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Be careful of where you get value from

When you travel a lot for work you dream of flying business class but for some reason the company I work for thinks cattle class will suit me just fine, hey, I’m not one to complain. Last week I was flying to Canberra and I somehow managed to get an upgrade to business class. I was like a kid at Christmas as my body melted into my big, roomy, comfortable leather seat. The nice flight attendants came round with my preflight drink as I tested out the extra leg room I was getting. I was in travellers heaven. 

At first I didn’t realise that something had changed in me. After an hour into the flight when people from economy class started coming through to use the toilet, I noticed that I was doing something I would never do, I was feeling that I was better than them because I was in business class. I was getting value through my ego, or maybe self-esteem is a better phrase, because of my position on the plane. Once I realised I was doing this I had to stop myself. I was building my esteem based on the fact that people would think I must be important or rich because of where I was seated on the plane. The irony is, it was through sheer luck that I had been upgraded and normally I would be sitting with these very people.

This highlighted to me that we need to be careful of where we get our value from. I wasn’t a better person because I was in Business Class and it would be dangerous for me and those around me if I started to believe that. We need ways to build our self-esteem in life but we need to do it in a way that isn’t harmful to others, is based on our own values and is a response to the behaviors we have in our day to day life.

When we get value from things that are dangerous for us, like feeling superior to others because of a seat position, we can be lead down a path that takes us away from our true core values. We can also lose the opportunity to learn from others as we find we may be disregarding them for the wrong reasons. 

Look at where you get value from. Does this promote your true core values and does it help your world be a better place? This may be a hard thing to do but the benefits are massive. 

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Reader Comments (5)

Bevan, a very poignant article. More self awareness is paramount in recognising any changes in yor own personality which sadly many people lack. A real strength of character is required to avert such changes, especially you are an individual who doesnt regularly experience extrinsic successes. To be true to oneself is surely key to leading a more contented and successful path tthrough life, if only people could appreciate this before it's to late!

September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrankarm

I agree, although I had it the opposite way... back then when I use to fly economy I use to be embarrassed when I travel with people I know and they sit in business or first class because I thought they were superior to me. I know, shame on me, but I'm not sure if its a cultural thing, being that I live in a very materialistic area, the middle east, hence the feeling that I felt. I use to bounce it back and forth in my brain believing if they thought they were actually superior to me or not. This also could be very bad for ones self esteem.

It's understandable when someone whos' use to siting in economy, "cattle class" then suddenly gets upgraded, you lucky bastard, would feel that way because and maybe only because he/she felt extra special that they are the ones that got upgraded which brings in the question "why me?" which therefore results in them thinking they are in someway special or "superior" to others. I'd say that normal to an extent or wait maybe its just luck, you'll ever know now ;)

the only problem is when those emotions or feelings feed your ego and you start taking it into the next level where you feel senior or higher-up than anyone anywhere. So a good point you bring is that you should always be humble and control them and not let them effect you as well as others.


September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM

I've had that feeling as well M. I know I was worried that my partner wouldn't like me because I didn't own a car and rode a bike around everywhere while she drove a BMW. Lucky for me she has way more depth than I gave her credit for. I know I had to reinforce my own value when I was feeling this way.

September 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterBevan James Eyles

you are lucky Mr. Bevan! not a lot of people have depth, where I come from. looking forward for future posts. greatt job.


September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM

Nice story, Bevan
I think we have to be honest with ourselves and be humble on such situation and whether iin that case we are in business class or not.
I, once, also, got un upgrade to Business Class but my behaviour was still the same.
And I don't get envious on people when they are in Business Class. After all, they pay more for it
Just sharing my viewpoint.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBao Trung

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