It’s Our Cynicism

Charlene Norman
3 min readJun 2, 2024

--

This week, I finished the final episode about communication in the environmental space, titled ‘It’s Our Cynicism, Silly.’

No doubt you can read between the lines. The fundamental reason NOTHING is breaking through the sound barrier these days is that humans now hold a very high level of cynicism.

I have to believe you, too, have seen the results of it:

  • Power Struggles: Cynicism leads to an intense desire for power as a defence mechanism. Hmm. Wars, politics, lobby groups, anyone?
  • Health Hazards: Cynicism is linked to physical and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. Need I say more?
  • Social Strain: High levels of cynicism can strain relationships and erode the social fabric. Yup.
  • Economic Impact: Cynicism hinders economic success, often leading to less collaboration and a reluctance to seek help. (!!!!)
  • Leadership Lapses: Ironically, while cynicism often intensifies power motives, it prevents individuals from actually attaining leadership positions.

Cynicism has compounded over the last thirty years. You and I have experienced it, we’ve likely contributed to it, and we see evidence of it all around us. So, what can we do?

Once upon a time, I thought being sarcastic and ironic were delightful weapons of choice in everyday conversations. It wasn’t until my mother and my first boss hammered into me how off-putting and unflattering ALWAYS being sarcastic or ironic was.

I decided to change how I behaved, which was truly difficult. It likely took about four years to lose most of the sarcastic and ironic shell I wore with pride. It was not an easy journey, yet the results were beyond my expectations.

That is why I genuinely believe the solutions always lie within each of us and NOT with the government, the institutions, or any of the ‘others.’ And there ARE small steps we can take to shed at least some of the side eye and suspicions we all carry with us.

Here are my faves:

  • A little bit of self-reflection is always the perfect place to start. When we recognize cynicism creeping into our thoughts and perspectives, we must stop and challenge it.
  • A bit more daily gratitude helps. Although this sounds so corny and trite, it does work. When we focus on the GOOD of people and situations (either by stopping and recognizing it quietly or publicly expressing it to our friends and colleagues), everything, including ourselves, feels much better and far less cynical.
  • A lot more connection. Whether in person or via face-to-face video online, connection to others builds trust and mutual respect. This leads to understanding other people’s ideas, motives and actions. Which significantly reduces the reoccurrence of the side-eye.

And, of course, if you have the time and inclination, there are blogs, podcasts, and even daily email series to subscribe to that provide positive thinking, transformation stories, uplifting quotes, and mindfulness.

These days, I don’t see much talk about decreasing cynicism. And that is precisely the kind of discussion I think we need more of. By looking for the silver lining in every cloud, we can build a brighter, more trusting world.

And to my mind, that is precisely where good stewardship and lasting impact begin.

--

--

Charlene Norman

Inspiring good humans to make a difference for all on Planet Earth. Podcast host, author, and community leader. Fanatical about change for the highest good.