The power of mystery has vanished from much of personal branding as well as public relations.
It's been replaced by TMI, that is, Too Much Information, most of it boring, irrelevant, compulsively disclosed and damaging to those "telling their story."
Could this be a form of mass insanity? Why else would otherwise sensible human beings assume that we want to hear all about their lives, immediately upon meeting them and with every tedious detail? For example, I went on an interview for a freelance assignment here in Tucson, Arizona. The interviewer told me his story. And, take a glance at the help-wanted on Craigslist. Everyman and Everywoman advertise for ghostwriting for, you got it, their memoirs.
Focus has vanished. That can deep-six the search for jobs, the ability to close on a sale, the search for a significant other and the need to simply have a conversation with another human being.
Yes, there used to be focus. Before psychologist Carl Rogers mandated we be open, Oprah celebrated the cult of sharing and social media encouraged non-stop tracking and reporting of our daily activities and moods, human beings tended to be circumspect.
That's why a long engagement usually came before marriage. Two people were supposed to get to ferret out what was beneath the layers of insulation of the self. That's why there were three interviews for a job. That's why the fundamental of emotional intelligence (EI) was to hover around the perimeter of a group and observe the dynamics, only then selecting possible friendships to cultivate.
Can we return to an ethos of a lot less information? Not easily. It will likely require a deliberate campaign to nurture the power of mystery and mystique. Steve Jobs certainly understood the dynamics of holding onto our secrets. He never got lost in his story.
Takeaway: There is no law which requires that we tell our story.