December 08, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

December 08, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai

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Can cynicism & Optimism coexist?

IIMs and top B schools have replaced GD with WAT which has been described as Written Ability Test or Academic Writing Test or Written Analysis Test (WAT )

But has become a tool to test MBA aspirant on assessing overall communication skills and personality hence,  it is also equally important and crucial component of MBA admission selection process.
 Develop points for discussion and read WAT topic
Can cynicism & Optimism coexist?

Cynicism and optimism seem to be opposite sides of the same coin, inclusion of one necessarily seems to exclude the other. While cynicism appears to have negative connotations, is an attitude that thrives on distrust, optimism appears to have positive connotations and is an attitude that thrives on a belief that everything is alright. On the face of it, cynicism and optimism cannot coexist together. And yet, they can.

Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others' integrity and motives, believing that humans are selfish by nature. It might border on pessimism sometimes but, largely, differs from pessimism. A pessimist is one who is consumed by negativity and this may result in despondency.

A cynic is susceptible to positive things. Since cynicism means a distrust of and being suspicious of others' motives and intentions, if we were to remove the cause of that distrust and suspicion, it may be possible to win over the cynic, and affirm his/ her faith in humanity. Such a situation, though difficult, is certainly not impossible to imagine. This proves that cynicism is not an absolute quality but is an evolving trait and can be turned into optimism.

Optimism, on the other hand, is characterized by hopefulness and confidence about the future or success of something. It thrives on positivity. An optimist would always think that people's intentions and motives are generally good and harmless.

Such a person will always choose to see the bright side of things despite all the negativity surrounding him/ her. However, optimism can border on the unreal as optimists may create a different world to escape the drudgery of the real world, and even turn a blind eye to the challenges and horrors of the world.

In today's world, cynicism seems to be the new optimism. Modern world is defined by selfish individuality and a complete disregard for others' feelings. The demanding lifestyles that people live today, running after money and success result in lack of genuine emotions, warmth and a general gap in communication. In such a scenario, there is no point being an optimist hoping that it will be reciprocated by others. For instance, the state of women security is bleak today. The women are forced to be cynical of others' action and develop an attitude of distrust, even against their wishes.

It is possible for cynicism and optimism to coexist in a person. A person may not trust the other person so easily but this will not stop him/ her from being full of optimism  about his/ her performance in the exams, or when he/ she is surrounded by the beauty of nature. Conversely, an optimist, who is otherwise full of life and always sees the positive side, may be cynical about a person, who has betrayed his/ her trust. 

Thus, cynicism and optimism are not fixed, mutually exclusive traits but can be found to coexist. Dominance of any of these traits affects the personality of a person.

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