Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Real success requires not putting a cynical 'slant' on life.

"There are no successful cynics. Think about it: Real success, any way society measures it—money, fame, happiness, family—cannot be achieved in the presence of cynicism...

... "Cynics love to put their finger on disease before they put it on health. It's the easy way to go. Play the blame game: 'I got screwed, that should've been mine.' They're all dead-end answers. For me, 'Just keep livin',' as a creed and a compass, is about making the evolving choice, the forward-moving, life-giving choice." ...

HERE'S A USEFUL EXERCISE: NAME SOME successful cynics. You can't. Look at some of the most successful people in the past 10 years: Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, the Google guys. They're not too cynical. George Clooney, Bono, Pixar's central creative team. They're about as genuine about their lives and work as you can get. Cynics don't become presidents of the United States. They don't become top CEOs, entrepreneurs, or researchers either.

Cynics are brambles, quicksand, and snot. They ply their drug one-on-one: Come on, et's sit here and be cynical together. It feels good to stay angry, to stay in one place forever. They specialize in what a friend of mine calls "the bitch spiral," which occurs when like-minded people get together and complain with such intensity that every slight against them becomes a gigantic conspiracy. They attack the successful under the banner of hypocrisy and injustice: "The Yankees' payroll is ruining baseball!" "The Goldman Sachs bonus system is ruining society!" "My boss is ruining my life!"

Here's the thing: Whatever you do, elite performance (which is the delivery vehicle for success) requires a sincere belief—in the cause, of course, but also in your own ability and the very system in which your performance happens. Cynicism cannot exist in the same space as sincere belief. Cynicism is not disbelief, but unbelief, a refusal.

That's why cynicism is so dangerous to the average guy. If you lose that sincere belief—at your job, in your relationship, as a son or sibling or parent, anywhere—you're worthless, no matter how talented you are....."

Mike Zimmerman

Excerpts from