Authenticity

You need to be honest with yourself about your abilities and about your shortcomings. Your view of yourself should match reality!  

You need self-belief, but this should be tempered with humility: you should have the self-confidence to take on the things you can, but also have the humility to recognise your limitations.

You should say yes to things you are able to do and be honest enough to say no when something is beyond you.

The inauthentic

Some people have little humility and imagine they are more capable than they are; some lack courage and so downplay their strengths.

A lack of humility

Some people imagine they are capable of things quite beyond their ability, that they are much more capable than they really are. They do not accept the limitations of their intelligence, their skills, their decision-making. This means they are liable to push themselves beyond their limits – into situations where they are out of their depth, and so increase the likelihood of making mistakes and letting people down.

They play down the disadvantages of their approach to life and play up all the advantages. Because they overestimate their abilities, they find decision-making easy – they don’t dither over decisions, they act quickly and they get things done. They are risk-takers. That makes them clever, they tell themselves. Surrounded by people who are too soft, too cautious.

Faced with the inevitable blunders, they do not admit they are wrong, they blame other people.

This way, they maintain an image of themselves which is smarter and cleverer than they really are. And which is completely inauthentic.

A lack of courage

Some people imagine they are less capable than they are. They let insecurity and fear cloud their decisions, and they become overly cautious. They hesitate to push themselves when they should, and this means they sometimes miss out on possible opportunities.

They do not admit that they are being too cautious, of course. They tell themselves they are being ‘realistic’ and point to the times when they were right to be cautious as validation of their approach. They downplay their weaknesses and highlight their strengths – they put more thought into decisions, they are more considered and better informed, they tell themselves. And they are surrounded by people who are rash and reckless.

The inauthentic need regular affirmation

It is these two inauthentic types who are vulnerable to what other people think of them, because deep down they know they have got the balance wrong.

The ‘rash’ are very sensitive to anyone challenging their risk-taking approach; the ‘cautious’ are very sensitive to anyone questioning their caution.

They should admit their flaws and address them. Instead, they look for evidence that they are right. Above all, they look for fault in other people as a source of affirmation. The ‘tough’ will be very quick to point out when someone else has proved to be overly cautious; the ‘timid’ will happily point out when someone else makes a rash decision through a lack of caution.

‘Social security’ comes from authenticity

People who are honest about their strengths and weaknesses will have the humility to accept their limitations and also the courage to push themselves out of their comfort zone. This gives them a ‘social security’ – they do not need to worry what other people think because their confidence is in line with their abilities – because they are being authentic.


Published by Peter Runkel. Introvert or HSP or something. Reluctant management consultant. Lives life in PowerPoint.

Published by Peter Runkel

Being quite reserved, I have always been interested in those people at the other end of the spectrum - the ones with an unswerving self-belief, sometimes apparently quite out of proportion to their abilities. I wanted to be like them - their lives seemed so much easier by comparison. Now, having thought about it, I’m not so sure I do. I think they have also got it wrong, just in the equal and opposite way. And it's actually about finding some sort of balance.

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