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  • Writer's pictureJohn Selzer

Fake Plastic Trees

Is anything real anymore?

It has become increasingly hard to tell what to believe as truth, what is authentic and when someone is being genuine. This is not a new phenomenon – there have always been snake oil salesmen and swindlers – but the means used today have blurred the lines beyond recognition.

Now, we use established echo chambers like Facebook or Twitter to endlessly repeat a bent version of the truth until it is accepted as fact. With “deepfakes”, you can integrate someone’s face into any video with just a few clicks. While some find great humor in inserting Nicolas Cage into random movies, the impact can move from humorous or awkward to something much more harmful when the intentions are more sinister.

The truth has lost its value. We have drifted away from honesty and openness, and instead, live behind a façade.

To some extent, we are all guilty of falling into this trap.

We post our best selves on social media. We answer the “How are you?” question with “Great” or “Fine” when we are actually struggling. We are “killing it” with our companies, despite their very existence hanging in the balance. We “love our jobs”, despite having a Grade A jerk of a boss and limited career upside. As a startup founder, we are told to “fake it ‘til you make it”.

Reality matters, but we seem to value perception more. We have lost sight of the true value of the former.

Perhaps we should direct more effort to improving our reality than curating the perception. It is time to place more value on the genuine. The straightforward. The honest.

Stop trying to achieve perfection – or some warped, distilled or airbrushed version thereof. Live your best life. Be your best self. Whatever that is. And stop worrying what others think. Or measuring your worth one like, heart or thumbs up at a time.

It’s okay to post that perfect sunset or the “most uh-mazing” avocado toast. To share tales of your magnificent accomplishments on LinkedIn or Facebook. Just don’t lose sight of what really matters: you.

Be real. It takes a lot less effort.


Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead

A classic Radiohead song from the band’s strongest album, The Bends. Like a pungent, aged cheese, this song will not be for everyone. Some will declare it as perfection, others as garbage. It takes a certain palette to enjoy the wonder that is Thom Yorke. Maybe that person is you.

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