Monday, February 05, 2018
The Art of the Good Life #9 : The Authenticity Trap
Suppose you and a Japanese food connoisseur friend go to new restaurant and order a bowl of Ramen. When the Ramen arrives, your friend is aghast !
There are fishballs in his ramen !
He says that the ramen is not authentic because fishballs are not part of Japanese cuisine. In fact, your friend declares that bowl of ramen as Chinese food and unworthy of his meticulously curated Japanese food tasting tastebuds. A few days later, you check out the Wikipedia entry on Japanese Ramen and you find out that Japanese noodles originate from China.
So is the fishball-laden ramen authentic ? Or are all Japanese Ramen dishes a shallow imitation of Chinese noodles ?
Take another example, in your Tinder profile, you declare that you would like your significant other to be an authentic guy. Closer to Valentine's Day, you manage to get a hot date with your profile. The guy, during the date, tells you that the reason he wants to meet you is because he thinks your profile picture is worth masturbating to.
You get angry and confront that creep !
But he says that he's just being authentic by revealing his real thoughts regarding why he wants a date with you. He thought you would find his authenticity refreshing because that's what you want in a guy !
In both cases, Authenticity is a trap and definitely an overrated thing to aspire to.
Instead the book suggests channeling President Eisenhower and developing a second persona as an alternative to becoming more authentic.
When you wear the mask of a second persona, you make a point to keep all promises that you make. You also develop a set of principles that you apply consistently everyday in all your professional engagements so that the folks you encounter always know where you stand on certain issues.
This idea of a second persona is a great idea.
To navigate the complexities of modern life, we take on many roles. There should be a persona for every role that we play.
It sure beats trying to be yourself and getting rejected over and over again because of that.