What impact does cynicism have on people? Previous research has found that cynicism negatively impacts physical health, psychological well-being, and marital adjustment. More recently, the American Psychological Association conducted national surveys on cynical beliefs and found that a high level of cynicism was associated with a lower income. Our attitude can have a tremendous impact on our approach to relationships and people and even on our earning potential. The researchers concluded that cynical individuals are less trusting and avoid cooperation opportunities which limits their collaborative efforts. Cynical people are less inclined to ask for help, delegate tasks, and work as a team which can undermine their economic success. They assume that others have mean or ulterior motives making it difficult to share ideas, visions, and goals.
Unfortunately, our culture and the media bombards us with cynical, negative and distressing news. This triggers fear which leads us to tune in more often, creating the illusion that security comes from knowing more news. As I mentioned last week, information doesn’t always provide wisdom. The problem occurs when we absorb and project the negativity onto others and create an “us against the world” mindset. We also seem to be drawn to negative media for some twisted comfort in knowing that someone else is worse off than ourselves.
Negativity and cynicism are pervasive and feed off each other. Our attitude can be contagious both at work and home. The energy we project can influence others in a big way. We can all benefit from checking our attitude and recognizing the ways we impact others with our words, actions, or inaction. Our attitude is something we have control over, yet we tend to focus on the things we can’t control. An attitude adjustment might simply be letting go of past hurt, forgiving a friend or family member, or deciding to stop trying to fix others. Try focusing on the positive things and people you have in your life and be grateful for today. Remember the past is history, the future a mystery, and the present a gift. Focus on the gift of today!