Accountability Over Authenticity

Accountability is more desirable than authenticity.

There is a lot of focus these days on being authentic, but authenticity does not really get things done. Obviously, no one wants to deal with people who are fake, who do not mean what they say, or who pretend to be something they are not. However, no one wants to deal with people who are authentically unreliable, authentically uncaring, or authentically abrasive either.

What we really want is to know that we can count on each other. We want to know, when it matters, and it always matters, that the people around us are going to do what they said they were going to do, when they said they were going to do it, and they are going to do it willingly, enthusiastically, and professionally because they made a commitment. We also want to know that if, for whatever reason, they cannot do what they said they were going to do, that they will give an explanation, not an excuse, and a solution, not an apology.

We want dependability, reliability, and accountability more than we want authenticity for authenticity’s sake. Authenticity does not make up for hurt feelings, broken promises, or failed projects. Action, as they say, speaks louder than words, and accountability speaks louder than authenticity when a choice must be made between the two.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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