Surround Yourself with People Who Hold You to a Higher Standard than You Hold Yourself
Benjamin P. Hardy

Is materialism a marker for success? Or is it a gateway drug for greed?

No matter how you slice it, this advice is precarious at best.

First, it should come with a caveat. Surrounding yourself with people that hold you to a higher standard can also yield disastrous results, especially if they have a controlling nature and are using their power and influence to gaslight you, chip away at your confidence and self esteem, or otherwise keep a person or group oppressed while feigning to be on their side. There are no shortage of stories where this overbearing behavior has been the case.

For instance, how many coaches — perhaps with winning teams — held their players to a higher standard but were abusive, degrading and demeaning in the process. Steve Jobs was a wild success, held others to a high standard, but also was known to be ill-tempered, insufferably arrogant and frequently abusive. We don’t know how many lives and careers he may have unnecessarily derailed for the sake of his own self-aggrandizement.

In this sense, you’ve provided a very biased — actually, very lopsided — view of potential value versus potential perils and hazards.

Second, while I don’t deny the potential value of good feedback, this post promotes the idea without providing guidelines on how to make it work, ensure it works, in a favorable manner —so as to avoid bad circumstances as mentioned above.

Third, your Tesla example speaks to the notion of capitalism as a driving force in our society. It’s noteworthy that capitalism has a strong Darwinian influence undergirding it, which, by definition, involves conquests. Those at the top of the heap have likely left a legacy of ruined people in their wake. One has to wonder if this is good social policy for a larger society, given what you’ve described above. Bottom line is: You have not provided a balanced account of why or how this advice should be framed and managed, if in fact one embraces it as a personal characteristic.

It scares me that you’re pursuing a PhD and yet, this type of content would never get published in a refereed journal, as is (and I speak as one who has been published in refereed journals). To wit: your own standards come into question.

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