How Important is Status to You?

By Chris Chittenden

"One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.”

… Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969) Japanese Athlete

This month we begin a series of five articles on what we term our 'core concerns'. These core concerns speak to what is centrally important to us. We have a basic need to take care of these core concerns where we either move away from a perceived threat to these concerns or move towards opportunities that we assess may enhance them. These core concerns also underpin many of our stronger emotional responses and the associated habitual actions these emotions predispose.

In defining these core concerns, we look to an ontological interpretation of David Rock's SCARF model that defines five core concerns - Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness. You can read more about David Rock's ideas of the SCARF Model by clicking here.

So let's return to the title of this article. Before going any further, take a minute to consider the question, "How important is status to you?"

Status speaks to how we see how our importance compared to others and can be seen in terms of the value we believe others see in us and how we believe we should be seen. In other words, we are asking ourselves a question about the value others place on us and comparing it to our own sense of value.

There are many ways in which we can make an assessment of our status. For example, we can compare ourselves to others and determine our status based on that comparison. We might do that by looking at our position in a hierarchy and judge it from that. We might do that by looking at how much impact we have on others and judge it from that. We might look at what we own and compare that with others.

Although it seems to be part of the human condition, the way in which we compare ourselves to others can lead to adverse effects. It can show up as a being a 'winner' where winning is everything. Unfortunately where there are winners there are losers. Taken too far, the impact on relationships can be dramatic.

Another, and perhaps a more constructive, way of looking at status lies in establishing our own value. To set our own goals that we feel create value for ourselves and others and then achieve those. It is hard not to compare ourselves to others, but when we do, rather than perceiving ourselves as a winner or loser, we might see what others are doing and seek to learn from them. In doing so, we may well become more valuable.

I invite you to reflect again on the importance of status for you and how you assess your own status. What do you do when feel your status is challenged? What are the impacts of those actions?

For those of you who like certainty, in the next edition of Talking About, we will talk about certainty!

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© 2016 Chris Chittenden