Nathalie Jonsson

Science Writer 

To Convince The World That You Are Successful, You Have To First Convince Yourself


Some believe that you were put on this earth to reproduce and to carry the species onwards into new millennia. Forget about your ‘dreams and desires’, your job as a human is to reproduce goddamnit! I don’t know if they realize, but for these people status or rank is very important.

In most species there is a direct link between high social status and high reproductive success. And in species that have an ever-changing hierarchy, the highest reproduction stem from the individuals that spent most time on top. They are not necessarily more attractive or anything, high-status-people reproduce more because they tend to not starve when food is scarce.

Status is most often considered ‘priority of access to resources in competitive situations’. It is dependent on your ability to survive, to reproduce, and to take care of yourself, your offspring, and your kin.

But this is only half of the story. Status is developed and maintained by hormones in your body.

When your position is challenged your body produces stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, which make your heart race and burn fat to fuel a possible fight. Stress hormones make you alert, but if you produce them for too long they become harmful and start to ware you down. People with low social status have high levels of stress hormone. Looking closer though, it seems like the perceived status is what stresses us. It is where you think you rank that affects your body.

I guess another way of putting it is: It’s all in your head. If you think you are on top of the world, you will at least act that way, and most likely you will reap the same benefits of those who actually are there.

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