Todd Carnes Talks Leading In A Cynical World

August 1, 2018 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

The things people love can vary, from food to football to friends and family. But, according to Todd Carnes, this month’s breakfast speaker, everyone hates the same two things. “They hate change and they hate the way things are,” Carnes joked. The truth is cynicism is everywhere, and in this social media age, we cannot escape it. It can be daunting to step out when you know there are people who are just waiting for you to fail, however Carnes encouraged the room to “Lead courageously” in this cynical world.

First, Carnes advised, “As a leader, don’t try to convince the cynic.” It is a waste of time and energy to try and get the cynic to change his mind. He won’t do it. Instead, focus on those who believe in you, in your vision and your ideas. Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and leave the cynics behind. Carnes quoted Theodore Roosevelt who said,

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Second, Carnes encouraged the room to “embrace the inherit goodness of failure because failure has the patent on humility.” Failure is important. Don’t fear it. Embrace it. Fear of failure will cap your potential. Carnes said, “Until you’ve stretched yourself enough to fail, you have never figured out what your capacity is.” Don’t let cynicism keep you from taking great risks.

Third, relentlessly battle cynicism, in your own soul, in your home, in your company, in your community and in the world. “Cynicism,” Carnes said, “is like a flesh-eating bacteria.” It will eat you up if you let it, but according to Carnes there is a solution. “Hope is the antidote to cynicism,” Carnes advised. So sprinkle that stuff around like confetti and then go out and be the leader you were made to be.