Inauthentic Authenticity… The Rise of False Transparency and Contrived Vulnerability

“The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.” ~ Jean Giraudoux, French diplomat, dramatist, & novelist

[Originally written in 2014]

Have you noticed a rash of sincerity has broken out?

Stoked by social media, authenticity, transparency and vulnerability are all the rage. This happy trio is trotted out by companies and proclaimed by self-appointed luminaries as new marketing mantras.

Here’s my question:

If you are being authentic, transparent and vulnerable now, what were you being before?

The “new” authenticity reminds me that when someone says, “Trust me I’m honest” I’m about to have my wallet lifted.

The trend of authenticity, transparency and vulnerability has led to widespread public self-flagellation as a means to be, well, authentic, transparent and vulnerable. It didn’t take long for us to be infected with an epidemic of inauthentic authenticity, false transparency and contrived vulnerability.

“These days there’s all too much coverage of pesudo-events about extraordinarily inauthentic people doing inauthentic things.” ~ David Halberstam

I’m no longer shocked how people swoon and get misty eyed when someone shares a dramatic story of personal loss. I heard a well-known expert choke up right on queue. He barely could speak as he revealed his worst business failure.

I got choked up myself.
I almost puked my granola and blueberries.

Inauthentic authenticity, false transparency and contrived vulnerability represent a disturbing trend; people who say or do anything to get you to pull out your credit card.

Recently a “list marketer” held a contest to tell him the ONE supreme purpose above all to build an email list.

The winner:

“To have your own personal ATM machine!”

Gives you the warm and fuzzies doesn’t it?

Jean Giraudoux was a prophet. His words describe a generation of false profits 60 years after he died.

We’re hip to the hypesters and hucksters who peddle inauthentic authenticity, false transparency and contrived vulnerability. It stinks like 30-day old fish – we can smell it from a mile away.

Like honesty and trust, real authenticity, transparency and vulnerability need no introduction. They ooze with sincerity.

You simply be them.

They are welcome guests. They appear before you say a word. They are affirmed by what you say, how you say it, and what you look like as you say it.

Use your “Success BS™” detector. Don’t be fooled or seduced by inauthentic authenticity, false transparency or contrived vulnerability.

Look behind the curtain. See who’s pulling the strings.

You never have to remember your story when you are truly authentic, transparent and vulnerable.

You’ll stand out like a prophet among false profits.

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