We hear a lot these days about authenticity. It has become one of those buzz words in the media and various pundits and gurus like to talk about it. However Seth Godin, who is as pithy as they come, and often has some very keen insights into things, is not very impressed with this talk. Godin says:

Perhaps the only truly authentic version of you is just a few days old, lying in a crib, pooping in your pants. 

Ever since then, there’s been a cultural overlay, a series of choices, strategies from you and others about what it takes to succeed in this world (in your world).

If authenticity means being true to yourself and maintaining integrity in your work and your life then it makes sense to me. Godin is correct that we are not isolated beings who are not influenced by outside forces. We are, in part, the sum of all the forces that act upon us in a lifetime. Does that make us somehow not authentic? Or are we the complex product of all those influences plus our own decisions and thinking on how to interpret and apply those influences in our lives?

Is Godin correct in his observation that authenticity may not mean what people claim it means, but might it mean something else equally valid?

Some people are true to themselves. They are true to their convictions. They speak the truth as they understand it. They act in conformity with that understanding of the truth. We say they have integrity. Is that not a form of authenticity? When we say someone is a phony aren’t we saying that they are not honest and they do not live and speak congruent with who they really are and what they really believe?

Read the rest of Godin’s short post here and then let us know what you think.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.