How Cynical Are You?

Raj Chander

Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

George Bernard Shaw once said, "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." 

He makes a pretty good case for being a cynic. In a world full of boisterous political leaders making big claims, billion-dollar advertising campaigns designed to get consumers to open their wallets and social media sites spreading disinformation at an alarming rate, it's important to take things as they are and consider people's true motivations. When some of society's most notable figures are known for making up blood-testing methods and saying things like, "Let's just do it and be legends, man," it would seem that a healthy dose of cynicism could be in order.

But there's a high-profile counterargument to Shaw's take, one touted by historic figures like Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein: Optimism allows us to achieve our dreams and do things that society previously wouldn't have dreamed. After all, where would we be if the Wright brothers hadn't been optimistic about being able to fly, or if Edison decided to give up after failing to invent the light bulb on his first few attempts?

You'll hear pros and cons from both optimists and pessimists—which are you? Fill us in on these questions and we'll give you our verdict.

It's your first date with someone new! What's your approach?

You're at the office working normally when your boss calls you into an unexpected meeting. How do you feel?

The way we maintain our bodies says a lot about how we view the world. How do you feel about keeping in shape?

What is your marital status?

Sports is a unifying pastime - what's your view of them?

How frequently do you criticize things or highlight the negatives of a potential plan?

It's a brand new day and you've just woken up. What's the first thing you do in the morning?

How do you socialize with people?

Our visual preferences say a lot about us – what's your favorite color?

An excellent opportunity becomes available at work. How do you respond?

How often do you make donations to charity?

Your perspective on the future is a big indicator on your level of positivity. What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

In which of these cities would you most want to live?

You're walking down the street when a stranger approaches and explains he's down on his luck and needs some help. What's your response?

What was your attitude about attending college?

You're at a party or similar gathering, how do you approach interactions with people you don't know?

Your spouse or partner is complaining, which is annoying you – how do you handle it?

We are what we eat. How often do you visit a new restaurant to broaden your horizons?

Music is the rhythm of life! How often are you listening to new tunes?

You've been assigned a challenging project at work that is outside your area of expertise. How do you respond?

The weather can change our outlook – how does it impact you?

You get to work one morning and a colleague is in a bad mood. What do you do in response?

We wear our hearts on our sleeve, as the old saying goes. What kind of clothes are you most likely to be rocking?

You're at a family party and the DJ announces the dance floor is open. What's your next move?

If you could have your final message on your tombstone, what would it be?

Given one word to describe you, what would your friends choose?

What do you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?

Artists are famous in history and modern culture, but what's your take on fine art?

Smartphones, laptops and similar devices are advancing all the time. Do you like to get new technology as soon as it's out?

You've finally gotten some downtime from your busy work and social schedule – how are you spending it?

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