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Does life ever actually stop being a popularity contest?
We wander high school halls as awkward youngsters watching ourselves, then college comes and we learn that life is fun and no one watches waking moments like one's self, but then the real world returns and work is to be done. So, we embark with meth addict energy and find nothing, but time and listings of openings that never fill, or will, or, at least, until someone comes along with whom they would like to chill. In an economy where no one is hiring, it seems only friends are trying...
If you allow society or economics to define your life, then life may well be a perpetual popularity contest. But if one decides that life is about more than survival, and we find inner meaning and purpose, and develop that purpose, then life becomes something much more wonderful and different, and popularity ceases to matter. This is what Maslow meant by self-actualization and Victor Frankl spoke of in Man's Search for Meaning, which might better be called Man's Creation of Meaning.
There's a great movie made by high school students about high school culture called American Teen that really shows this dilemma well. But you can break free of the mold while keeping your personality, as I discuss in my hub The Four Types of Leaders.
Please define your purpose and create a wonderful, meaningful life. My Hub on Habit 2 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People might help.
Maslow acknowledges himself that the self-actualized state cannot be reached without satisfying all other preliminary stages, one of which specifically talks about personal health and safety. These stages unfortunately are intertwined with money.
I see your point. But as soon as one *decides* to be self-actualized, life stops being a popularity contest. The popularity/economic contest remains, but it is only part of life, not what it is about.
Do you truly feel that it is a personal choice? I have been one to "march to my own beat"; and I have found inner peace by living that way. However, I am not willing to assume that my decisions are completely removed from the society that raised me.
It is essential to remain realistic: we are not entirely separate from our society. (I'm not a radical individualist.) But I believe we can fundamentally choose our perspective. I say, "Life is about spirit & soul" & we also have to pay the b
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