There is an old saying, “a cynic is what an idealist calls a realist”.
Peter Senge wrote, “Scratch the surface of most cynics and you find a frustrated idealist — someone who made the mistake of converting his ideals into expectations.”
Most of us start our businesses with high hopes and ideals of changing the world. I had dreams of ridding the world of dental diseases until someone said to me, “If you can’t get all doctors to stop smoking, what hope have you of getting everyone to floss?”
Once I had recovered from what I initially thought was an offensive comment, I soon realised that it is not only silly but a life shortening exercise, to want something for someone more than they want it themselves.
Once this simple life lesson had been inwardly digested and understood I was able to go back to being an idealist – but on my terms, nobody else’s.