Pointless Posturing and Meaningless Virtue Signalling

Every now and then you’ll come across some people online, especially in certain Facebook Groups, who decide to become peacocks.  They spread out their tails and show off everyone else in the group just how majestic they really are and their display is just a way of gathering attention.

Sometimes, this is just a benign #humblebrag.

On the other hand, there was an example of one that I saw this morning that was just pointless posturing and worthless virtue signalling.

I’m in a few private FB Groups where I get invited for a variety of reasons – I know somebody there that thinks I’ll add value, the people who created the group know or follow me and invite me or I’ve heard about it and decided to join.

Slight tangent, but some of these private groups with a relatively small number of users who all contribute and share on a topic are some of the best environments to learn on the internet now.  If you can find one or two that interest you, has good quality people and is limited in terms of the membership numbers, I highly recommend you join and participate.

In this one group I’m in, plenty of the people are growing online businesses and doing a good job.  They all have interesting insights and the sharing is pretty open in terms of things that are working and what isn’t.  The barrier to entry is VERY high so the membership is quite small.

One of the members this morning posted that because he lives in a relatively poor country, the money he makes per month from his online business (north of US$10k/mth) allows him to lead a lifestyle that is opulent by local standards.  He’s indicated that this is hurting his motivation – his primary goal of building a solid income has been achieved and he doesn’t really have a “what’s next” type ambition.

This is surprisingly common – when people achieve their primary goal and complacency sets in, motivation takes a plunge.

I suggested that he set a new stretch goal for himself and just treat it like a game because really, in a developing country, the difference between $100k per year and $200k per year with respect to lifestyle is marginal, so he needed to shift the goalposts to a new form of internal motivation.

Another user commented that he was “having the same problem”.  He had achieved his financial goals, but those weren’t really important because his main reason for building his online businesses was so that he could “help other people.”

What an utter load of crap.

Seriously, I’ve known of this guy for awhile in an online sense and watched his progress from a guy who was making less than $100/mth (and some months losing money) to where he is now, making about $8k/mth on average.

His goals were never about “helping others” unless by others he meant himself and was referring to himself in the third person.

There’s nothing wrong with having financial goals as your motivating factor for working hard and building something.

In fact, I strongly encourage it.  I don’t believe that myself or anyone reading this post will ever have “enough” money – there’s always room for more.

And I don’t think you need to feel bad about your desire to accumulate more wealth – if you’re working hard and being honest, then everything you get, you deserve.

There’s no need to dress it up in feel-good virtue signalling.

Seriously, nobody cares what your motivations for being successful were and I can assure you that nobody respects you more because you write on the internet that you had some higher purpose.

In fact, I think it’s quite the opposite.

If you were struggling to make ends meet and you put your head down to build something of value that gave you a lifestyle that other people would admire and even be envious of, then that’s something worth talking about, if you’re into talking about it.

That’s a salient point… You’re not required to “share your story”.  If you’re a success or a failure, you’re under no obligation to talk about that publicly.

In fact, I was in a conversation online recently with Stuart Walker on this topic – Stuart runs the massively popular Niche Hacks website and he was talking about how none of his family knows what he does or how successful he is.  He doesn’t have social media profiles, doesn’t publish his photo and keeps a very low profile in general.

This is a guy who runs one of the most successful sites on the internet about building online businesses and he is more or less a ghost.

This is something that I personally try and balance myself.  I have almost no interest in having a “high profile” or being “internet famous”.  I live a pretty good lifestyle here in Sydney, do well enough financially that I’m comfortable and not many people I know really “know” what I do.

There’s no need to be a posturing peacock or a stupid virtue signaller – you can do your thing successfully and still maintain a certain decorum which, in my opinion, is a great way to be.

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