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Status and Shame

David Sherry
2 min read

This is one of the most important ideas to understand of our time.

And Seth Godin brings the concept of "Status Roles" it into the conversation in his new podcast, Akimbo.

Seth uses stories to help illustrate his point about status roles, and for some, they will listen and be merely entertained.

But if you read behind the lines and you see the inner-workings...

If you’re aware of the history he speaks about...
If you can tie in understanding from the work of Brené Brown and the history of luxury brands...

You will see the world differently.

And so marketing works because we seek status.
And sales work because we seek to be RID of shame, and achieve status.

The tension between status and shame drives much of our human behavior.

It’s why we continue to purchase ever bigger houses or flaunt our lifestyle on Instagram (which conveniently ranks our following).

It’s why we cover up our hurts and put on a happy face at work…

It pulls the invisible strings that shift our mood in an instant.

It insights jealousy, and sometimes awe.

Status: There’s a voice in the back of your head that’s continuously checking for your place in the pecking order, 24/7.

It’s on a loop, it’s looking to check, verify, and place you in a hierarchy.

And we think to ourselves, am I moving up or am I moving down?

Shame: The invisible force pressured upon you for not being somewhere else in the hierarchy.

The eyes of the people around you looking down on your decisions.

The trolls commenting on your page. The downvotes.

Of course, it’s all how we look at it and how we personally perceive it, but...

Status: A rock star on stage performing for a crowd.
Shame: Your first open-mic night.

Status: Buying an expensive and fancy car.
Shame: Picking up a date in a station wagon.

Status: Ordering the most expensive wine.
Shame: Deciding to give up alcohol.

Status: Giving up alcohol and speaking publicly about it.
Shame: Covering up a drinking problem or addiction.

Status: Buying Gucci, or even knock-off Gucci.
Shame: Being seen walking into a pawn shop.

Status: Pride for one’s country.
Shame: Forced Immigration.

Status: Showing off your new iPhone X
Status: Showing off that you still use a flip-phone.

Status: Earning a living as an Uber driver.
Shame: Earning a living as an Uber Driver.

And so what can be done about this?

How do we escape from this cycle that drives us forward and pressures us to hide?

Do we become cynics of the system?

Well, there’s a way, and cynicism may help you get there but it’s not where you want to end up.

It starts with understanding. It starts with seeing behind the curtain.
Recognizing forces that were all around us but that we never saw before.

See the hierarchy as simply yourself and no one else.

Connect with all other individuals as if they are in their own race, instead of competition.

Accept that you’re naked, and you will be free from shame.

And suddenly the mirage you’ve been walking towards, built and sustained by yourself and others, slowly disappears…

And it can be replaced by room to discover the purpose of your own.

And you can willingly buy into what you choose to, from a healthy place of understanding and from passion rather than from pressure.

And what else happens…?

Jealousy turns into the realization that others are simply status seeking.

Shame turns into the realization that others are simply attempting to assert their status above yours.

Why else would a 45-year-old man spend hours per day shaming and trolling others online, trying to discredit them or make them feel bad?

And maybe at first, when you realize this you get angry.

And then you laugh.

And then,

You can love. As always, hit reply with your thoughts, ideas, or if you're stuck want to chat branding, technology etc...

xx David