Dr. Harry Frankfurt has written a wonderful book on Truth which is apt titled “On Truth.” Frankfurt makes a compelling case for truth – not on moral grounds but using pure business logic. His argument in simple terms is that there is a huge cost to lying and that is to remember all the details of the lie. The moment they forget the details of their lies and slip, they are exposed and that will cost them even more. So they continue to pay the costs of remembering all their lies.
You can make a similar business case for being authentic.
Being authentic means that the delta between who you are who you portray to be as close as zero as possible. In other words, being authentic means brining the “real you” wherever you go.
You can look at it from a moral angle but here we will make a business case for being authentic.
Let’s start with what happens when you are not authentic. You will start with creating an image of yourself that is different from who you really are. It takes an effort to do that.
Now, you will have to act out that image and make everyone believe that what you act out is who you really are. It takes even more effort to fulfill that.
Once you act this out, you need to remember this image for a long time, possibly until the end of your life. Because you need to behave consistently with your image with all the people that have seen you portraying that image. That seems like a burden that you have chosen to carry for the rest of your life.
Things get super complicated as you showcase different images to different groups of people based on the need. You now have to carry an image repository plus mapping of every image to the audience to whom that image was portrayed.
It does not end there. People around you have questions about you but since what you are portraying is only an image, you start building up that image, modifying that image as needed. You will now add the burden of remembering the modified images too. That, probably, is the biggest cost you will carry for the rest of your life.
Want to avoid carrying all those costs?
Photo courtesy: Ashey1209 on Flickr