Are you a cynic? If so, perhaps you’ll want to drink a different flavor of Kool-Aid.
Are you a cynic? I am and I recognized this because of the Vital Lifelong Alignment Possibilities Explosion. I experienced a profound shift in my worldview after I completed my third Possibilities Explosion. The Possibilities Explosion is a transformative, fun and enlivening exercise and there’s no room for cynicism when you snap back to living in your dreams. Suddenly you are free from a negative worldview and can see where negative opinions and disappointment stop you from going after your dreams. And I saw this in myself.
After this third Possibilities Explosion, I became curious about where I am cynical about others or myself. Believe me, I could share with you a few examples of where I wallow in cynical thought. But what I was yet to discover was that I was drinking the Kool-Aid of the truly cynical. When you drink it this flavour of Kool-Aid takes all the power you have and pours it into blaming others to protect your feelings from hurt and pain.
Dictionary.com defines cynicism as distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic. 2. Showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one’s actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others. 3. Bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.
Well, we’d be hard pressed to deny that we are living in cynical times.
The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust in our government, business and media institutions is in crisis around the world. The general population’s trust in all key institutions dropped in the past year for the first time since they began reporting on this 17 years ago. About 20% still believe these systems support the people they serve and 80% distrust the motives of these institutions. This is where we are as a society and we see much helplessness to affect the change we would wish.
So that’s the times we live in but, what about personal cynicism? Being cynical holds us back from going after the ideals we believe in. It prevents our return to that state of sincere belief in our ideals, distracts us from what really matters and causes us to waste time railing against others or things out of our control instead of girding ourselves to get back to work on what is really important.
I can see why it’s so easy to play the blame game when something goes wrong. Cynicism arises out of a broken heart. When you offer up your heart and go all out for something and you fail or someone fails you, your heart shatters in pieces. Then you can either become cynical and inured to this heartbreak or manage to keep on believing in the dream; wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Most of us want to believe in dreams but then reality kicks us in sensitive places and we protect ourselves and hide our hearts. I become distrusting because it gives me an escape from disappointment. Rather than working toward what I really dream of, I find fault and give up but I am safe.
That’s the real danger of being cynical and blaming others or even yourself for your heartbreak. Blame prevents learning. If something isn’t your fault, then there’s no reason to do anything differently. Which means you’ll likely make the same mistake in the future. Cynicism is a negative and repeating cycle.
The choice is yours. In the face of reality, you can allow your belief to die or you do the most difficult thing any one can do: believe once again and move forward to choose life and vitality with the benefit of what you have learned.
It’s not easy. You will find others who will challenge your choice and tempt you or waylay you from your goals. “Let’s go hang out and complain together about what is in our way and find someone to blame for it all. “ There are all kinds of Kool-Aid out there but better to drink the one that allows you to continue to seek, strive and create success as you see it.
I learned that instead of giving up, if I look closely at how I protect myself from the heartbreak, I could take responsibility for what is to come next. It’s not that my laying of blame needs redirecting from another to myself but the blame must be challenged. What I just learned is if I admit to my cynicism I can transform the negative consequences of blaming into positive learning experiences. And then I can get to work to solidify my relationships, improve credibility, make myself happy, be transparent, lose weight, be more productive, etc.
I admit I am a cynic. This admission is a power move and makes me stronger. When I see that I am holding myself back by blaming things and others outside of my reach I can use the tools of the Vital Lifelong Program to keep me strong.
So I am giving up on Cynicism. The Vital Lifelong Alignment Program challenged me to face it and then to make forward moving choices. The program is a tool, not the answer, and it helped me see that cynicism is no answer at all.
Just think about it. Truly cynical people cannot create success from a position of disempowerment and disbelief. Truly successful people, the ones who go after and touch their dreams are authentic, genuine believers in belief. Cynics are excuse makers not believers. To believe you must avoid or be able to see through cynicism.
The Vital Lifelong Alignment program exercises have you reconnect with and again believe in your dreams. It then offers the support you might wish to challenge the misconceptions and assumptions you protect yourself with that prevent you from achieving success. Then you can really go for it. Yep, I’ll drink that Kool-Aid.
(Rapid Reset Readers: Civia and Ellie Lamson will be sharing Rapid Reset writing duties going forward.)