If you’ve read any of my other posts, especially the most recent one on authenticity in customer service, you’ve probably gathered that I have a high degree of respect for personal authenticity as a dimension of quality. After all, according to ISO 8402, quality is the “totality of characteristics of an entity that bear upon its ability to satisfy stated and unstated needs,” and lack of authenticity can be a total mojo killer (especially for long-term ventures).
As a result, I hereby take it upon myself to establish a new word: authentithesis. It’s a combination of authentic (genuine) and antithesis (the direct or polar opposite of something), which you may have already pieced together. I think it can refer to a person, or a company, or a policy – or any entity, really, that purports to be authentic and yet fails miserably.
For example: when someone claims to ascribe to religious beliefs that prescribe behavior, and yet they blatantly violate those rules of order, they would be the authentithesis of their religious beliefs. When a company claims to bend over backwards for the customers, and yet their policies are draconian and rigid, they would be the authentithesis of their value system. When someone tries to be virtuous, and yet they put themselves in situations where it’s really easy to NOT be virtuous, they are the authentithesis of their self-professed convictions.
It’s rather comical that it’s so easy to observe these behaviors in other people and other institutions, and yet so easy to be blind to the same characteristic in ourselves. Maybe that’s because in uncovering your authentic wants, needs and desires (and passions in life) you tend to run into inconvenient situations and sometimes undesirable truths. And it’s so easy to trick yourself into thinking you want something that you don’t, or that you want to DO something (e.g. a job) that just doesn’t resonate with who you are.
Personal long-term goal: try not to be my own authentithesis.
Real authenticity is not hard to do… it’s just hard to figure out, and sometimes hard to digest (when whatever you’ve figured out is sort of ugly).