What do you think of cynicism?

Studies suggest that we often mistake cynicism as an indication of life experience and competency – eg. ‘Cynical people must have found out the hard way that it’s foolish to be optimistic and to trust others’.

However, studies (link below) show that…

📈 People who are willing to trust strangers tend to earn more.

📉 Cynical individuals tend to earn less – due to being poor at cooperation.

👎 Cynicism tends to reflect poor education – not more life experience.

😟 Cynical people have worse health outcomes and psychological well-being.

🤝 Intelligent people tend to pursue goals that go beyond self-interest.

In short, competent people tend to be adaptable and trusting – and only revert to cynicism when it seems warranted. Whereas indiscriminate cynicism is a coping strategy for people who lack the ability to be cognitively flexible.

In short, perhaps we should be compassionate towards people who are cynical…

But we should not mistake their cynicism for competency.