Are We Great Enough yet?

From a historical perspective, western culture is still trying to cope with the artifact that we call “status”. That used to be something you were born with. The duke’s son, for example, was born with a certain status that the baker’s son did not have and could not attain. End of story.

More recently, we think of status as an achieved rank. A person who earns $ 1 billion, may lay claim to a certain status. Indeed, Donald Trump brought suit to defend his billionaire status against an author who claimed that Trump was really only worth around $200 million. Trump lost.

So what is wrong with status? The problem is that attempts to gain status prompt a certain confusion about who we really are. That confusion is whether we are entitled to success because we are inherently smart, determined, etc. Or whether we can earn success by what we do. Research suggests that the sense of entitlement correlates negatively with actually achieving success.

That last bit is surprising. Apparently, the more we believe in our inherent attributes, the less we tend to use them.  Perhaps that explains Trump’s buffoonery?


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