How to be Authentic and Avoid Pretension.

Or as I like to say "PRETEND-tion".  Get's the point across better.

How do you stay "you" in spite of all the pressure to conform to what everyone around you is telling you what "you" should be.

And it's exactly what it sounds like -- the TENSION you cause by PRETENDING...

Being authentic.  Living the dream of a better "you" is by no means an easy task.

It's a battle for honesty over acceptance.  For vision over immediate gratification.

It's a struggle that you can appear to be losing for decades.

But if you adopt any other strategy, you'll find yourself leaving your dreams behind.  You'll flounder -- always looking for what looks like success but never being a part of outrageous success.

We were at dinner not long ago when my 5 year old son, Bryce, leaned over the side of the booth and announced: "There's something about that waiter that doesn't seem right".  Of course Sara and I instantly hushed him.  "That's not something that we say." And then it hit me.  Was I was un-teaching the authenticity that he was born with?

Makes you think. Right?

Why couldn't my son share his opinion about our waiter at Applebees?  And, Bryce was right -- the waiter was a little quirky.  (I had been thinking the same thing.)

But, when I was put in a situation where authenticity should have been welcomed and affirmed, my gut reaction was pretension.

Sadly, there is no one calling me out -- holding me accountable.

And, why should they.  The standard isn't to be authentic.

It's pretension:

  • To pretend like we can get along with everything...
  • To pretend like everyone and all our priorities should be treated equally...

It's all around us.

So what to do.

1. Ignore the shouts of the crowd

Good or bad.  Just stop caring what people say or think about you. Fight ferociously for the outcome of your dreams and let the rest take care of itself -- or not.  You shouldn't care either way.  You aren't a gladiator whose life depends on the raucous jeers of the masses.  You are living your dream in 2010.  Whatever any one thinks about you is completely worthless to your future changing the world.

2. Separate criticism from results

Results are static.  Your attitude determines your destiny.  Just because you won or lost doesn't mean that you should pay more attention or completely ignore the critiques of those around you.  Being authentic means that you are brutally honest with yourself about your own performance.  Winners win.  Not everyone who wins is a winner.

3. Invest in edgy conversations with kindness

There is a difference between being authentic and being an a@$hole.  Most of us find it easier to be the latter one.  In our twisted world of "needing to get along", we somehow think that disagreeing with the masses is a crime all by itself.  And it's not.  It's the way we change the world.

There is no reason to be pretentious.  It our fear mechanism.  It's what we do when we think that who we are might not be what the rest of the world wants us to be.

It's what we do when we care more about approval than achieving our goals.

Be authentic.  It won't kill you.  It might actually put you in a position to go something outrageous.

About the Author:

Dan Waldschmidt understands explosive performance like few others in the world.  He is a former technology CEO, an expert author, and sought-after inspirational speaker.  He is husband to a cute gal named Sara and father to two energetic boys.  Overall, he’s just an ordinary dude who happens to have an outrageous vision.  And he wants to help you change the world...