Vanity’s Hidden Benefit


Can Arrogance Be Good For You?

Many of us make commitments to ourselves to eat healthy and exercise and promptly fail. But perhaps the mistake we make is that we channel the wrong parts of our personality to summon the necessary will power to carry behavior patterns that have long-term gain and short-term pain.

Most attempts at healthy living come gift-wrapped in moral pieties that unravel as soon as our goals rely on discipline instead of fantastical abstractions.

To keep fighting the good fight, perhaps we need to channel some of our inner demons.  Gordon Patzer is a professor at the University of Chicago who’s main area of research is our innate desire to be physically attractive. In an article in the Los Angeles times he had this to say about what makes us tick:

“People are hard-wired to strive to look better because it brings benefits throughout life, be it in mate selection, employment opportunities, salary or life in general,” I was told by Gordon Patzer, a professor of business administration at Roosevelt University in Chicago and the author of six books on the physical attractiveness phenomenon.


Patzer explained that there is actually a “beauty premium” paid to good-looking people. On average, in the U.S., they make 5% more than average-looking people, who in turn make 10% more than those deemed unattractive. So anyone who transforms from hippo to hottie can expect to earn nearly 16% more a year. No wonder beauty is such big business.

Beauty = Exercise

Most studies suggest that what we perceive as beauty is strongly associated with being healthy.

Keeping up with the Joneses’ evokes all sorts of bizarre behavioral signaling that can lead us to indulge our sense of envy, run up credit card-debt, and waste years of our lives pursuing titles that we wear as badges to impress others.

But it might be the only thing that keeps you eating your broccoli 🙂

For a little bit of further reading, here are a few more curious facts:


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