I’m a very positive person, but sometimes I think that the positive outlook could be viewed as naive. I’d hate to think that I’m gullible.
I was reading a column by Richard Glover in which he explores the idea that we have become a population of cynics. Have we really begun to see a conspiracy in everything?
He writes ‘the moon landing was faked, the final of MasterChef was rigged, and the British backpacker missing in the Blue Mountains only pretended to be missing for 12 days.’
‘Is cynicism the defining characteristic of our age?’ he asks.
As a young girl, my father told me the story of “The boy who cried wolf “(over and over again). Growing up I was always one for dramatics and never let the facts get in the way of a good story. If you tell a story over and over again that is not true, in the end, no one will believe you when you really do have something worth saying.
This is relevant not just for the media (who as Glover points out now often pay for stories, therefore, we have begun to think that a story might, in fact, be manufactured for entertainment’s sake) but for politicians, business leaders and union officials as well.
Perhaps there is a broader cynicism towards authority as a whole.
We want to believe that the actions our politicians are taking is in the best interests of us all. That they have our best interests at heart, we have our doubts. It might not be true. What if we believe it and then we discover it was a hoax, we are then the one’s left looking naive and gullible.
Is this not also the case with many organisations. Leadership has delivered too many messages that simply have not been fulfilled upon, so everyone begins to hedge their bets, hang back, not get fully involved with the given initiative, just in case ‘it is not going to work’. People take a cynical, ‘wait and see’ attitude rather than throwing themselves behind the program.
According to Gallup, 64% of Australians are not engaged – that means that they have effectively ‘checked out’, they are putting in time – but no emotional effort at work.
It takes consistently great leadership to build trust. Those organisations that already do this are the ones that deliver results. Organisations will focus on building trust because of the greater commercial return. The question is will other leaders in the community do the same, politicians, media. It will be a long time before we ‘believe’ again. We now have our own media – Twitter is the greatest (and global) indicator of ‘the peoples’ pulse.
This will be a long road – to move from cynicism to just scepticism. And it is healthy to challenge and question what we are told so we don’t look gullible.
What makes you cynical?
Karen Rocks says
As you say, when people don’t do what they say they are going to do. That’s what can make me cynical – or more just disappointed.
Other than that, I am a positive person and prefer to view the cup as half full. Maybe there is some merit in that. We are being taught to view the cup as half empty from an early age in preparation for people or organisations possibly taking advantage of us.
It is a hard habit to break if it is not intrinsic.
Having the desire to see the good in people and their qualities and strengths, rather than their shortcomings does not make you gullible. It makes you a better manager of people.
I think the best way I’ve seen it described was by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.