Are you a cynic?
Paulo Coelho can help cure that condition. Coelho is the world-renowned author of “The Alchemist,” which is one of the best-selling novels in history and which holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author.
In a recent blog post, Coelho cites the OED definition of cynicism as “…a disposition to disbelieve in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions…” He goes on to briefly explore some of the causes of cynicism, then offers several pointers on how to counteract it.
Cynicism seems to be a contagious malady that is sweeping across our country. Where there was once hope, there is now despair. Where there was once trust, there is now suspicion if not outright aggression.
How can we battle this epidemic? The first step, Coelho instructs, is to recognize the problem.
We might ask ourselves if our hostility is the result of something external, or could it be rooted within? Are we responding with antipathy to alien forces imposed on us by some malicious other, or are we cultivating a stubborn emotional animus which leads us to immediately mistrust and retaliate?
Is our conflict inevitable and insoluble, or is it possible to work toward solutions and discover points of convergence if we approach one another with greater trust, compassion, and patience?
There are, of course, substantive and sensitive issues that confront our nation and divide us ideologically. But if we approach these issues with cynicism, then they will be far more difficult to navigate and negotiate.
“Make a definitive choice to be positive” is Coelho’s fourth pointer. If we can counteract the raging cynicism with an appeal for more positive and productive dialogue, then we can stem the course of this ailment, and we can emerge with a more healthy union.
To read Coelho’s 5 tips, click here or click on the image above.
Marc Erlbaum, Contributor