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Skepticism? Cynicism? There’s a difference?

Yup. There sure is. Ready for this?

Skepticism and cynicism are two separate and very different philosophical schools of thought. Both seem to have a bit of a negative connotation, but that’s a superficial way of looking at each.

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Skeptics are questioners and thinkers. They may come off as having an attitude of doubt, but this can be relatively healthy when that skepticism leads to digging deeper to find out the truth about just about anything. The truth isn’t always a joy ride, but knowing the facts now can save a lot of pain and wasted time later. And sometimes, it can surprise you and be better than you expected.

Cynics tend to believe all people are selfish, self-interested, and generally act with dishonorable intentions. That’s a pretty nutso way to approach life.

The main difference? Cynics doubt others and leave little to no room for change in their thought processes. Cynics aren’t seeking facts; they’re seeking more reasons to be angry at the world. Skeptics use their doubt to seek truth and are open to change when presented with additional facts.

Cynics are negative. Skeptics are reserved.

In a world full of cynics, try to be an open-minded skeptic. You may or may not change your mind, but you’ll be happier in knowing you were open to learning new things and hearing new ideas. When you open your mind to the possibilities, you often find yourself headed in a whole new direction, on an adventure of sorts. Skepticism will lead you to question everything, and learn more about the beauty of the world, but cynicism will keep you stuck on a dark path fueled by doubt.