People often describe me as energetic. I think of myself as pretty upbeat. Often, as a speaker who motivates people, it’s what I’m getting paid to be. But it’s a good fit, because I tend to be optimistic. I also am a realist. I don’t think I can accomplish anything I set my mind to and I’m not sure you can either. There are some very real limits and hurdles that won’t be overcome. But overall, I am a positive person.
Yet when I read all the upbeat, cheery, inspirational, positive postings on the internet, I start thinking that these people are either self-absorbed, not all that bright, or perhaps both. The more they post those claims that all you have to do is work hard, believe, have faith, or keep at it, the more cynical and dubious I feel.
In the real world where I walk around (as opposed to the world of social media) however, I meet a lot of cynics and not so many Pollyannas (the girl who was always on the lookout for the good in a person, thereby transforming them and the world). Perhaps people are writing the motivational stuff to disguise how they really think.
Maybe people become more upbeat when they are surrounded by cynics, and maybe cynics come out in droves when they are surrounded by too many overly cheerful optimists.
The truth is that no one can make any one do something and no one can make someone else feel differently than they do – and that includes feeling upbeat, cheery, or optimistic. It may actually be that the more you try and flaunt your feelings (pessimist or optimist) the more you drive the opposing viewpoint into digging their heels in and becoming MORE of the opposite – or whatever they are.
A suggestion: be happy or cynical, upbeat or skeptical, cheerful or suspicious and don’t announce it to the world. The rest of us will figure out where you stand pretty quickly.