Cynics & Skeptics
Looking back on the most recent article I wrote about the difference between happiness and satisfaction, I realized there was an inherent bias in my writing that I was unconscious of when I wrote it. This bias is apparently so deeply ingrained in me that I wasn't even aware of it until I had a chat with my coach! What I saw was that I simply assume that everyone is actively interested in and excited to create a satisfied life. Now, you might forgive me for this since I'm shepherding a book project about life satisfaction and it's been the focus of my attention for nearly a year now. ;) But, I got to thinking... what keeps people from engaging with this conversation that I'm so turned on about? What might be in the way for people in jumping in and committing to cultivating and experiencing deep satisfaction?
Well, I think there are two main positions someone may be coming from. One, they may be viewing the concept of life satisfaction from a place of cynicism. And I'm referring to the definition for cynicism as "doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it's worthwhile". And the thing about cynicism is that it breeds more cynicism. The very act of thinking that something is not possible or useful increases the likelihood that if one does actually give something a shot that they will not experience the desired outcome. So, that person gets to be proven "right" over and over, further entrenching the cynicism. And remember, I wouldn't be able to recognize this in others if I didn't sometimes dip into this state of being myself. :)
The other view someone might take is a skeptical one. I'm referring to the definition for skepticism as "not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations". In my view, this is a healthier state than cynicism. Why? Because when we're skeptical, we are at least "willing to want" to engage with something. As in, we are up for it, we're just not sure if it's right for us. Now this I can understand. Resonance, timing, appropriateness... these are all valid considerations and valuable inquiries.
So, here's my invitation to you. Take a look at the different areas of your life (career, health, intimacy, friends, finances) and ask yourself "What's my level of cynicism here? Am I actively doubting that I'll ever be truly satisfied in this area of my life or whether it's worth it to try anymore?". If you find your level of cynicism is higher than you want it to be, you have a choice. See, I looked up the antonyms for cynicism; words like belief, trust and faith. I'm asking you to choose belief in your innate, born-with capacity to be satisfied; to choose faith that you are reading this newsletter at this moment for a reason; to choose to trust both me and the material that I've spent 10 years living.
And, if you're skeptical, talk to me! You'll find very few people on the planet more passionate about empowering you and contributing to your deepest satisfaction.
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Seasonal Spotlight On
At Thanksgiving this year with my family, I asked each person at the table what they were most grateful for. The responses were surprising, sometimes emotional and always heart warming. Why not try on this practice each time you sit down to eat with someone/anyone? Let me know what you experience!!