One thing that I’m very grateful for is that I was born with an undying curiosity to understand the inner workings of our world.
Studying human behavior and psychology has always been a hobby of mine. I never studied these subjects in an academic setting. (Aside from maybe 2-3 intro level courses)
As a child I questioned everything from why we exist, to how a person finds their purpose – and adults never had good answers for me.
They had bullshit answers. The same bullshit answers everyone repeats.
I was also born with a naturally high level of skepticism, so I took those answers with a grain of salt.
I say I was born with these interests, because I can’t remember a time that they didn’t exist for me. Maybe I picked them up as a toddler, I don’t know.
Being introverted by nature, I am constantly in my head – collecting information, analyzing it and organizing it to be used later.
If it weren’t for these traits, this website wouldn’t exist. I simply wouldn’t have
any enough insights worth sharing and I wouldn’t feel compelled to go look them up to regurgitate back to you.
Something I’ve given a lot of thought is the value we place on others and on ourselves.
Here are a few conclusions I’ve made.
The Halo Effect
Even if you have never heard of the halo effect, you know what it is.
The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties.
To put it simply, you know when you stumble on someone’s Twitter profile that you’ve never heard of and they have 50 million followers and you think “holy shit, they must be important because 50 million people follow them.”
Or when, say your last name is Kardashian, and people are willing to invest hours of their most precious currency (time) watching you do the most mundane tasks like driving and eating.
You get the idea.
There’s a good chance you have experienced the halo effect at some point in your life, at least on a small scale.
The first time I experienced this in a significant way was when I was a DJ.
I can still remember how I was introduced to the halo effect. The guy training me told me that people will make lots of assumptions about me as a DJ.
People will automatically assume that you have great taste in music, you are a great dancer and that you’re just really cool in general. It doesn’t matter if you are none of those, they will have no idea.
I couldn’t help but laugh at how silly it sounded.
So just because I’m standing behind the turntables they will assume all that?
I figured you had to prove yourself a bit, ya know?
No KW, you don’t get it. They WANT you to be all of those things. All you have to do is play the DJ character and the women will want you and the men will want to be you. It’s awesome!
Sure enough, he was right.
After my first show, a tiny wedding in the middle of nowhere, I was approached by the bride’s parents – the people paying me. They told me how great I did (it was my first gig, I was terrible) and asked how old I was, because it seemed like I had been DJ’ing for years. I lied and told them 22, because I didn’t want them to be concerned that an 18 year old kid was responsible for coordinating their daughter’s entire wedding reception on his 1st try.
As I got better, I got bigger and bigger shows. Not just weddings, but school dances, corporate parties, birthdays, etc.
Guys would come up to the booth to make small talk with the DJ and try to impress me with their song suggestions that would blow the crowd’s mind. (Ice Ice Baby, thanks man I forgot about that one…)
Women turned into animals.
I was nothing but a piece of meat on display that they were competing for. I could scan the crowd and always find several girls trying to dance all sexy and fuck me with their eyes. They’d come up to me and find out what I was doing afterwards or ask if I was single.
This is small time stuff. I can’t imagine what it’s like for guys who are actually famous.
Did I enjoy the praise?
Hell yeah I enjoyed it!
But I never took it personal. Because it wasn’t.
It was just the halo effect at work. I never lie to myself. How could they love me so much, they didn’t know anything about me?
During the week I got no respect as a waiter. On the weekends I was glorified as a DJ. Yet I remained the same person throughout.
When you find that you’re irrationally infatuated with someone, take a second and question yourself. Is it who they are, or what they are that I am attracted to?
Because they are only human, just like you.
The Fame Rollercoaster
There’s a sick game that we as a society play.
As a society we love to put people on a pedestal.
We love turning the underdog into an overnight celebrity.
We build them up and tell them how perfect they are. We worship them and follow their every move, with a reaction for each step they take.
The paparazzi have a job because a demand for their product exists. It’s disgusting.
Then what happens?
The celebrity decides to take a seat on the throne we built for them. I mean, we kinda forced them into it right?
At that point, they start to actually believe what we say about them.
Maybe I am perfect. Maybe I was born special. I deserve all this praise.
And that’s when the crowd has a change of tune.
Hold on now, you weren’t supposed to acknowledge our obsessive praise. You were supposed to stay humble forever.
All of a sudden, society turns their back on the monster they created. They start plotting to take them down.
Next thing you know, the scandals start popping up in the headlines. You know, those same scandals that would’ve been brushed under the rug 6 months prior.
The resentful crowd doesn’t rest until they’ve absolutely destroyed the life of the person they once worshiped.
Why does this cycle continue?
Because people are too attached to their ego. The ego makes everything personal.
The ego tells us that someone else’s success limits our success.
The ego makes us want to praise someone when it makes us look good.
It’s easy to be nice to the humble, rising star. They aren’t that much further ahead of us yet. They’re still one of us.
My thoughts: Refuse to participate in the cycle. Kill the ego.
And stop taking everything so personal!
Knowing Where You Stand
There’s a difference between kissing ass and showing respect.
I believe it’s important to respect the best in your particular craft or trade. That is, assuming they are legit.
Fakes and frauds deserve no respect.
Giving recognition to those who paved the way for you should never make you feel inferior.
Remove the halo effect and they are only human, like you. Right?
It’s not about being better or worse. Not everything in life is good or bad. Some things just are.
On the path to greatness in a craft, some people are further ahead than others.
We do ourselves a disservice when we try to deny that. And it’s an even bigger disservice to think you are inferior to someone who is further ahead than you.
Kill the ego and stop taking it so personal. Do you think they succeeded to put you down? No.
They have dreams like you do. They have a family to feed. It has nothing to do with you.
So why feel inferior?
On the same token, we have to be disciplined to not feel superior to those who aren’t as far along as us.
We are all just humans on individual journeys. Some of us are further along than others.
Don’t make it out to be more than it is.
I know this post was different than most of my articles. These were just some ideas that I wanted to share with you.
Or, more like a collection of ramblings that I loosely tied together.
Either way, I hope the message resonated with you.
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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