Can You Pull Off Modesty as a Social Strategy?

Modesty is showing restraint in the appreciation of oneself and of one’s qualities.
In literature, modesty is unpretentiousness in the expression of feelings.
Modesty is the color of virtue.
There are several explanations going around but the above is a reasonable summa summarum of what modesty is. We get the message.
Impressions matter in life. Whether it’s a client meeting, an office get together, a first date, a job interview, how others perceive us, can define or destroy our goals. That being said, in a team setting where cooperation and collaboration is the rote, display of luxury items be it watches, bags, shoes, cars or any such could actually be a party pooper. Especially if they are done with the intent to enhance and communicate social status.
Recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ( Deborah Small | Alixandra Barasch | Shalena Srna) says that when an individual uses luxury goods, the person is perceived as someone out to boost his|her own social value and hence selfish and a poor team player. As a result, they are less likely to inspire cooperation or be chosen by others for their teams. By contrast, in competitive situations, the same ostentatious person is often favored over more modest rivals.
Yes, The Devil indeed wears Prada. ‘ Conspicuous consumption ‘ was a term coined by Sociologist Thorstein Veblen in 1899 to describe people acquiring luxury goods and services not just for their superior quality but also as a visible sign of their wealth and status. 
Status is a potent weapon for determining and influencing consumer behavior and the pursuit of status is highly valued in cultures that are characterized by hierarchy and tradition. This is the consumer insight that is leveraged by brands like Louis Vuitton or Burberry and the insignia display of LV or the Plaid is used unabashedly. Ostentatious consumers tend to be seen as more arrogant, less warm, and even less moral. The Devil Wears Prada is fictional but the association between luxury spenders and emotional frostiness is very real.
Context has a big role to play here. Name dropping, fancy clothes etc would be helpful in winning negotiations but where teamwork and cooperation is the call of the hour, modesty is a better approach.

The same Sociologist Veblen also coined the term ” conspicuous compassion “. Status signalling is not just about overtly displaying wealth or career success. It can come in the form of green credentials, altruism, being a rebel or a contrarian, or being cool, depending on which circle you are seen in and want to influence. 

Being sincerely modest is not easy, because there is a great temptation to fall into falsehood. The playwright Prosper Jolyot de Crais-Billon (1707-1777) said: “Of all the virtues, the one which, in the world, always seemed to me to succeed least to the one who practices it, is modesty.” While the poet Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) added: “The best thing about modesty is the intelligence that must be deployed to stick to it“.
There is a very close link between modesty and humility, but the line is a fine one. It would be tempting to see modesty only as a social convention, while humility would be truth in itself.
So, if status signaling is the intent, pay attention to contextModesty Blaise anyone?
Tempted to offer a link here to an old article from BrandKnew on The Braggart’s Dilemma: How to Promote Yourself Without Being a Jerk “.

Curiosity Skilled The Cat!

Curiosity is that strange human trait that got us out of the cave, across the globe, and onto the moon.


A trait that has led to communication and  collaboration.


“Why” has the X factor! So, start with why!


Albert Einstein quoted that a mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size. All research, come to think of it is ‘ formalised curiosity ‘.
Doubt and inquiry are the two pillars of progress. Contrary to public perception. The things that pique your curiosity aren’t random. They will point you to where you need to go. There is a toss up between ‘ chasing happiness ‘ and  ‘ following your curiosity ‘. Learning a new musical instrument, going hiking or tapping into unchartered culinary exploration, maintaining a journal, going white water rafting.. anything unfamiliar that you can try your mind and heart at..can all take us out of the default and deliver a new , happier tomorrow. The GPS to get there is inside us. It won’t throw up on Google search.
There will always be reasons for coloring inside the lines you have drawn for yourself. It is heartbreaking to leave the cocoon of certainty and comfort and embark on a path never trodden. To step into the alien, unknown, where all things that never existed are created. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries to comprehend only a little of this mystery every day.
Curiosity could be a lust of the mind, so give into that lust. As Ian Leslie put it so succinctly ; ” Curiosity is unruly. It doesn’t like rules, or, at least, it assumes that all rules are provisional, subject to the laceration of a smart question nobody has yet thought to ask. It disdains the approved pathways, preferring diversions, unplanned excursions, impulsive left turns. In short, curiosity is deviant“.
Let’s move on. From Intel Inside. To Curiosity Inside!

So, what’s your story? I am curious to know.



Looking beyond getting ahead!

We have galloped on from an industrial economy to that of knowledge and intelligence(artificial & otherwise). Getting ahead is an industrial age concept. Based on scarcity, lack of access, secrecy, connections etc.Everyone can’t be first (the thinking goes) so you better work harder, make do with helping fewer people, and look for shortcuts if you want to win.

Today, we live in an always on,connection, collaboration sharing economy, in a long-tail world where being remarkable is far more important than being normal, where mattering is what matters and what we ideally seek. But the void is still there. It’s a gap between where you are and where you could be. Where you desire to be. A gap between the impact you can create and what you’ve been able to do. Mostly, it’s a gap between you and the change you can contribute to those around you. As they say, what got you here, won’t get you there.

To propel from your present state, to being a ruckusmaker, a toastmaster, a change agent, a denter, a doer, an enabler. A person who notices, who seeks change and, above all, a person that leaps. Takes the power in her hands, to assist the powerless, the privilege dark community. (Read how 3 designers from are trying to fix the refugee crisis in this BrandKnew article here )

To have the spirit to care for the have not. Lets walk the torque. Devoid of the void!


Image: Plays In Business