I have been called both cynical and naïve – often by the same person. I agree. How can that be? I think that not only is it important to have a good balance of naïvety and cynicism – it is a must.
Okay, naïve may not be the right term – I’m not really talking about a lack of knowledge but more a childlike sense of wonder and innocence.
One should consistently view the world with that sense of wonder. Whether you are riding a bike on a country path and enjoying the majesty of your surroundings or strolling in the shopping mall and letting the immense technology, invention, design and intelligence it took to create everything around you, it is good to be impressed by these things.
Being amazed at a mosaic of leaves on the ground or neon lights during a night drive can be considered childish but that misses the benefit. Not only does this build a sense of gratitude, but that is crucial in keeping you happy.
So what about cynicism? Again, it may be a bit more dramatic word than is required but at the very least, you need to be skeptical. To be cynical is basically thinking that at the very least someone’s motivation could be selfish.
I am not saying that you should view everyone with distrust. But certainly you shouldn’t believe everything you hear.
I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt… sometimes much longer than I should. But, as President Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, “trust by verify.” I am saying simply to check on things. When you see a story on Facebook, don’t just take it at face value. Check the sources.