also influences you. So, taking care of others and the environment is good for yourself, too. People who feel better in life naturally want to live longer and when, deep inside, you know your value, then it is nothing degrading to use a bike or a bus and not your car. You don’t care if someone misjudges you as a poor guy who cannot afford to buy a car.
With higher status, you feel better in any social situation. You are more respected at work, at home, your family members respect and admire you, and no matter if you’re at a barbecue or a conference, you feel good and relaxed.
External problems influence you less because you control more in life and are not just being pushed by people or circumstances. So, you wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose and belief that whatever this day brings, you can manage it. All this leads to lower stress levels and makes your body work better.
Status may influence your health dramatically.
Sometimes you have to build your status for years, but what some don’t realize is that it is partially an illusion, so it can easily be recreated if you know how it works.
You may work at the lowest possible level in a corporation, but that doesn’t stop you from starting your own company and calling yourself a boss. You have a business card named “John Doe – CEO” and at social events, you introduce yourself as an entrepreneur. You may work a little bit on your body language, talk slower, be enthusiastic, take care of clothes and your haircut, avoiding fast gestures and other nervous behaviors. Suddenly you act and feel like a boss.
Even if a company doesn’t give you any income, you start to feel stronger, more open, and brave. All this is due to the simple fact that you positioned yourself as an owner of your own company, leading you to feel better in many social situations. You can go even further than an illusion by creating a website, reading business books, and meeting with potential partners to talk about business instead of meeting with friends to get drunk in the pub. Suddenly, everyone perceives you differently. This way, your social status will be much more robust and authentic and this illusion you created, in the beginning, helps you to act with more bravery.
There is a technique called “cold calling” used mostly in sales. People hate to do it. Why do they hate it? It is not
the fear of hearing a stranger on the phone or the fear of selling something. It is the devastating feeling of facing your low social status, of a needy person trying to earn a living. What would happen if you suddenly changed your status? Think about calling a company and saying: “My name is John Doe. I’d like to invest $500,000 in your company. Can I talk with a boss?” instead of saying: “My name is John Doe. Can I take a minute? We are selling toothpaste and …” At this point, you will probably be disconnected anyway.
Higher social status opens the doors of life’s possibilities.
Lower status closes them.
Being more confident and having a better image helps you to be emotionally healthier and emotions influence our body. Thus, higher social status has healing power. It is crucial in older age when you need healing the most. Current societies don’t support elders as much as American Indians did, so don’t expect anyone to respect you just because you are older. It doesn’t work like that anymore.
You may feel that with age, you are not so familiar with new technology anymore, you are not professionally active, you depend on your family too much, your knowledge seems to be out of date. It all leads to lower social status and less admiration from other people.
So, it is your job to change it. Don’t put yourself on the shelf. Be active, meet new people, start businesses or
social initiatives, follow your needs and dreams, meet with younger people, surprise your family with unexpected decisions, be socially helpful, and do valuable things. And most importantly, share your wisdom and experiences. Life is not about knowledge, intelligence, or education as much as it is about a proper understanding from real-life experience. And who has more experience, a man of twenty-seven or a man of sixty-seven?
It is your advantage as it was the advantage of American Indian elders whose role was that of a respectful teacher.
But in the age of new technologies, people think that finding knowledge on Google is the same thing as hearing it from someone who lived it. We need to remind ourselves what is important in life, this way older people will regain respect and higher social status. All the chapters of my book show exactly what to do to achieve this kind of life, regardless of your age.
Problems with status also present themselves in family structures. If you are a parent of young children and the children, or even dog, are more dominant in the house than you, then you are subconsciously perceived as weak. Weak parents don’t get respect from their children and it leads to lots of behavioral problems. You may, unaware of what is happening, lower your status with many subtle actions. You may give your children what they want to avoid their crying, accept when they don’t follow your rules, or dedicate all of your spare time to them, forgetting about yourself, your pleasures, and hobbies. So, the children become the center of your world, or worse, your own world becomes non-existent. It seems to be a natural and healthy symptom of parenthood, but it isn’t. It lowers your status, and you are losing the role of someone worth following. If you are submissive to your children or are not respected enough,
it is usually your fault, not your children’s.
What is your status at work?
What is your status among your family members?
What is your status while grocery shopping?
What can you do to make it higher?
How high will it be ten or twenty years from now?
These are questions worth considering. And remember, it is partially an illusion and by creating this illusion you create better life and better health.
When you meet a friend today, just shake his hand more firmly, look in his eyes and say, “Hello, my friend” with a clear, strong, and calm voice, instead of nervous gibberish. Even such a simple gesture subconsciously changes the way someone sees you.
You read a chapter from my book. If you like it read the entire book here https://pawel-lipka.com/books/