During the holiday season, I had the happy experience of reconnecting with my two younger brothers and their families, for the first time in many years.
I love my brothers, however I find it difficult to have a positive conversation with them. One aspect is the fact is that they’re both in the military (my youngest brother is a Lt-Colonel in the Canadian Army, and the other is a headquarters staff Major in the Canadian Air Force). I started my career in the Air Force also, but left over ten years ago and things have changed a lot, so I no longer have much common ground.
The other barrier to conversation is that I am a solopreneur, which to them means that my take on life seems to be one from another planet. (more on that in a future post, I’m sure…)
I noted that a lot of the tone of the conversation between my brothers contained tinges of cynicism… picking faults with the bosses or the politicians or co-workers, all recounted with a smile and a knowing chuckle. It seemed that they were trying to show to each other that they were “in the know”, by pointing out the fallacies and failings of the “system”. Nobody can do anything right, there is always a silliness or inconsistency to point out. (At least my brothers were not picking on each other!)
A lot of this tone, I’m sure, is unconscious. Cynicism seems to permeate our society, starting with the media – not only the pundits, but also the commentators… I get quite the cynic’s vibe from the National Post or Global News (it seems to me that their commentary after every statement a politician makes can be summed up as “yeah, right”). (In the US, try Lou Dobbs on CNN or anything by Fox News…)
We are constantly immersed in a sea of cynicism. Cynicism tries to be witty, worldly, and wise but ends up being sour, sharp and… saddening.
Cynicism feels like a splinter that refuses to come out, not really showing on the outside but a constant irritant. It saps the energy from a conversation and leaves me feeling a bit emptier for the experience.
Being positive and upbeat seems no longer to be in style. Some would label a state of “excessive happiness” deserving of a vacation in a padded room. If I’m happy, I must be dissociated with reality, ’cause it’s a cold, hard world out there.
NO! I have all the cynicism I can handle. I want more positive conversation around me. Instead of talking politics, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of my nieces, or talk about what you experienced on your vacation, or, even more exciting and interesting to me, your dreams and plans for the future.
My conversation with my coach yesterday touched on this, what she calls the “memetic environment“: creating an environment of thought, energy and ideas that support me to move forward and create what I want.
Does this mean, for me, turning off the Daily Show? Maybe so (I find it starting to be too predictable). Unplugging from Global National News? And, especially in this Canadian Federal election season… staying away from TV, Radio and reading the opinion pages in the newspapers…
Instead, it means listening to more ad-free music (upbeat instrumental – I love satellite radio and internet radio!), and diving into the huge pile of positive CDs and MP3 teleconference recordings I have of Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, T. Harv Eker, and many others. Also, I can tune into the many teleconference calls, e-mail newsletters, blogs and websites by all kinds of positive and passionate people… all to surround myself with positive ideas and energy to create the results I really want…
Let’s stop the cynicism and make optimism hip again, okay? Positive people have a lot more fun!
See an interesting article about this in the Toronto Star of Jan 03, 2006 here
You’ve just got to get this powerful CD by Mike Litman called “Unleash Your Greatness!” (I listened to it again this morning… wow!)