Is Being Authentic All It’s Cracked Up To Be?



To thine own self be true? Are you quite sure?

I recently read an interesting article by Tanisha Howard-James on whether being authentic is actually a good thing. She makes a good point. It got my brain in gear and I came up with a bunch of thoughts on what she had written.

My reply is below, but hopefully you can read between the lines and get a flavour of her article – if not, here’s the link to it on LinkedIn:

There is an assumption by some that being ‘authentic’ means speaking your mind, and that speaking your mind can  be bad for business (or your personal well being).

The other side of the coin is that being true to yourself means telling the lies you may have always told  – but perhaps tried to suppress for various reasons.

I once heard someone ask what is the difference between a person who tries to sell a brilliant product with integrity and honesty but fails, and a con-artist who sells rubbish with no integrity or honesty and succeeds? The answer is that the con-artist gives the buyer exactly what they want.

At the heart of our DNA is survival (if you believe in evolution). So being true to yourself should ultimately mean surviving. So I totally agree with Tanisha, but for a slightly different reason. Being ‘too’ authentic may not be good for you, but then again, are you really being authentic when you tell the ‘truth’ or are you being caught up in a whole bunch of other people’s ethics?

What does ‘being true to yourself’ really mean? Is getting what you really want, being true to yourself? Is helping others in difficulty being true to yourself? Is giving everything you own away because you believe materialistism is bad being true to yourself? Where do these ‘truths’ come from – that’s the real question to tackle first.

Once we have that sorted, it’s my guess we will all have a better chance of figuring out our ‘true’ selves.

Whose authentic are you?

About the author 

Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and retired from in January 2013. He is a director of ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year. Copywriting is his speciality and he runs 3 groups on Facebook under the Science of Copywriting brand, which combined has well over 100,000 members. Quentin is also Founder of the International Copywriters Association and SEO Lead for the UK's largest private hospital group.

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