Winners produce safety.
Siddhārtha Gautama (the Buddha) and Jesus had at least one thing in common that separated them from most of humankind: they achieved enlightenment
Have you ever heard about Bob who attempted to go for enlightenment, became a modern day monk, but got too caught up in Gmail? No; you haven’t.
And so, today, we have institutions of religion and temples all dedicated to these deities. Not Bob, the poor guy who thought nirvana looked good but couldn’t muster his will past the desire to achieve inbox zero.
Why is that?
What is it about human nature that makes us want to echo in our social circles, from one person to the next, what we should like and dislike?
Let me explain…
People in the United States look to advice from celebrities (A, B, C, and now IG grade) and experts on subjects.
Whether it be how much money you have, how sexy you look, that you’ve gone to Harvard, or because you’re on the Billboard Hot 100 — people want to see, hear, and gain advice from a winner.
I’m not going to listen to Bob on how I should dress. Why? Because Bob looks comical in his bright blue shirt and overall jeans, with the laces of his shoes untied and his handlebar mustache.
Let’s elaborate what is meant by the word, safety.
The deepest human trouble, backing to ancient Mesopotamia, is the need for food and clean water.
Think about when you’re hungry, what’s on your mind? Probably finding something to eat.
That’s because it’s an impulse where our brain cells are telling us through changes in our body’s hormone and nutrient levels, “hey, I would like something in the belly please!”
Hunger makes us uncomfortable, and keeps our mind focused on the problem, “where is food?!”
Since it’s the most important thing at that moment and nothing else matters to us, the ones who are in our tribe and offer us food, in turn, become our safeguards, our heroes, our winners.
This is our parents in modern day society; which so many rely on into their 30’s and 40’s for support, shelter, and lessons on how to survive (or thrive). And why parenting is looked at in the question form, “am I a good parent?”
So how do you become a winner?
Safety has three important attributes associated to it: trust, appearance, and acceptance.
Like the earlier mention of food, if I am hungry and you are providing me with food, you become a hero of mine (if only for a moment) and I trust you.
This is why the hungry homeless person on the street accepts your gesture of food, and why so many companies offer catered lunches, snacks in the office, and free coffee — you’re providing me with a basic (and essential) need, and in return, I give you my trust.
Another example, is if I know that going to work for Google will have a positive impact on my career in comparison to Microsoft, it’s because of the trust I’ve given to Google to make the right decisions in the future that will also impact me.
Trust is the belief that I am safe with you.
If you’ve ever been on a lunch date with someone you don’t know very well, and after lunch, you head to the restroom to only realize “oh! I have a piece of spinach stuck in my tooth”, chances are you’ll feel a little embarrassed.
That’s because we want to be aware of our appearance at all times, and to know if how we look to others matches the image of ourselves we have in our head.
This is particularly why public speaking is such a fear-ridden task; because when we speak in front of others, we’re worried about how we may look, whether that be dumb, confident, fumbling on our words, etc.
A winner provides a certain appearance to others, as well as to themselves.
A great example are the beauty experts on YouTube or IG, with tutorials on “how to get the perfect eyebrow shade”.
Or Jennifer Aniston’s endorsement of SmartWater, where if I decide to buy SmartWater, I also appear to be in the image of Jennifer Aniston when I carry the bottle around.
This is the most powerful association to safety of all the three.
Pressures from external sources influence our own self-acceptance, which is something we look out for since birth.
We are brought into a world, without asking, and then need to mold ourselves in how we dress, act, appear, and so on, to be socially accepted.
If I go to a party full of collared shirts, and I’m the only one dressed in black, wearing chains and in a heavy metal ensemble, then chances are I will get looked at funny.
People are looking to associate with other people who are kind-of similar; because of safety.
Difference is not safe until it’s acceptable. Once something, or someone, becomes acceptable, then the floodgates open and more and more people gravitate towards it.
Winning here is done through a courageous voice or expression.
The only way something becomes acceptable is by a group of accepted letting others who value their opinion know that it is. This is also true with what is unacceptable.
Referred to as “the first fan”, it’s what was (and is) needed for the civil rights movement to succeed, and on a lesser scale of human social justice, what Harry Potter needed to succeed.
As you should, you need to find meaning in this whole blog post.
To be a winner is to have responsibility. You’ve earned it. Whether that be through hard work, you’re super cool, or you’re not Bob.
Recognizing that humans search (and strive) for safety, and that there are three attributes associated with it: trust, appearance, and acceptance, you can shape a movement that will better you on your way to achieving your ultimate goal; hopefully one that is to better for all forms of life, on and including this planet.