HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO FEEL IMPORTANT?
Updated: Apr 16, 2022
PINIKL aims to help people identify what makes them most unique or extraordinary. Another of our aims is to act as a force for good in the world. We hope to provide a new tool for self expression and development and to celebrate our differences in a way that advances society. But does the first objective align with the second? Is it beneficial for us - personally, socially and economically - to focus on our differences?
Me first or team first?
Individualism is a principle that emphasizes human independence and freedom. Societies with more individualistic cultures prioritize uniqueness and autonomy, and aim to minimize the constraints of centralized authority. Generally we find individualism tends to grow in areas of rising socio-economic development, and with higher levels of income and education.
Additionally, in recent years, advances in technology and psychology have made it easier to think individualistically. It is easier than ever to determine our own important place in the world and access the resources to thrive within our niche.
Collectivism, by contrast, prioritizes the needs of the group over individuals, and believes that long term relationships are as important as achieving group goals. A collectivist society encourages self sacrifice and personal responsibility as a means of making large scale progress.
Systems that facilitate the achievement of common goals are often powerful, although as in the case with communism, sometimes ineffective. We don’t yet know which systems are most effective in tackling a pandemic.
Collectivism tends to be more common in Asia, Latin America and Africa, while individualism appears more widely in North America, Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
Of course, the reality is that everyone sits somewhere on the spectrum between the two. Our attitudes will even shift depending on the situation. Nor does cultural background determine your belief system necessarily, as even highly collectivist societies will contain many individualists.
All of this would tend to place PINIKL on the individualistic end of the spectrum. But not right at the end, because an important component of the PINIKL experience is our Add A Friend function. Even in the individualistic worldview, connections and positive relationships are critical. Camaraderie and civic engagement makes people happy.
So we make teaming up with friends a collective experience, to which PINIKL applies its philosophy of extraordinariness. What makes the aggregation of your qualities unusual and valuable, and what important things can you now accomplish together?
Is it healthy to feel important?
Most theories of human motivation have hierarchies with ideas like self actualisation, self realisation, control and recognition, or the pursuit of happiness at the top. Metaphors such as pyramids and mountains are invoked, showing the layers we travel through on our journey upwards.
The PINIKL name is therefore carefully chosen. We aim to occupy the space at the top, at the pinnacle of peoples’ motivations, to work in the space where they discover, cultivate and are recognised for their rare abilities. Also, the .com domain was available.
If it were a physical space, your PINIKL would be the luxurious office of a highly paid consultant, occupying the penthouse suite of a fabulous skyscraper. The phone buzzes constantly with messages asking for just a snippet of your wisdom. Adoring crowds chant your name. Friends mingle in the vestibule. Fancy! You gaze contentedly over the horizon. You’ve made it.
Does society benefit?
One advantage of feeling similar to other people is that it allows us to empathize with each other. We find it easier to understand situations that are essentially similar to our own.
Understanding one another and cooperating enables us to move forward as a group, for big things to be initiated, for major social issues to be addressed. People feel contentment when their personal values match the societal norms around them and create a sense of belonging.
Conversely, thinking differently is what drives change and innovation. It solves persistent problems and allows new ways to emerge when the old ways fail. The fact is mankind’s ability to adapt and problem solve has put us at the top.
Individualistic societies value the pursuit of happiness, freedom of expression and self-realisation. Research suggests that this correlates to well-being, although it greatly depends on your environment.
All societies value rarity. Gold’s rarity makes it expensive. We even say the extraordinary talents of Roger Federer, Mary J Blige and Brendan O’Carroll are like gold dust. Businesses crave selling points and products that are unique and impossible to duplicate.
A unique personal style can’t be copied, gets us noticed and makes us indispensable. If we are specialists, we are considered experts. Emma Stone says, “What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”
Appreciating our own uniqueness is also a reminder to embrace our differences. In a world of singular individuals, it’s good to remember that each of us has their own attitudes, talents, philosophies and stories and that each of us thinks differently. Mariana Atencio would say “All of us are human beings. We are just unique.”
Do important people make economic sense?
In Individualism, innovation, and long-run growth, Yuriy Gorodnichenko and Gerard Roland argue that “countries having a more individualist culture have enjoyed higher long-run growth than countries with a more collectivist culture. Individualist culture attaches social status rewards to personal achievements and thus, provides not only monetary incentives for innovation but also social status rewards, leading to higher rates of innovation and economic growth.”
China and Japan show that collectivist culture can thrive economically. However, in The Lineage Theory of the Regional Variation of Individualism/Collectivism in China, the authors say that modernization has been a driver of individualism. “In the traditional Han culture, the interests and goals of the individual are subordinate to the goals of the family and lineage… With the rise of individualism brought about by China’s modernization, citizens place more importance on self-realization and the pursuit of individual happiness, and traditional ideas about reproduction and other collectivist goals are increasingly being abandoned.”
Once you know what makes you extraordinary, what do you do about it?
Qualities that make a person extraordinary can include...
The PINIKL test aims to explore many of these facets and to report on the simplest statistical combination of your most positive strengths that makes you unusual. We attempt to confidently describe at least one way in which you are extraordinary.
Discovering a rare talent also means working to develop it. Even the world’s greatest surgeons keep on learning, they keep perfecting their skill and passing their knowledge on to others. The highest paid sports people train relentlessly. It is their ongoing zeal and determination that elevates them. Follow their example. Lack of effort will probably mean you never see the results you want.
PINIKL aims to make this straightforward by supplying a flow of activities that are tuned to your specialism. Only you can complete them correctly, and in the process cultivate and develop your PINIKL. As the service evolves, these activities will become smarter and ever more hyper-personalized.
With time, our ability to do this more comprehensively will improve. People evolve from day to day and over the years and as circumstances alter. What does that mean for your extraordinariness? The ongoing mission is to find out.
It is time to celebrate your extraordinariness. Face life with adventure inside and reveal the best of yourself. The world is waiting.