Decency, character, level – this triad often reflects the class of a person. This goes far beyond education, good manners and conduct. Some people may be surprised at the level they encounter here and there. Be it the level on which is discussed. That of opinions and worldviews held to. Or the mental horizon (with radius 1), which is presented full of pride. We are used to sorrow. But what does it mean to have level at all? And isn’t it also the case that anyone who expects the highest possible level of conduct from his fellow human beings must first of all set a shining example of high standards himself?? An analysis between claim and format. Let’s see what caliber this belongs to…
➠ Content: What awaits you
Definition and meaning: what is Niveau?
The term "level" comes from the French and means something like "basic scale, spirit level". In German usage, it has two meanings:
- According to the Duden, one definition of the word is a "horizontal, level surface at a certain height".
- In the second meaning, level describes an intellectual or social level or rank.
Level is not hand cream, and style is not the end of the broom.
Whoever refers to others on their (and thus indirectly his) level, usually wants to differentiate, to devalue socially and intellectually. It is to be implied another step, another height or level. In short: People no longer meet each other at eye level. An exact translation into German is difficult. The following terms are therefore often used synonymously in connection with level: Grace, prestige, appearance, character, validity, courtesy, class, level, nimbus, prestige, profile, standing, position or dignity.
In everyday usage, level is often used as a collective term for good behavior and education, for a genteel way of expressing oneself, or the degree of one’s mental state. Level is considered to be a personal level of educational, artistic or moral expression. The word itself is then in the singular. This meaning is also reflected in a popularly used youth word: "Niveaulimbo". The term describes a permanently sinking level, which is permanently undercut (until someone breaks the bar).
The plural, "levels," is again used when, for example, different levels of education are indicated – such as in the form of "language levels" (in a resume).
You have no level: that’s why it’s so annoying
"You have no level!" – Or: "You are below my level!" – A harsh statement, which has a hurtful effect and is usually intended to have exactly this effect on the recipient. Of course, other insults are never pleasant either. Degradation remains degradation. However, many feel particularly strongly attacked with reference to their own level.
Honey, my paragraph is higher than your level. And I wear ballerinas!
Why it is so?
In the statement "below my The term "level" contains two evaluations:
- Degradation: "You are not good enough (for my demands)!"
- Appreciation: "I am clearly above you!"
Impudence! Someone not only thinks he is clearly better, but at the same time thinks we are not worthy of him. A big damper on many an ego. The affected persons not only feel humiliated, but – in case of a less robust psyche – also immediately doubt their own self-image and self-worth. In doing so, we should be clear:
- First such a statement does not necessarily speak for the one who makes it. Is it really a sign of class to let others feel that they have none?? Just.
- Secondly it is nothing more than a self-attribution ("I have level – you don’t"). Which level is neither clarified, nor whether it actually exists (see first point).
By the way: Nice greetings from this level! You guys don’t see each other that much lately…
The assessment of level is relative
How can level be judged at all?? Regardless of the mostly subjective and judgment and offense by others, there are definitely a few objective factors and standards. Whether someone has level is therefore a question of..
- Education and educational qualifications
- Intelligence and wisdom
- Language and expressiveness
- Behavior and manners
Anyone who says stupid things, does not go beyond fecal language and acts like the proverbial axe in the woods, i.e. behaves inappropriately, is perceived by many people as "unprofessional".
But this is exactly the point when judging level: The environment is decisive. To have a level means to know when to express oneself and how to behave.
At an official state banquet, different behavior, different clothing, and different topics of conversation are expected than during small talk and a cozy evening in the corner pub.
What constitutes level depends on the rules of the group in which one finds oneself. Whether someone has standards or is considered "low" is crucially related to deviations from the norms and expectations of the social environment – in both directions.
Of all people, the actor Klaus Kinkski, famous for his outbursts, is supposed to have said: "Level only looks like arrogance from below."In fact, true level has nothing to do with arrogance. On the contrary, those who really have level do not have to enhance themselves by devaluing others. Depending on the environment, otherwise sophisticated behavior can be misunderstood or interpreted as arrogance.
Everyone has his own level – it may just not fit the environment.
Conformity: level is based on general rules
A functioning society needs fixed rules. These are first reflected in the laws of a country. Beyond that, however, there are usually still generally accepted behaviors and manners that make it easier to get along with one another and are intended to protect against misunderstandings. Level is therefore for example:
- Unlawful behavior
Unlawful actions fall below the social level by definition. This also applies to the workplace: theft, bullying or violence on the job have corresponding consequences and usually result in dismissal.
- Undesirable behavior
Undesirable behavior also includes everything that violates the classic rules of etiquette and good manners. This also includes all body noises, which are normally suppressed and remain uncommented on. Today, for example, someone who has to sneeze asks to be excused. Whoever lets his repeatedly occurring body noises run free, however, the level will certainly be questioned.
- Vulgar language
Fecal language and generally vulgar language, as well as the frequent use of expletives and swear words, are generally seen as an indication of low standards. Also mentally. Finally, the person in question is not able to choose more adequate words from his (limited) vocabulary. In addition, there is a danger of using inappropriate language. It becomes really bad with defamation. This also has legal consequences.
