I’m a very positive person, but sometimes I think that the positive outlook could be viewed as naive. I’d hate to think that I’m gullible.
I was reading a column by Richard Glover in which he explores the idea that we have become a population of cynics. Have we really begun to see a conspiracy in everything?
He writes ‘the moon landing was faked, the final of MasterChef was rigged, and the British backpacker missing in the Blue Mountains only pretended to be missing for 12 days.’
‘Is cynicism the defining characteristic of our age?’ he asks.
As a young girl, my father told me the story of “The boy who cried wolf “(over and over again). Growing up I was always one for dramatics and never let the facts get in the way of a good story. If you tell a story over and over again that is not true, in the end, no one will believe you when you really do have something worth saying.
This is relevant not just for the media (who as Glover points out now often pay for stories, therefore, we have begun to think that a story might, in fact, be manufactured for entertainment’s sake) but for politicians, business leaders and union officials as well.
Perhaps there is a broader cynicism towards authority as a whole.
We want to believe that the actions our politicians are taking is in the best interests of us all. That they have our best interests at heart, we have our doubts. It might not be true. What if we believe it and then we discover it was a hoax, we are then the one’s left looking naive and gullible.
Is this not also the case with many organisations. Leadership has delivered too many messages that simply have not been fulfilled upon, so everyone begins to hedge their bets, hang back, not get fully involved with the given initiative, just in case ‘it is not going to work’. People take a cynical, ‘wait and see’ attitude rather than throwing themselves behind the program.
According to Gallup, 64% of Australians are not engaged – that means that they have effectively ‘checked out’, they are putting in time – but no emotional effort at work.
It takes consistently great leadership to build trust. Those organisations that already do this are the ones that deliver results. Organisations will focus on building trust because of the greater commercial return. The question is will other leaders in the community do the same, politicians, media. It will be a long time before we ‘believe’ again. We now have our own media – Twitter is the greatest (and global) indicator of ‘the peoples’ pulse.
This will be a long road – to move from cynicism to just scepticism. And it is healthy to challenge and question what we are told so we don’t look gullible.
What makes you cynical?
For more thoughts: