The new status symbols

I made the biggest purchase of my life when I was 26 years old.

It was a fancy condo in the East Village of New York City.

And a tale of two cities.

It was 585 square feet (“worst of times”) and had a sexy pool on the roof (“best of times”).

I won’t share what oversized closets were selling for nearly two decades ago.

But I was single. And I had bought access to a rooftop pool.

This was going to be a crowd pleaser with the ladies.

(Turns out I met Lisa a few months later… she found it douche-y.)

And it turns out status symbols can change with time.

Via @mikekarnj

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Hi, I’m Khe Hy. A decade ago I quit my 7-figure job on Wall Street to become a writer. I explore topics like money, happiness, ambition, relationships, productivity and more.

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Status is everywhere

Status is such a fascinating construct of human behavior.

Whether it’s an NPR tote, a Panerai watch or Let’s Go Brandon lawn sign, status is a bat signal to your “in group.”

The actual pool in the East Village

Now when I look at this list, I’ll be honest: I strive to have most of the items on this list.

(I’d say, the list is missing six-pack abs.)

I’ll take it a step further.

In a subtle-but-not-so-discrete way, I’ll show that I possess these status symbols in my podcasts, videos and social media posts.

Status is a powerful drug!

Clearly, that’s not healthy behavior.

The leaky bucket

“Nothing on the outside is ever going to fill the hole we have on the inside.

One of the challenges faced by ambitious over-achievers is that they collect achievements (and status symbols) to make them feel good about themselves.

And we’re so damn competitive that it always feels good to win.

But what if chasing status symbols – both old and new – is a path to dissatisfaction?

Is the pursuit of status symbols an avoidance technique? And instead, you should question your dysfunctional beliefs about success, self-worth, and achievement.

Instead of doing an extra set of crunches, maybe I should learn to embrace uncomfortable emotions (like sadness, fear and anger) without resorting to my trusted coping mechanisms (like booze, fitness and work).

And maybe I should spend more time deeply contemplating and clarifying my values – and taking committed action towards a life well-lived.

Status misses the big picture

What irked me most about this tweet (and my own status-seeking behaviour) is the massive egocentricity.

I mean, let’s be honest – the pursuit of washboard abs promotes a very self-centered view of success and fulfillment.

(Also, see what I just did there 👆)

Furthermore, this list of new status symbols is missing one key value: serving others.

And as we plunge deeper into self-obsession, are we neglecting our duties and responsibilities to our community and fellow humans?

And are we leaving the world better off than we found it?

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