- Inappropriate clothing
Appearances such as clothing also reveal level. Anyone who disregards the respective dress code is either rebellious or unprofessional. Wrong colors, unflattering cuts, apparently poor workmanship – all this indicates a lack of style or sense of etiquette. Certain positions require appropriate clothing and accessories. No one will expect a mechanic to come to work in a suit. On the other hand, managers who receive their customers dressed too casually make themselves vulnerable and show little appreciation.
Level on the job: Overqualified in professional life?
Level in working life plays a different role. This is also about appropriate behavior, but more about the so-called "qualification level". For many professions a fixed level of education and competence is assumed.
- For vocational training, an appropriate school-leaving qualification is expected.
- To study, you usually need a high school diploma or a technical college entrance qualification.
- Those applying for highly qualified jobs need at least a university degree.
- For some jobs, even a correspondingly long work experience is a prerequisite.
Those who do not meet such qualification levels must look for another job: "unqualified!"But there is also the other way around: millions of employees work below their level. They are overqualified for the job they do. A study by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) concluded that one in four academics in Germany has a higher level of education and training than their job requires.
The reasons for this can be many and varied.
One cause, however, is considered certain: more and more people are studying. The number of academics has been rising for years. But not the supply of jobs that match that education level. Other reasons why employees work below their level:
- Too long Time off slow down your career. For example, in the case of women who take a long parental leave.
- Voluntary Downshifting due to stress.
- Personal Bad luck Due to economically bad times.
- Failure to Career choice.
In some cases, working below the level of education can also be a strategically wise decision. For example, to even get a foot in the door and into the (highly courted) industry.
Likewise, working below one’s level need not be a bad thing in principle. As long as this choice was made consciously and made permanently happy.
Those who find themselves involuntarily in a job that does not correspond to their own level should soon change something about it. The longer the work in this environment lasts, the more difficult it becomes to get back to your own level.
Generation conflict: The loss of level of the youth
Speaking of level: Older people have always complained about the general loss of level among young people. Behind this, however, lies a helpless gesture that is ancient from a historical perspective. There are clay tablets of the Sumerians, on which already about 3000 years before Christ the desolate youth is deplored: "The youth does not respect the age any more, shows consciously an unkempt appearance, senses on overthrow, shows no readiness to learn and is rejecting against taken over values." Not much better, 1000 years later, the Chaldeans wrote in a cuneiform: "Our youth is run down and unprotected. Young people no longer listen to their parents. The end of the world is near."
This sounds familiar? No wonder! For over 5.000 years, generations of people complain about a lack of level. Nevertheless nothing changes. Every generation seems to be convinced from a certain age that the general loss of level and decay of mores heralds the end of the world. At least. Behind it is rather the decreasing tolerance for the constant change. And the ignorance of an eternal rule of life: In youth, we consciously do many things differently from our parents, only to realize with shock in old age that we are becoming more and more like them.
Complaining at a high level
All this whining and complaining. We Germans are world champions in this. Although our standard of living is far above average compared to the rest of the world, as is prosperity, education and security, people in this country like to moan, grumble and complain.
We are complaining on a high level.
Of course, you can always orientate yourself upwards. Compared to a fictitious optimum (which, of course, everyone defines differently), there is always a reason for complaint and improvement. Too short comes the gratitude for the already existing level. For all the good reasons to be content.
That doesn’t mean you have to fall off the horse on the other side and become complacent or lazy. Looking forward is still commendable and worth striving for. But this can also be done without complaining.
While in the USA, for example, failure is celebrated with so-called Fuckup Nights and seen as an opportunity, in this country people are driven by the idea of failure German Angst before job loss around.
Why? First, the loss has not even occurred yet. Secondly, it is also true that those who whine at a high level ridicule all those who would have a better reason to do so long ago.
Tips: How to raise your level
Level is a complex entity. It includes education, manners, verbal and nonverbal expressiveness, as well as values and norms. Still more, it depends on the social environment and the circumstances. If you want to be considered sophisticated and raise your level, you must first learn to adapt your behavior to the prevailing milieu. A general standard exists at best on a social level. However, if the circles become smaller, their own rules, language and dress codes usually apply.
Therefore – as far as at all possible – here are a few general tips and tricks with which you can positively influence the perception of other people and increase your level:
- Prove tactfulness
Always choose language and content wisely. Chatting freely may be authentic, but it often leads to faux pas. Avoid topics that are highly polarizing or arouse emotions, as well as political or religious beliefs. Conversations about money or death are just as risky. This does not mean that such things must never be talked about. You should, however, develop a sense for whom you say what to and at what time.
- Pay attention to your appearance
Karl Lagerfeld once said: If you wear sweatpants, you have lost control of your life. That was pure polemic. But it’s true: Clothes make the man. A well-groomed appearance and appropriate clothing always have their effect. Again: You don’t have to dress up or mutate into a dandy because of it. But a little more nobility and style here and there won’t hurt anyone who wants to show and signal class.
- Adapt your way of expression
Language betrays consciousness. It can arouse sympathy as well as express affiliation, for example, when we speak a dialect or use typical words. A sophisticated manner of expression does not mean speaking in high, complicated words and convoluted sentences. This comes across as rather trying to the point of desperation. Dazzlers and snobs betray themselves in this way. Level proves rather who knows how to create a pleasant atmosphere in a conversation, to motivate, inspire or convince people. All this can be learned well.
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