Posted by: brandextenders | June 9, 2014

Are You Optimistically Cynical or Cynical Optimist?

That may sound like an oxymoronic headline, but it’s true. We’re all endowed with both optimism and cynicism, but usually one becomes dominant over the other as we mature. Do you always see the glass as half-empty? Are you like Lilly Tomlin who once said, “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”? Or maybe you feel like the comedian who noted, “I’m not cynical. I’m just experienced.”

If you see yourself in the comments above, then you probably won’t believe the study published in the most recent edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. That study shows people with high levels of cynical distrust were three times more likely to develop dementia than people with low levels of cynicism. Earlier studies have also shown that cynics have a higher rate of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular problems, cancer-related deaths, premature death and overall poorer health.

sad-happyShould that surprise us? It doesn’t take a big leap of faith for me to connect cynicism and negativity with poor health. Nor the opposite of better health being associated with optimistic people. Would you rather deal with an optimist or a cynic? While I’m certain there are some wealthy cynics, I suspect research would show that positive and upbeat people are much more likely to become wealthy and be happy with their work and lives.

It’s true the world we live in is a stressful place where cynicism can become an easy sedative to disengagement, but I have to believe optimism and a positive attitude will always trump the cynic. Cynics say, “Life sucks then you die”, but I prefer the quote from Winston Churchill, “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

The choice is yours


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