Who’s heard this before?…
“You’re only doing that to impress other guys.”
Most guys say they do things – build muscle, lose fat, make money, drive a nice car, etc – to impress women. However, they go to, what other men call, “unnecessary extremes”.
Meaning, most women would be happy as long as their guy looks after himself and is lean and built. Not overly muscular and ripped.
Or as long as he can provide for the family, all is well and good. No need to be a millionaire.
As long as his car is modern and reliable, there’s no need for a fancy sports car.
Getting super ripped and built, driving a sports car, etc., are said to be things we as men do, just to impress other guys. Even having a trophy wife/gold digger, is also to impress other people.
All of this is chased for the sense of status.
Testosterone and status
Status will always be there whether we like it or not. Testosterone makes us more status driven – whatever that status means to us.
Having status for some could mean having a swimming pool in their yard. For others, it means you need to own a private jet. It’s all highly subjective.
Men, and moreso young men, are climbing the status ladder and most people want to do things that give them more status. All of these are mainly based on the circles guys spend their time in, which also defines their definition of status.
Testosterone is positively related to dominance, but only in individuals with low cortisol (R).
Because dominance is related to gaining and maintaining high-status positions in social hierarchies, the findings of this study suggest that only when cortisol is low, should higher testosterone encourage higher status. When cortisol is high, higher testosterone may actually decrease dominance and in turn, motivate lower status.
As a side note, men with high T do better in high-status roles (R).
Testosterone also impacts social position via heroic or parochial altruism and non-aggressive paths of assertiveness, such as posture and social vigilance (R).
Testosterone-driven competition is good
Testosterone promotes dopamine, which drives motivation to attain what you deem meaningful or important.
If you don’t compare and compete, even with yourself, you’re unlikely to become the best version of yourself. Only people who have accomplished something are able to help others.
With that being said, most men have a natural instinct to look up to more muscular men.
Take Chris Hemsworth or Dwayne Johnson for example; They’re not only yolked, but people also admire them, which creates jealousy or aspiration in some men.
Men with successes, which we deem worthy of status, inspire us. Whether we are inspired or try to inspire others, aiming to impress others or at least obtain a higher status is important IMO. For me personally, status is important because it can enable you to help, motivate and inspire others to be better versions of themselves and accomplish what they might have thought to be impossible. My definition of/connotation to status, however, is not to drive a fancy car or be a show-off, but rather to have the resources, knowledge, and skills to be the best version of myself and help others to do the same. That to me is the best form of status. To be in a “higher position” than someone else (so to speak), only to help them to be able to do the same.
If you have status, you likely have more resources and a community that will care for you, all of which lower cortisol and improve the quality of your life.
Having high testosterone makes you more competitive, motivated, and driven. Wanting to be better is a good thing. It encourages self-improvement. Wanting to impress others is good for you (more stability and less stress) and others (it inspires them and you can also be altruistic). E.g. if improve your health, you now have the knowledge to help others do it as well.
However, according to this study buying “high value” items, such as a fancy car, is rather due to feeling entitled, than due to high testosterone (R).
Only trying to show off is rather a sign of weak self-esteem. True confidence is when someone has a deep inner knowing that they are capable.
There is obviously a lot of nuance to all of this, but status will always be there and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The quality of status is subject to the individual “holding” the status, and therefore can only be true, helpful, and inspirational if that is the person’s intent.
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