One of the greatest status symbols we have today is our car. We don’t wear it on our wrist but on the road. It is a way to be seen. People may not know the price of the car, but they know the ballpark figure. There was research done on the status of cars where they had a high status car hold up at a traffic light and waited until the car behind them would begin to honk. It turns out that cars take a lot more time to honk at a high status car than a low status car. The amazing thing is that we pass the deference on to those that belong to their machines. I would like to say I am above this and yet I live in this world with over 6 billion others. And I like the privilege of membership. I have been driving a BMW X5 for many years and I love it! It is such a guy car. I would like to say I bought it because of comfort (oh yes, that is why I bought it..) and yet the status is such a strong part of the car. It is interesting that when they are selling you the car they don’t push the benefit that it will take longer for others to honk at you if you delay moving at a stop light a little too long. Perhaps that is because it is considered the ultimate driving machine.
My eldest daughter recently did a study of the Cohen’s CO2 footprint in the world. She came home from school and shared with the family that we would need 7 planets to live on if the rest of the world lived as we did. This gave me pause, and it was as if the GPS device pointed us right to the Toyota dealer to begin changing the status from elite to environmentalist.
Although we have ordered the new car, it is not without mental sacrifice. I am so ashamed that this is even bothering me, giving up a symbol. I know we are not our symbols and yet I feel the pull to not want to make this move to a more environmentally correct automobile.
It is my belief that those who can afford the high status cars must be the ones who make the change. It will be those who stop supporting the high status symbols in favor of the environmentally preferred that will lead our society to see there are more important images for us to lift ourselves up to. This will not feel easy, but as Kennedy said, “We don’t do it because it is easy. We do it because it is hard.
Can you elevate above your status symbols?