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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Being Authentic

There's a cost to honesty and to drawing personal boundaries.  Certainly being "honest, real, and ethical" as defined by you is a good thing to do. However, if you care about others, you still must deal with how others feel about how you're acting. How do you want to affect others and the situation while communicating effectively?

It's wise to choose your battles deliberately. Sometimes it's better to tell a white lie and go through some meaningless social niceties than it is to announce your contrariness just out of the starting gate. Asking for permission is more complicated than asking for forgiveness.

I know I'm an unusual person with unusual values; it's not important to me anymore to broadcast that quality to the world. Now I let others figure that out about me on their own. I've learned a little friendly reserve helps others not be intimidated by my lack of social constraints. I decided that I do not enjoy people being afraid of me because of my social "daring". Hard to imagine this person in the picture is the one I'm describing, isn't it?

Have always been surprised how others seem to assign the lowest motive to actions they don't understand. To respond to this, it's best to explain motives and go from there. Often, opting out without revealing why is a better strategy. My rule of thumb for making these decisions has been, "keep you eyes on the prize." The virtual question is: "What do I want to create here, and are my means congruent with my goals?"

Someone who is "ethical" and treats people well is actually is in the act of protecting the other person, while leaving themselves vulnerable. In a perfect world, the other person is being ethical to watch your back, but that's not always the case. So that's why wonderful people lose out, and find themselves paying prices they didn't expect to have volunteered for making the sacrifice. That's one of the costs of "being real."

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