053 – Pros & Cons of Being an Approval Seeker

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Podcast

Thanks to the proliferation of social media and smartphones, attention- and approval-seeking behaviors are at an all-time high.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David explains the pros and cons of being an approval seeker.



00:17 – Can you do life without constantly having to be validated?
00:55 – Getting the results you’re looking for
01:58 – Getting results for yourself first
02:12 – It’s not just about being independent
03:08 – What lengths are you willing to go to?
04:03 – Short-sightedness is a problem
04:36 – Approval seeking is beneficial to those who are willing and able to do it
05:04 – Not everyone is going to like you
06:19 – The upsides and downsides of being an approval seeker
07:27 – Know thyself


I don’t think I’m much of an approval seeker. There’s something that came up in my reflections and I think that’s the ideal… if you can be independent… and don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice to get compliments. It’s always nice to get praise. And I think we’re all deserving of it to greater or lesser degrees, and we all need it as well.

But if you can be as independent as possible and not have to run on compliments or praise as fuel to do life, I think that’s the ideal. You’ve got to take care of yourself first before you worry about taking care of anybody else.

If you’re doing things in life, it doesn’t matter what area, relationships, business, music, or anything else that you might be taking on. If you’re not getting the results that you’re looking for, it means that some aspect of what you’re doing is not working, right?

I can tangibly see, since February [2023], when I started working out again, that I am getting results. I am looking trimmer, fitter, more in shape, gaining muscle, and losing fat. So, there’s proof right there that it’s working. If someone wanted to get the results that I’m getting right now, there would be good reason to listen to me.

If I wasn’t getting those types of results, and I was merely advising people from my armchair, that’s a whole other situation.

So, we want to be mindful of where results are showing up before we worry about trying to advise others on the direction that they should go in. First look at whether our method is working at all, in any capacity.

I’m not talking merely about being independent, though. I think culturally speaking, North America has a lot to learn from a country like Japan.

People often come back to me and say, “Everything has its pros and cons,” and yeah, that is true. Japan has some odd bits of culture that can be a little bit hard to understand or process. You could get thrown in jail for rather bizarre reasons, but I think every country has that. If you start looking into the law, like, there’s almost no country that doesn’t have some bizarre rules that could get you into trouble.

So, I think there’s something to be learned about community culture. It’s something that Japan does so well, and I’m sure it happens in other countries, too. I just haven’t seen it.

So, I’m not just talking about being independent, although that is important. I think with approval seeking, it’s almost your tolerance for what lengths are you willing to go to, to get people’s attention. It’s exactly what we’re seeing with influencer culture. It’s exactly what we’re seeing with creator culture.

People are running around in tiny little bikinis, or if you’re an OnlyFans model, then naked. There’s ASMR, there’s video games, there’s all this stuff…

Look, some people genuinely love what they do and are good at it. I’m not going to take that away from them. But you will also find some people do this just because they think it will get them a lifestyle. In some cases, it does.

You can get advertising money. You can get sponsors. And if you’re smart, you eventually dovetail your influence into a business, something that will have lasting value.

Chances are, especially in the case of models, will you have a career 10 years from now? Will you have a career 20 years from now?

There’s a lot of short-sightedness. And we tend to do that. Give undue praise to influencers who don’t have much foresight as far as when their thing could end, why their thing could end, and what are they going to do after they’re no longer able to do what they’re doing right now, because they don’t have the facility to do it, or they’re not as young as they used to be.

I guess my point is approval seeking is so beneficial right now to people who are willing and able to do it. People who get a kick out of constantly seeking validation.

And there is a dark side to it, too. I honestly think some conditions have yet to be diagnosed as far as like constantly needing validation for everything. It’s not a sustainable, workable thing in the real world. People aren’t always going to like you.

This is the thing that I’ve been running into, right? You didn’t do anything wrong. You were just going about living your life, and then suddenly people are like, “I don’t like you, and here’s why.” And they will come up with any reason. It doesn’t even matter if it’s remotely true, they’ll just come up with a reason why they don’t like you.

And an approval seeker would probably find a way. I mean, there’s no use, and there’s no need to feed trolls because ultimately, there are enough people in the world.

I think 25% are going to like you, 25% can be convinced to like you, 25% aren’t going to like you, and 25% can be convinced not to like you. The ratio is always going to work out to something along those lines.

But I think an approval seeker is someone who would go above and beyond and try to get people to like them.

And I’m not here to judge, I’m not here to make that wrong. But I’m not much of an approval seeker, and I don’t go on social media to try to get people’s validation. Yeah, I’ve taken a few self-indulgent selfies and things like that, but I think pretty much everyone does that, right? That’s not unique to me.

There are some downsides and upsides to everything. The upside to being an approval seeker in today’s economy is that there are ways to capitalize on that. You might make for a great influencer, and you might be able to please a lot of people.

And then, really the downside… What is that doing to your mental health? Is it building your confidence in yourself and who you are? Do you have a sense of identity apart from how you look, how you show up, or how you present on social media?

And then if you’re not much of an approval seeker, inevitably something will get left on the table, right? Again, I don’t think there’s any way to get along with everyone. I think we can at least come to an understanding where we’re not fighting, but trying to get everyone to like you is a fool’s errand.

Trying to get everyone to like you is a fool's errand. Share on X

So, the downside is you’re not going to pay much heed to people who don’t like you. Even though you might be in a band with them, even though you might be living with them, even though they might be your business partners.

Ultimately, I think it’s about being mindful of who you are. Are you an approval seeker? Are you more of an independent person? Do you fall somewhere between the two?

If you are an approval seeker, then is there something you could do with that? Right now, there are plenty of opportunities to potentially make cash on that as an influencer, or as a social media personality.

And if you’re an independent, then what’s the benefits of that? How could you use that to your advantage? It’s not about worrying about what other people think so much as tending to you and yours, more than anything else.

Before you worry about what someone random on the internet said about your latest video, you first look at yourself, your family, your friends, your collaborators, the people who have a vested interest in you, and the people who care about you. That’s where your energy would go.

What would that look like? And what would be the benefit of that?