Finding The Authenticity That Lurks Inside You
In the age of personality politics that we have sadly entered, we definitely need to have a way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, when making decisions about others.
Back in the time before things like the Internet and social media, we tended to make our judgements based on what we experienced first hand or through watching interviews with these people on news and entertainment TV shows.
But things have changed, and for most of us, judging people is really not so much a first hand observation thing as it is the pseudo behavioural science of reading into things that they post. Such as blog posts like this or smaller ones, right down to tweet-sized.
While this indirectness puts us at a distinct disadvantage, most of us are still able to form an impression of what someone is like from an email or whatever.
For example, I recently found out about a son my sister had and gave up for adoption when she was about 19 years old. They have recently re-connected, met face to face a couple of times, and my sister encouraged me to contact him directly and arrange to meet and get to know each other. Which I did, by email.
In the email he sent me back, I was amazed to see that a big part of my sister, who is very bright, well-read and intuitive, was reflected in his email in spades. It wasn’t any sort of rocket science to see that, and frankly, it gave me a great deal of pleasure.
And here’s the thing. Bright people, well-read people, and highly intuitive people never need to actually try and convince anyone that they are that way.
It just shows.
Those who do try and convince people that they have those qualities, may convince a few highly gullible or emotionally needy people, but for the most part this will be seen as arrogance, egotism, narcissism or some sort of other obsessive compulsive disorder.
This kind self-aggrandizing behaviour is most commonly observed in people with important jobs, like surgeons, high-end executive, lawyers and the like. On a lesser scale, it’s something that’s often seen in politicians, celebrity coaches, preachers and certain types of academics.
Most regular and intelligent people can spot this in an instant and automatically file it under “Bullshit I Need To Avoid”.
Calling yourself a genius, gifted, very smart, highly intuitive, sensitive, caring, loving, important, successful, etc. are never your descriptors to use. Instead, they should simply be made obvious to others by your actions.
I know a few people I would consider genius level at what they do. But I also know that never in a million years would they ever describe themselves that way…and that, IMHO, is the real essence of what we call authenticity.
Authentic people never have to tell anyone that they are authentic.
if they are, people will just know it. Because their actions and the way they speak will paint that picture very clearly and consistently.
This authenticity is something that is so easy to achieve that a lot of people tend to overcompensate, not really believing that just being themselves is all that is required. And that the more they are simply themselves, the easier it will be for the world to see it.
A lot of this happens when you finally figure out who you are as a person and teach yourself to communicate it in the simplest way possible that suits you.
It takes a bit of work. But the work isn’t hard. It just requires a bit of dedication and moving your ego to one side while you play though to get down to your own authentic self.
PS: I did not write this for any particular reason other than that it was just the thought I woke up with in my head this morning.
Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional and former professional photographer. He has run his own business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is specialized in creating communications for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world.
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