Selfish

My friends,

Without even being a fan nor following her, you most probably have heard of the Kim Kardashian Robbery in Paris.

To make it short, Kim Kardashian West was attending the Paris Fashion Week with a few relatives and during the night of October 3rd, robbers broke into her apartment, tied her up, stole for about 11 million USD worth of jewelry and left her (luckily) unharmed.

Seen her popularity (e.g. 48 million followers on Tweeter or 85.7 million on Instagram), this raised as you can imagine dozens of reactions and surprisingly not only support. (come on she was robbed at gunpoint!) Today´s post will not be about whether this is all made up to boost her popularity even further, how the robbers entered the building so “easily”,…if you are interested there will be enough other blogs that will relate the true facts. My interest in this story is the reactions posted through social medias.

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These are only a few reactions from Twitter and there are far more out there. While one could expect a lot of support for a celebrity (followed by millions!) that went through a difficult situation, there are many negative posts.

To start with I am no Kim Kardashian fan whatsoever and never watched any episode of her reality show. I would have nevertheless welcomed her with open arms to cheer her up with a hot beverage (as per Dr Sheldon Cooper´s advice) and good Belgian chocolate after the robbery. I am only a 10 minutes cab ride away from her rented appartment after all. But in her defense and whether you like it or not, Kim is essentially famous for being famous. Through her Instagram, Tv-show, book ironically named Selfish, she is not afraid to show her wealthy possessions, light outfits and dream lifestyle for many of us common earthlings. Her increasing fanbase is constantly asking for more and this makes her even richer by the day – nay – the minute! This is how society works these days.

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Is this unfair that you are highly dedicated at work and maybe combine 2 jobs to make both ends meet every month while some like Kim are incredibly wealthy by “doing nothing”? The easy and common answer to this is yes life is unfair, and this is something we all need to live with. Personally I could not care less about Richard Branson´s private island nor Kim s 4 million USD ring, what I am interested in is how they created such large amounts of wealth. (I hear you coming –> I will post an article about how the rich became rich!)

I wanted to use this news event to discuss 3 questions : Why do people actually flaunt with their riches? Why do people hate others flaunting their wealth? and last but not least How do you handle people flaunting in your face?

Why do people flaunt?

From my research and experience people show off for various reasons but the most two common ones are:

  • Showing off to prove something: A person could show off his wealth in order to prove he is successful or rich. How counter-intuitive it may sound, a person who shows off his wealth does it because he assumes that others don’t think that he is wealthy or even classy! For fun try this : if you live in a large city, enter a fancy clothing store with “simple” clothing (jeans, t-shirt, sneakers) and come one week later to the same store dressed more classy, just to see the different willingness of the store assistants to help you chose an outfit.
  • Showing off to compensate: many people show off to compensate for something that they believe they lack. Some might show wealth to compensate for loneliness, because they assume others think they are boring.

Slipping into a pair of designer jeans or designer anythings can raise the insecure from the doldrums of nothingness to the fantasy level of ‘I’m somebody, and if you don’t believe me, just look at my label!’”—Psychologist Chaytor D. Mason.

Funny enough, people sometime show off their wealth when they aren’t really wealthy. Just observe people flying in Economy Class and in First class, it strikes me that people in First Class dress simple while the Economy Class passengers often carry designer bags, the latest sunglasses,etc.

If you get promoted and your job pays really well you might feel like wanting to show off in front of your friends and show them how brilliant you are but if you became a billionaire then you will most probably refrain from showing off your wealth.

The origin of flaunting is diverse and in a way excusable however as the more extreme example of the robbery shows it can ignite a broad range of negative reactions and resentment.

Why do people hate others flaunting their wealth?

I am not psychologist but just think back as when you were a child, isn´t it natural to wish for what you do not have? That kid got a Nintendo, you would like the toys you have seen in an advertisement,… As you grow up these wishes turn into grades at uni, cars, a mortgage, house, job,… we have all been in situations where we were thinking : Come on I am better at my job than my colleague why did she get promoted and not me? How come he got a better mortgage rate at the bank? … and sometimes we fantasized on negative attributes such as she probably lied on some achievements at the job interview, he knows the banker from uni and got a privileged interest mortgage,…It is sometimes hard to see that people in our direct environment are doing much better than we do, the frustration feelings might even lead to look for reasons why the person doesn’t deserve their success!

How should you deal with people bragging around?

Sometimes it simply cannot be avoided, you are at a networking event, a dinner party and you are talking to the bragger,…

  • For one I let them talk and not try to top them after all they are looking for compensation : Oh great, you are lucky, excellent idea, your trip to the Bahamas must have been awesome,… do it genuinely of course show you are attentive and the bragging might hopefully slow down after a short while, good the real conversation can start to take place!
  • Sometimes it will not, so try gently to move to another speaker if possible, if the person is only interested in himself there is not point in dwelling in a boring one-way conversation.
  • Another funny thing you can try is to “out rich” them just to see the reaction! Example : one person is bragging about the 1 000 000 EUR apartment he bought in a fancy Paris district while it is clear from the context the person is more wealthy than you. Just say something like yeah that reminds me of my first investment 1 Million investment 6 years ago in the same area it has been profitable so far, it is a very good area, excellent choice Bob you are on your way to success! (Let me know if you tried it)

I tried to present lightly some basic psychology behind the concept of flashing money to your peers and in conclusion the way you handle your possessions, brag about it or not is your responsibility. I personally have nothing against someone earning 30 times my salary and driving around in a Bugatti with a Rolex on his wrist. You worked towards your goal, achieved it, now be “selfish” and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

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