On Being Authentic, Religion, and Business Success

In a remarkable article posted on “The Ladders”, Christopher Connors offers compelling observations about “authenticity.”

First, a definition: “‘not false or copied; genuine; real’ . . . . “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”

Then his illustration of the definition:

Authenticity is about presence, living in the moment with conviction and confidence and staying true to yourself. An authentic person puts the people around them at ease, like a comforting, old friend who welcomes us in and makes us feel at home.

There’s never any doubt or questioning the integrity of an authentic individual. Their behavior, in terms of ethics and morals, is as predictable as snow during wintertime in Minnesota. You know what you’re going to get.

Finally, the five characteristics that are required for authenticity:

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Think inward, look outward.
  3. The way you treat people (kindness and respect)
  4. Live in the moment and be a great listener
  5. Open-mindedness and fairness to opportunities and people

Oddly, you can get to the same result from a number of different religious or philosophical perspectives. Take the core values (trainings) of Buddhism:

  1. Sila: Virtue, good conduct, morality.
  2. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation, mental development.
  3. Prajna: Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment.

How you treat others may be seen as a key element of “good conduct.” Open-mindedness and enlightenment go hand-in-hand.

We can draw similar parallels with the other major world religions — not how people behave today but with the original teachings. If you look through the sources below, and there are others, matching the values is a fairly trivial task.

Authenticity then seems to be a lay term for how most religions demand their followers behave. However, authenticity has its roots in life, not religious theory or doctrine. And we find it in a website about how to succeed in business.

What does that say about the concept?


  1. https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-5-qualities-of-an-authentic-person?vtmd=JEf%2BQ230bxjFNjw/TSJ48FRR1LbkY3UiJPOtVeFkQDsnE23he/RHqJYq/6bTd7L18fyLgp5uGd0EypS8CavnIkl2gU4PEVuc6TtUV07Pkyg%3D&utm_content=9/26-DNL%20The%20Water%20Coolest%20FOR%20SEND%20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=DNL-9-26-19%20The%20Water%20Coolst%20FOR%20SEND&utm_source=member&utm_campaign=daily-newsletter
  2. ” THE BUDDHIST CORE VALUES AND PERSPECTIVES FOR PROTECTION CHALLENGES: FAITH AND PROTECTION”, High Commissioner’s Dialog on Faith and Protection, United Nations. https://www.unhcr.org/50be10cb9.pdf
  3. https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10256/core-values-of-islam/
  4. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3852164/jewish/What-Are-Jewish-Values.htm
  5. https://www.whatsbestnext.com/2012/08/what-are-christian-values/
  6. https://www.librarything.com/topic/172073
  7. http://hinducorevalues.blogspot.com/

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