- For Leaders
- Why would we do something that's pointless?
Why would we do something that's pointless?
There’s no better excuse to stop trying than cynicism.
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Why would we do something that’s pointless?
The first time I fished with a fly, I quickly realized snagging a wiggler by the mouth was no picnic.
Complicated. Impossible. Pointless.
I let my brain process each thought until it landed on pointless. I found comfort in that one. Why would I do something that’s pointless?
There’s no better excuse to stop trying than cynicism. It’ll get you out of anything. It’s the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card, with no penance or confession required. You’re simply absolved.
Why work out if you’re going to die anyway? Why pay your bills if you’re going to die anyway? Why fall in love if the love of your life will die anyway?
You get it. All of the questions don’t have to be about death.
If you want to free up your calendar, convince yourself that everything on the schedule is pointless and not worth doing.
Sit back, relax — you’re home free. The only thing left to do is criticize others for the things they choose to care about and the goals they work hard to achieve.
Teddy Roosevelt warned us about the critics. They don’t count, he said. The arena is where meaning is found.
The cynic’s no better.
According to Teddy, tepid souls behave like they’ve outgrown emotions and beliefs. Then they join a vociferous choir to “deride or slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day.”
It’s easy to see how someone could get to such a place. At some point in our lives, we’ve all been told to stop caring, thinking, achieving, dreaming, or attempting to make a difference.
Besides, who among us could issue a clarion call to get us to strive for more sincerity and meaning in our lives? And how would we answer such a call?
The answer is awkwardly staring back at us through our screens.
Oh well, it was probably pointless to have even brought it up. Why would we do something that’s pointless?
"The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt.
There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes second to achievement.
A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority, but of weakness."
Teddy Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena
September 15th | 12:00 PM (MST)
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