HOPE WINS AND NOT CYNICISM
You never get to a better future without hope
Right from the beginning of our lives, we are taught to look at a glass with water and perceive it to be half full.
It is true that hope triumphs over cynicism. Life is not a bed of roses – there are thorns along the way – but we still move forward in life because we have hope for the future. In spite of the challenges and obstacles that life throws on us, we don’t give up – we face our fears, learn from our mistakes and make better decisions in the future. If we are pessimistic, we cannot proceed in life – we will be afraid of challenges and this will prevent us from reaching our goals.
All the successful men and women managed to scale great heights because of hope – they were not successful in their first try but they were confident of their abilities and had hope that one day, they will be shining stars. They then took risks in life and emerged victorious.
Since young, Walt Disney was passionate about drawing political caricatures and comic strips. However, getting a job was not easy for Walt Disney. He struggled to get a decent job and after years of hard work, he managed to rise high in his career. And today, Walt Disney’s corporation, known as The Walt Disney Company, has an annual revenue of Rs 2.7 trillion (US$45 billion).
It was hope that pushed Walt Disney to try harder in his career and reach his potential. If Walt Disney had become cynical during his unemployment days, he would not have become a business magnate later.
Mahatma Gandhi had hope that one day, India would be independent and free from the clutches of the British. It was this hope that pushed Mahatma Gandhi to tread the difficult and arduous path towards independence. If he had been pessimistic right from the beginning, India and many other countries would not be independent today.
Hope fills us with courage and determination to move forward and this helps us in improving not only our lives but the lives of people around us too.
Pessimism helps no one – it only makes us depressed and anxious. In history, there are no examples where cynicism has triumphed over hope. Winston Churchill once said, “The pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson
“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” – Laini Taylor
“Cynics are never curious. And the curious are never cynical”
“Cynics never change the world. They just tell you why the world won’t change”
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
- In studies, as tested to what extent these lay beliefs correspond to actual empirical associations between cynicism and competence, calculated based on the responses of about 200,000 individuals from 30 countries.
- An increasing number of people seem to endorse a cynical view of human nature. Secondary analyses of large-scale surveys showed young adults to be less trusting of each other and more cynical about institutions than ever before (Twenge, Campbell, & Carter, 2014) and even web searches including the word “cynicism” have more than doubled relative to the overall number of searches since 2004 (Google Correlate, 2017).
- Existing research has painted a rather gloomy, unflattering picture of cynical individuals. Holding a cynical view of human nature has been associated with bad health outcomes and increased mortality risks, lower psychological well-being, diminished self-esteem, and reduced economic well-being (Chen et al., 2016; Everson et al., 1997; Haukkala & Uutela, 2000; Smith, 1992; Stavrova & Ehlebracht, 2016).
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Cynicism and Hope are two sides of the same coin
At a time when we were supposed to be cynical, question everything happening around us, we didn’t. Panicking now isn’t the answer. As mentioned earlier, we were conditioned to look at a glass to be half full. Instead, we should have learned to look at it and say that glass has water and air in it (I’m a science student like many others).
Yes, things around us are bad, sometimes even horrible. The situation we are in is something similar to a neo-noir film or a TV show. When the early signs were obvious we didn’t notice. All we can do now is find some solutions for those issues while hoping for the best.
When we can’t prevent a situation, rather than crying over spilt milk, we need to find a cure.
Advantages of Hope
Positive psychology research has found many advantages of adopting a viewpoint. Below are some of them:
- Experience less distress than pessimists when dealing with difficulties in their lives. For example, they suffer much less anxiety and depression.
- Adapt better to negative events (including coronary artery bypass surgery, breast cancer, abortion, bone marrow transplantation and AIDS).
- Conducive to problem-focused coping, humour, making plans, positive reframing (putting the situation in the best possible light) and, when the situation is uncontrollable, to accepting the situation’s reality. They are capable of learning lessons from negative situations. Thus have a coping advantage over pessimists.
- Perhaps surprisingly, People with hope don’t tend to use denial, whilst pessimists often attempt to distance themselves from the problem. They are not simply people who stick their heads in the sand and ignore threats to their well-being. For example, they attend to health warnings and usually discover potentially serious problems earlier rather than later.
- People with hope exert more continuous effort and tend not to give up, possibly assuming that the situation can be handled successfully in one way or another. Pessimists, on the other hand, are far more likely to anticipate disaster – and, as a result, are more likely to give up.
- People with hope report more health-promoting behaviours (like eating a healthy diet or having regular medical check-ups) and enjoy better physical health than pessimists.
- People with hope seem to be more productive in the workplace.
- It’s not hard to guess that being hopeful brings about many benefits. For example, we know that hope buffers against interfering, self-deprecatory thoughts and negative emotions, and is critical for psychological health. In the domain of physical health, we know that people who are hopeful focus more on the prevention of diseases (e.g. through exercising).
- Athletes with higher levels of hope are more successful in their performance. Furthermore, based on research with college students, it appears that hope bears a substantial relationship to academic achievement
Disadvantages of Hope
- Sometimes being full of Hope at wrong times is also hardly desirable if, for example, a pilot is deciding whether a plane should take off during an ice storm.
- In the case of serious traumatic events (e.g. death, fire, flood ) may not be well prepared and their beautiful, rosy world may be shattered into pieces.
Advantages of Cynicism
- Cynics are usually powerless and unsuccessful in real life, by pretty much as any measure(wealth, friendship, artistic fulfilment.)Cynics are basically the people who got their ass kicked in the game of life, and instead of getting better, they announced that the game was stupid and they didn’t want to play anyway.
- Cynics are never surprised by bad news.
- You won’t get hurt.
Disadvantages of Cynicism
- People don’t like you and won’t be nice or do you favour, you will probably die lonely.
- There is great insight in cynicism but it costs a lot of solitude and anxiety.
- You’re never happy
- There is no goodness in negative energy! Cynicism serves no good purpose.
We cannot run away from difficulties – we have to face them head-on; so, why not make the most of the difficulties by finding opportunities for growth? Once you start thinking in this direction, you will be one step closer to reaching your goals.
Coming to the argument, Hope versus cynicism, I would say, realism. To survive the big bad world, we need to see heavy rain as a potential flood and not look for a silver lining in the dark clouds. And when we waited too long for the rain to stop, we need to find a way to stay safe rather than find a way to blame each other.
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Author – Mayuri Aher
Scrutiny – Riya Chandra