How To Stop Being So Damn Cynical

The economy sucks. Everyone is an asshole. That one blogger? Yeah, she’s a scammer.

Pessimism permeates the air.

Is there anything positive in the world anymore?

It’s no secret that our society is enamored with the temptation of impending doom. It’s what sells… but as information becomes more abundant our options are beginning to expand.

There’s no law saying you have to be cynical. In fact, the most successful people in the world are choosing to opt out of the world of negativity.

No, that doesn’t mean they are buying one way plane tickets to Fuji and ignoring the realties of the world. Rather, they are consciously choosing to focus on what brings them closer to their goals.

Sure, the world isn’t perfect. But don’t let that stop you from seeing the good in the world… there is good, a lot of it.

As someone who prides himself in looking on the bright side, I too can have bouts of pessimism. I’ve found the following tips helpful in keeping focused and grateful when bombarded with waves of gloom.

Admit You’re Being Cynical

That’s right.

Admit you’re viewing the world from a dark grey lens. No matter how positive you may be, there will be days when the world can’t do anything right.

It’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

When you catch yourself complaining, or getting in bed with negativity, acknowledge it.

“Wow, that thought I just had was pretty negative..”

Then let it pass.

For many, being negative is so natural and embedded in their every day lives, that they quickly forget it doesn’t have to be their default state.

I know, because I’ve been there.

Simply by noticing your thoughts, you’ll discover that you have more control over what you think than you give yourself credit for.

Admitting the problem is the first step to fixing it. 

Audit Your Network

Every time I find myself in a rut or experiencing long bouts of negativity, I try and reevaluate my network.

Are my friends in real life being negative? Am I following a bunch of pessimists on Twitter? Do my Facebook groups love to complain?

Who you surround yourself with both in real life and online has a profound impact on your daily thoughts and actions.

Simple logic says that if you surround yourself with positive and energetic people, you too will become positive and energetic.

The opposite also holds true, if you surround yourself with people who only look at the ground, you’ll soon forget that there is a sun shining bright in the sky.

Most people know this in theory, however, in the real world it can be a little tricky understanding the dynamics of your network.

If you find yourself being negative, start to take notice of your social circles. When are you most negative?

I’m not suggesting you ditch all your friends. Instead, begin to notice who brings you up, and who brings you down. Can you shift your time and resources to better service your needs?

Your network is yours to build or tear down. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the love and support you need to get the most out of your gifts and talents.

Guard the castle with everything you have, one or two intruders can bring the walls tumbling down.

Check Your News Channels

The majority of news is negative. Yet, hour after hour we find ourselves clinging to the latest breaking headlines.

North Korea has nukes. People are on a ship with poop. Child murdered in the inner cities.

It’s no wonder many of us find ourselves depressed. I’ll be the first to admit, I do like to keep up with the latest trends on what’s going on in the world.

That being said, there are a few things you can to do keep negativity to the minimum.

Limit checking the main news networks. CNN, Fox, NBC, will do anything to keep your interest, so they fuel with fire with doom and gloom.

I recently saw a clip of Anderson Cooper the other day and literally every single one of the five stories on his broadcast was negative. No thanks.

Instead, look to stay updated through a variety of different means. These days, I get a lot of news from Twitter, and if it’s something that I’m interested in I’ll then do a quick google search.

Sometimes I’ll use subreddits on Reddit to keep me informed on issues I’m interested in.

There are an abundance of resources out there to keep you informed, while keeping you sane as well.

Are your news networks adding value? Or simply adding more drama to your life?

Practice Gratitude

Perhaps the greatest thing you can do to leave the world of cynicism is incorporate gratitude in your daily routine.

I like to write 3-5 things I’m grateful for each day before I go to bed. Despite being surprisingly simple, this little trick has significantly helped me be more positive.

Knowing I have to write 3-5 items down, causes me to search for the good in my day. Will you still occasionally have negative thoughts? Of course. But don’t underestimate the power of training your brain to look through the lens of positivity.

Regardless of your current situation, there is an abundance of things going right for you. It may be easy to focus on what’s wrong or the things you lack, but doing so won’t get you any closer to your goals.

Instead of being envious of your friends on Facebook, or your friend with her dream job, focus on what’s going right for you.

As someone who used to be an extreme pessimist, I know it’s not always easy being positive. Some days down right suck. I do know however, that the more I’ve practiced seeing the good in the world the more good I’ve been able to see.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

If you find yourself being cynical and looking for ways to change, put these tips into action. I promise the world looks so much better when viewing from a positive lens.

9 replies
  1. AdventurousAndi says:

    Awesome post! I find it so draining to be around people who exude negativity. If a particular person has been a part of my life for many years, I will put more effort into our maintaining relationship. But as a general rule, I try and surround myself with those who are positive.

  2. MaryannStensrude says:

    Lately, I have been more aware of how cynical and jaded I have become. When I’m driving, I’m cussing everybody out under my breath – even if they aren’t doing anyting wrong. Every driver (except me) is a jackass or asshole.  But now, I’m really starting to hear myself. I’m very critical of everyone and everything on TV even, making comments out loud to Me (since I live alone). Now I’m sick of myself! That’s why I actually Googled “I can’t stop being cynical”, and found your post!  I really do want to change my attitude. I think I’m fairly pleasant around other people, but it’s pretty bad when you can’t stand yourself!

  3. Joyce says:

    But, what if your world, or THE world really does suck? What if people who are supposed to love each other, including you, have just never followed through with their commitments? What if you care about the future of our country, and can’t see a viable candidate who represents your values? What if every job you’ve had required you to pander to someone unethical and immoral? What if you can’t believe any of the information you find in the media? What if the only way you see to get through life is to pretend that you believe and trust in people who have not earned it?

    I would love not to be as cynical as I am, but life has taught me that people say they love you, and then abandon you. Working, which I love, is always complicated by politics.

    And, efforts to improve myself, to be better, kinder, smarter, more understanding….and at times, more faithful to my religion…..haven’t made me feel any better able to have faith.

    I really have tried hard to be a better person, to trust more, to try harder, to be more optimistic… hopes that I could fulfill my destiny, whatever that is. But I’m almost 60, and find myself to be…..a cynical old lady, who no one could love….and I’m still trying to see myself as someone who can help, someone who is able to love, and someone who really does believe in humanity.
    It’s hard to believe all this, in spite of what the world has presented to me. But, I’ll still try.

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