Recently a top news anchorman for a major American network was outed for committing a blatant lie on national TV and then for repeating the lie. At the 2015 Grammy Awards, Madonna was wearing an outfit exposing her butt. A couple of years ago a US congressman took a ‘selfie’ of his private parts, then texted it to some women and repeatedly lied about it.
What happened to us? Call me old-fashioned but today, class and respect has been replaced by crude self-indulgence and narcissism. Today, being authentic means expressing yourself in any way, “letting it all hang out” and not holding back. Swearing excessively, exhibiting other rude behavior and showing no respect for institutions or authority figures is commonplace in today’s society. In the world that I grew up in, there was a sense of respect and decorum. Of course, people got up to nasty things but they weren’t put up in full view for the world to see. As a society, we were less narcissistic in that era.
Politicians are notorious for deceiving us today and with the media focused on them 24/7, they often embarrass themselves in words or deeds. No wonder they are among the least respected of the professions. Even science is not sacred when it comes to authenticity. A number of scientists routinely fudge data to create the outcome that they want and work hand-in-hand with governments to promote a certain narrative.
We can’t do much about what others do, but we can live our lives with authenticity. We can be genuine and honest, and true to ourselves. Both In business and in our personal lives, it is important to show our authentic side. Our generation may be called “Square.” However, we should not succumb to the lowest common denominator. If you want to wear a jacket and tie to dinner, go ahead. If you feel the need to swear, don’t do it in public. Just because some find it acceptable doesn’t mean that we have to lower ourselves to that level. Don’t tattoo your body because all your friends are doing it. After all, it can’t be healthy.
Some say we can’t go back to the past. That may be true, but we can live in the present and maintain the honesty and class of the past. Integrity means not settling for less whether for yourself or others and “saying what you do and doing what you say”. This will enhance your life and that of others whether on a personal level or in business.