Are you being authentic or just stupid?

One podcast I enjoy listening to is called Steal The Show with Michael Port. Most of the time, the format of the podcast is that Michael interviewing people that he believes will add value to his listener. Sometimes its just him speaking directly to the listener. In the last few episodes, Michael has touched on what it means to be authentic and quite honestly, he’s got me thinking.

The Bible says in Pro 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Barnes commentary on Prov 18:2 says this:  Another form of egotism. In “understanding,” i. e., self-knowledge, the “fool” finds no pleasure; but self-assertion, talking about himself and his own opinions, is his highest joy.


During Michael’s interview with Tucker Max, they discussed in depth about having different rolls for different situations. Tucker speaking quite candidly, said “I’ve always resisted the idea that we should have different rolls for different situations, but it’s kind of an immature, young person thing to do to say ‘No – I have one identity. I’m one person. I’m going to be the same everywhere. That’s the only way to be honest’. That’s that sort of idealistic, nonsense, young person stuff. Finally, I have come around to realize that having different social masks, identities, or rolls is not being fake.”

Michael responds with “To be called a chameleon is generally considered an insult, but a chameleon is adaptive. They are green when they are on a green leaf, they are red when on a red leaf, but they are never faking it. It’s actually part of who they are, and people have those abilities too.”

Michael later interviewed Mark Bowden. Mark is an expert at body language. He comes from an acting & performance background. Mark points out that at any given time, you feel multiple ways about what’s going on. It’s up to you to decide the most appropriate manner to display yourself. In this you are still being authentic, but you are also being wise.

Here’s a simple, personal example of what Mark talked about:

  • This is hard. It’s hard to write things week after week with very little engagement from readers. I don’t know if anyone is listening. I don’t know if it’s going anywhere. I don’t know if I’m really helping anyone. It’s hard to keep moving forward. I could be doing something more fun right now. I’m not sure it’s worth it.
  • This is awesome. I absolutely love doing this blog. I love making a difference in the lives of people. I am so grateful that God has given me this incredible opportunity. I’m making a difference in the lives of people. Even if it’s not today, maybe someone will read my stuff in the future and it will change their life. This is awesome. I have so much to say! I love helping people!

Right now, both of these thoughts exist in me. I have to decide which is appropriate for the situation and yield to that one. I am not betraying myself by shutting down thoughts that I have that don’t help me or move me forward.

It seems to me the idea that, in order to be authentic, we should only have one version of ourselves and force-fit that one version into all situations is a bit stupid.

To a certain extent, I expect to see this in younger people. They are still learning what is important. It breaks my heart to see it in people who are old enough to know better though. They are really hindering themselves. Here’s why.

When you hold to the idea that in order to be true to yourself and to be truly authentic, you must be the one version of YOU in all situation, you are requiring the people and the environment to meet you on your terms. You are requiring them to wrap around you – to serve you, your will, your way. We might call people like this High Maintenance. What they really are is selfish.

On the other hand, when you go into every situation with the idea that “I will be what the situation requires”, you are not being less authentic, you are being the version of you that cares about the people you’re with. You’re being more thoughtful, more compassionate, more helpful. You are people and situation focused instead of me focused. You are still being you, you are just being the better, more giving and caring version of who you really are.

So what do you think? Do you have a story about what it means to authentic? Please join the conversation in the comments.

Also, If this has helped you, please share.

Love you guys.


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2 Responses to Are you being authentic or just stupid?

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks Art, good food for thought….

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