Live up to expectations, or get what’s coming to you
[Editor’s note: This special post by Jonathan Bernstein touches on a point we’ve been discussing more and more internally over the past year. Whatever you really are, however you behave “behind closed doors” will come out, and if it doesn’t match up to the image you’ve been pushing you’ll be left hurting when it does.]
The Digital Age has become the Age of Karma. The Internet has given virtually everyone the power to expose information that, in the past, would have remained hidden. The popularity of such disclosures with the media and general public has furthered the trend of looking under personal rocks. One’s true self, unless its nature is never externally expressed, will – sooner or later – be revealed. The good – and the bad. We will know of previously unsung heroes and benefactors, and we will also know of those who, no matter what they claim about themselves, are corrupt, hypocritical, bigoted, even evil.
You don’t have to believe in the spiritual concept of Karma to see the evidence in the news every day that people are “getting what’s coming to them.” Whether that’s the recognition and honors given to Malala Yousufzai or the infamy heaped on Josh Duggar. In terms of crisis and reputation management, people are far more accepting of someone is who he or she says he is – even if they’re unlikeable (Donald Trump comes to mind) – than they are of someone who presents an image that is ultimately contradicted by the facts because the latter turns even one’s supporters into critics. And our culture is, historically, very forgiving to those who publicly stumble and try again. But that same history shows little tolerance — then and now — for people who thought they could get away with it and simply got caught.
It’s time for us all to look in the mirror and ask the hard question, “If people knew my true nature, would they think I’m a liar, a hypocrite, or worse?” If the answer is yes, it’s time to start cleaning up your act before you’re outed.