The Status of No Status

How do you win an alpha contest?

I had dinner with a friend this week who’s a phenomenal teacher, and she taught me something about this. She’s one of the most talented people I know when it comes to playing in different sandboxes, and she recently ended up in an especially fancy one.

She didn’t plan it this way (it’s just who she is), but she realized she made an impression. And the way she did it was by completely ignoring the status symbols that everyone else was competing on.

My friend is no Franciscan: you won’t pick her out by her habit of renunciation in a roomful of burgeoning-net-worth Millennials. No — her particular genius is to show up, fit right in, and then kindly show these people that net worth isn’t the only measure of a person. Ditto the “right” labels, jacket buttons that work, and all the rest.

In a room full of alphas measuring whatever they measure, the best way to impress them is by showing (with kindness) that that stuff’s all beta — amidst all that performance, stand out with personality.