When the Cynic Dies

Dear River,

Most of us were nervous, a little on edge. A few had moved across the country. All of us had heard the rumors, few believed them to be true.

At 9:00 am we nervously sat in black chairs in a gray room and awaited the inevitable  disappointment.

It was our first day of “onramping” at Infusionsoft – a quickly-growing software company in Arizona. We sat there as professionals. We had all been around block and we knew the gig. It was to be a week of mind numbing corporate jargon, disingenuous rallies to dedication, and lots of talk about hands, decks, and the urgent need for the deck to be filled with all the hands.

We were cynics. And rightfully so. You see, cynics are made, not born. Every one of us had real, painful stories of past employment.

Then, the unexpected – Our leader walked to the front of the room and beamed. Her smile, excitement, and energy swept in and filled the room. We were forced to ask ourselves: is this for real? Is she actually this excited?

She was.

It wasn’t long before real vulnerability surfaced as we detoxed from the abusive, cold, and despairing prior places of employment. Stories of aloof bosses, toxic cultures, and greed-masked-as-care quickly surfaced. We learned our strengths, laughed a lot, and some of us even shed a tear. It was all real.

On Thursday, the Infusionsoft “Dream Manager” spent an afternoon with us. Yes, Infusionsoft has a full-time person whose job description is to help employees achieve their dreams. Dreams consisted of purchasing rare classic cars, scaling mountains, and building global businesses. None of this felt manipulative and disingenuous.

It was an experience I will never forget. I feel I made true friends in that group of people. I am excited to go back to work on Monday and see them again. As I walked around Infusionsoft on Friday afternoon, it felt like I was surrounded by my family.

Why am I telling you this?

As we grow, we experience disappointments, lies, and we begin to feel more in tune with “reality.” We begin to understand that things aren’t what they seem and we often doubt authenticity and genuineness. This is called cynicism.

We think we see through everything, and in so doing, never actually see anything.

I have yet to see a shred of cynicism in you and I don’t expect to for a while. You look at the world around you and react appropriately: with wonder. You don’t “see through” it. Funny things make you laugh, good things make you happy, sad things make you cry, and scary things make you scared. Incredible.

Throughout your life, however, there will come moments when you need to put your cynic to death. You will go through seasons when the cynic in you is alive and well – perhaps after a painful betrayal. This is ok and natural. Don’t stay there, however. Always kick the cynic out. This isn’t a one-time thing. She will always ask to move back in. She is never satisfied with a small room and she will always push to take over the entire house.

River, always be in wonder. Practice the discipline of taking life at face value and never let the cynic make a home in your heart.



  1. I am guilty as well of being a cynic too often and it doesn’t get better as I get older. Although there are times when it is almost gone (this is not one of those times)

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