Cynic

The natural expression of Cynic focuses on not repeating any past mistakes. By making the assumption that deductive, analytical processes can keep us from making mistakes in our implementation, we spend most of our time refining our idea about how to make things work. While we are versatile, we are also methodically resourceful, developing a complex understanding of the situation. Our desire to understand the deeper problems develops an awareness of the most likely things to go wrong, which we can turn into rules or assumptions that we can use to invalidate any proposal. Usually we can see immediately what is missing which, when embraced by a partner, can bridge the gap so that we can move forward together. At least one cynic is extremely useful in any organization.

The Cynic attitude reveals an attachment to the past to the exclusion of the present. Cynics can be identified by a strong pessimism and a belief that things will not work out no matter what happens. The positive side of Cynics is that we accept problems as normal and thereby are very useful in difficult business situations or negotiations. We are often contradictory in all sides of a debate, but can provide constructive criticism if guided appropriately. Unfortunately, we usually have bad timing when we reveal their opinions, creating greater polarization and distance. Cynics tend to say “It Probably Isn’t” or “It won’t work out, no matter what it is.” Because of our obsession with the negative, we tend to be self-blocking in allowing ourselves the relationships, experiences, and accomplishments we want. The positive side is that in difficult situations, we accept problems as normal.

They believe “it probably is not going to or will not work out” – no matter what “it” is – because they distrust the other’s assumptions as being naïve and self-serving. While it might appear that they are self-negating when it comes to affirming what is possible, from their perspective it is discrimination that allows them to implement only those things that they absolutely know are right. Cynics have the busiest minds for they are always checking or double-checking what is working versus what they believe will not work. This means that Cynics can simultaneously explore options and analyze and quantify each option on its own merits.

This type of matrix thinking is called concatenation, where changing one variable allows them to predict its long-term positive or negative effects. The problems they are confronting are usually ones that have stumped others before. They are particularly useful in business negotiations where they have the great gift of being able to anticipate and plan for negative contingencies. This type of individual is highly deductive and strong in thinking tactically. They possess the ability to sequence things around them so everyone immediately knows when something is out of order. They can separate what is important from what is not and focus on those things that are the most critical. When they have logically come to a conclusion that someone’s suggestion will not work, it is because they have compared the reasoning process of others to their internally pre-defined acceptable reasoning chains and found the conclusion to be invalid. They are seen by others typically as difficult, but brilliant, eclectic and penetrating in their analysis. This is because they are spatially selective, both creative and calculating in their mental processes.

Despite appearances, they are trying to get things to work out, but the complexity that Cynics demonstrate is often overwhelming to others who do not have the ability to recreate intricate patterns within their own minds. Cynics are primarily examining many simultaneous combinations and permutations to select one possible solution out of many. They focus on qualifying each possible answer by the probable result anticipated. They often take an opposite view to help others clarify what they seek. They hate disappointment and want to protect others from it. Key strengths of Cynics are their creative ways of looking at problems, their ability to generalize the somewhat highly abstract issues behind a problem, their highly capable verbal skills, and their ability to prioritize how and what they say for true depth. They love it when someone provides a different type of argument than they were expecting. Cynics are not particularly great in the initial part of the brain-storming process because they tend to be overly pessimistic and end up shooting down every idea, but they are very useful in the final round of idea formulation. It is often useful to have one Cynic in every organization to see what is not being understood by a group. Approximately 5% of the world’s population is a natural Cynic.

Identifying: It is paradoxical that with all this complexity, at the core, Cynics are actually very simple in their nature. They can be identified by their ease with contradiction and constructive criticism, typically challenging commonly held beliefs. Cynics have a naturally negative point of view, a sometimes jaded manner, and a lack of passion and/or interest in proving themselves.

Primary Focus—This is a self defense attitude for individuals who have difficult lessons to handle (such as abusive parents) and want it to be possible to get through them.
Responsive Characteristics—Contradiction, seeing the other side, constructive criticism, questions commonly held beliefs, apprehensive, willing to accept the worst, not naive or easily fooled, not easily disappointed (opposite to Idealist).
Primary Fear—disappointment (avoids it at all costs).
Reactive Characteristics— Denigration, defamation, bad-mouthing, putting down, rejecting, sarcasm, not able to listen to other attitudes, refusing to see the brighter side, or thinking there is no possibility of improvement.
Percent of the population operating from this Attitude: 5%.
How to recognize a person with this Attitude: Most negative attitude, frown lines. Sometimes we look jaded, as if we have seen everything and do not believe anymore.
Examples: Christopher Walken, James Dean, J. Edgar Hoover, Lee Marvin, Bette Davis, George Carlin, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bernhard

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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