All of us or at least those, who use their LinkedIn account are quite used to seeing profile headlines like “Investor, Thought Leader, Digital Transformation Agent, Keynote Speaker, Builder” or “Keynote Speaker, Author, Writer, Builder” or people in the Agile world, who put out to the world all their hard-earned certificates. There are so many examples like these. People seem to be creative in coming up with such bloated, larger than life headlines.
We cover our vulnerabilities and insecurities by believing in a fake image that we build for ourselves. In the age of social media and instant gratification, we fall in a loop where we constantly want to show off that we are doing something new and evolving. We don’t want to accept that we are just like other people. We want to show that we are different. We are in a different league.
I am also guilty of doing this 8 years back when I was a technology evangelist. As far as I remember my headline used to be “Technology Evangelist | Speaker | Writer | Traveller,” something in those lines. I wanted to show off and tell the world that I have done so many things.
I soon realized that I am playing a status game. I am driven by constant validation and there is so much pressure I am putting on myself to be first in the race where I am the only runner.
All status games are zero sum.
Zero-sum is a situation in game theory in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero.
Today, while discussing this topic with a friend, I realized that we do this because most of us have not achieved much or have not accomplished a larger body of work that we can be proud of. There is so much pressure to be successful for whatever definition of success we have defined for ourselves. We cover this fear or call it insecurity by posting our larger than life image. Deep inside we know that we lack creativity and there is nothing that will outlive us.