On growing cynical and jaded

Many think that to be cynical is to just view things negatively. It’s not. It refers to the idea that people suck because they’re selfish.

Jaded means that you are tired. You find tasks that once excited you to be boring.

You probably know that many people become both.

They’ve failed.

Their work is viewed as humdrum, tedious, and bereft of appreciation.

I once had a boss tell me that he wanted to beat the idealism out of me. Now, he’s won. He was right. I’m beat.

Because lately, this is me.

Lately, I’ve failed.

Driving 10 to 15 hours a week, multiple weekly deadlines, haters, and busy colleagues with no patience for thoughtful conversation about the future of American democracy have left me feeling exhausted and uninspired.

And I’m angry about it.

What do I do?

Well, I start fighting: for what I know is right, for what I believe in, for my why.

I refuse to settle for a life without conviction.

I refuse to settle for a life without fierce idealism.

Step one: cleanse my life of news and anything that’s not invigorating. I don’t care if I don’t seem smart to my colleagues. It’s more important that I like myself. And my life.

Step two: recenter myself on my why. I’ve lost it because I’ve grown too focused on getting by. On my challenges. On my battles. On my failures. On what’s not good enough. On scarcity. On fear.

Step three: don’t settle for the status quo. I will speak up. I will make my truth obvious. I will act on that truth. I will readjust and take ownership of my immediate environment.

I will be okay if it’s eccentric.

Weird is expected.

Forget conformance.

Forget the career ladder.

Forget branding.

Forget thought-leadership.

I will just do what I believe is right for me.

I will retake ownership of my life.