For me status was never about the stuff you have. It's cool to have interesting stuff, but it doesn't make you an interesting person. Money was never much of a motivator. It's a marker in a game that bores me.
My dad had and has status -at least in the way I measure it. Knowledge is a big part of it. Formal education is nice to have, but never let education get in the way of your learning. The thing that always impressed me about dad was he's the guy people go to solve problems. He's a figure it out sort of guy. Never makes much money for the stuff he does. Even in his mid seventies, he's the problem solver in the retirement park. He doesn't charge for what he does, but he does accept donations.
Dad's in the gift economy, but probably wouldn't call it that. Often his services are much more valuable than the donations he gets. Often he refuses to accept anything at all. Someone might bring a broken machine to him. In five minutes he may discover the problem and do a quick fix. To him it was nothing. Never mind that the owner of the troublesome item was ready to toss it out.
Status is in what you can give. The more stuff you can do, the more you have to give people. The more you give, the richer you are.
In a lot of ways I've followed in dad's footsteps. I learned a lot of practical hands on stuff, but it's dad's attitude that stuck with me. His willingness to give. He gives a lot because he has a lot to of knowledge and talent he's willing to share. People look to him for that.
It's the kind of status that inspires me.
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