Cynicism - [ˈsinəˌsizəm]

A little more than 30 years ago, I was employed by an amazing small publisher, Wolgemuth and Hyatt. It was in the breakroom, that @RobertWolgemuth gently rebuked me for a comment on the grounds that it was cynical. He was the first person to ever call me on it, and I haven’t forgotten it since. Years later, at Thomas Nelson, @MichaelHyatt openly, justifiably, and not as gently upbraided our executive corps for a growing attitude of cynicism. And I’ve never forgotten it.

These days people are voicing strong opinions on social media. Some just want to be heard. Others aim to impress. The latter often give way to cynicism hoping it will pass for authority, intelligence, or insight. Many times they miss on all three. This group wants to weigh in on a topic hoping to influence friends and the public’s sentiment. Lacking insight or authority, they reach for cynicism. I’ve done it, and far too often to my own embarrassment. Twitter positively oozes it, with many posting with hopes for likes, retweets, comments, or anything. Cynicism is easy, and the result is usually what’s known as a “cheap shot.”

Clearly, there are individuals whose actions warrant scrutiny. Forthrightness has its place. But I would encourage everyone to also seek to understand someone’s motives and desires before pronouncing condemnation based on a personal standard. A judgement that assigns every person that is left or right of center under the heading of Evil and Sinister; Racist and Xenophobic; and list seems to go on and on.

I hope the rank and file can begin expecting better from those who wield influence…and soon. But also delivering better ourselves.