We all want to be more confident, right?
It turns out that is not true. Some people are okay with being dominated, and it goes back to an ancient part of our evolution.
Psychologist Jordan Peterson discusses how the human brain shares a commonality with our ancient ancestor, the lobster, which began evolving some 350 million years ago. He suggests that human beings naturally compile themselves into dominance hierarchies. As a personal brand, you could either stand up straight, facing the fear of failure like a lobster in battle, or get forced out of your marketing territory by other dominant brands.
Peterson suggests that all complex life adapted with dominance hierarchies, a process that is older than trees.
He uses his lobster analogy to explain what happens to our brains when we are confident and when we are defeated. A confident lobster will puff out its chest to demand respect and protect its terrain.
A defeated lobster in battle not only loses confidence, but its brain dissolves. He says that it has to grow a new brain that acknowledges its new subordinate role in society.
Even without the lobster analogy, you can see how we do this to ourselves all the time. It’s called fear.
When we are afraid of something, pursuing a new goal, going back to school, starting a business, we talk ourselves out of it. That is how we are reshaping our brains, and we are allowing fear to dominate us.
Maybe you have a good idea for your business, but you see another company is already promoting something similar. It’s easy to feel defeated at that moment, like a lobster.
How about looking for innovation instead at that moment? You can learn to adapt, and that idea can be digested and reused from your unique branding perspective.
Think of Zoom.
Skype dominated the video chat world for some time, then came Go-To-Meeting, Google Hangouts, and Apple’s FaceTime for family and friends.
There were many video chat options for meetings, but that didn’t prevent Zoom from entering the playground and showing off their virtual backgrounds.
Peterson also says that if you don’t walk with confidence and command your place, someone will assign you a place.
We discussed this idea a little in our post about Sara Bareille’s musical Waitress. The lyric goes:
“Sometimes life slips in through a back door and carves out a person and makes you believe it’s all true.”
If we don’t take charge of our lives, other people will try to assign us a place. That’s life slipping in through a back door.
Not every brand will command the dominance of an Apple or Amazon, but each brand can command respect through a personalistic approach.
Social media has proven that consumers want to connect more with people than a disguised identity hidden in a big brand. It takes vulnerability, however, to share a piece of your personal life with your consumers.
The reality is that you don’t have to be an expert in your field for your brand to be successful. The more you look like you know what you are doing, the more you will believe it and be more attractive as a brand.
The concept of “fake it to make it” still applies. As you fake it, you generate confidence and battle fear. The more you battle fear, the more genuine confidence you build. Faking it then transforms into authenticity.
But as Jordan Peterson points out, we must be careful going into a battle and then retreating. Backing out of a situation creates further fear of the problem. It’s better to always face it head-on by standing up straight with our shoulders back.
A brand that enters the market with confidence, taking on challengers while embracing its unique identity, protects the company and protects society from corruption.
Brand confidence leads to social accountability.
So the next time you see a lobster trapped in a water tank, remember that you have more in common than you think.