Cynicism is a Disease — why we must fight it at all costs.

When you receive twenty rejection letters in a row from prospective employers, it’s easy to become a cynic.

“They probably just hire people they know.”

When you hear ‘no’ from twenty sales prospects in a row, it’s easy to become a cynic.

“They probably just use their usual vendors and only go to market to get their minimum required quotes”.

When you’re several months into a romantic relationship, and you hear ‘I think we should see other people’ for the umpteenth time, it’s easy to become a cynic.

“I’m just unlucky in love. Nobody will love me.”

It’s easy to become a cynic.

And it’s dangerous.

Cynicism, in most cases, is a disease.

It deprives us of enjoying life’s highs and making the most of life’s lows.

It deprives us of taking ownership of what we can control.

It deprives us of learning what’s to be learned.

As Oscar Wilde wrote, “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”

By becoming a cynic, we protect ourselves from disappointment, but we also shield ourselves from joy and becoming the best version of ourselves.

We shield ourselves from truly experiencing what life has to offer.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”, as novelist Anais Nin wrote.

If we truly believe that all employers are just hiring people they know, we stop applying for the jobs we want.

We settle for something below our pay-grade, and live an unfulfilled and perhaps meager existence, living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet.

If we believe that sales prospects are just going to hire their existing vendors, then we give up on our entrepreneurial pursuit, and recede to the comfort of a cushy job that we know makes us miserable — but hey, at least we get paid.

If we believe that we’re just unlucky in love or worse ‘unlovable’, we’ll stop asking people out, we’ll delete our dating apps, we’ll stop going on dates, and we’ll resign ourselves to a life of loneliness.

In love, we often have to ‘kiss a lot of frogs to find our prince’, or ‘slay a lot of dragons to find our princess’, and without that journey, finding the one can be underappreciated.

The journey, the struggle, the suffering…in many ways that’s what makes life worth living.

That’s what makes us human.

And that’s what makes our eventual successes taste all the more sweeter.

Have you ever played a video-game on easy mode?

It might be easy but it’s boring.

Only when we level up and play on hard mode, or against a worthy opponent, does a video game truly come to life.

The next time you face a setback, it might feel all too easy to become a cynic, and ultimately give up, setting yourself on a dangerous freefall towards a pitiful and uninspired existence.

Because that’s what a cynic does.

They give up because ‘there’s no point’.

And when we give up, we’ll become a victim and spend the rest of our lives complaining about how unjust and unfair everything is.

And while there is indeed injustice and unfairness in the world, lady luck disproportionately smiles at those who are in the arena, who persist, who try and fail, and try and try again.

No matter the setback, dust yourself off, learn what you need to from the experience, take control of what you can, and try again.

And if you keep failing, in the paraphrased words of Theodore Roosevelt, at least you will have done so while daring greatly, unlike those cold and timid cynics who neither know victory nor defeat.