How to conquer the cynic within?
By admin  ||  November 4, 2014  ||  Comments


Are you on a mission to become a self-reliant man? Are you doing everything to the best of your abilities to achieve your goals? Do you feel your faith and hope are attacked by despair? Do you experience a strong urge to leave everything behind and go back to what you were doing? Do you hear someone from inside telling, “You are good for nothing, why should you go for such troubles? What if you are not making money from this venture, who will support your family?” If you experience such a situation, you are under an internal cynic attack. Unless you conquer the cynic within, you will end up returning to your comfort zone. Recently, I experienced a severe cynic attack. Fortunately, I was able to conquer the cynic.

Three years ago, I left a well-paid consulting job to do my ideal job. It is to meet with luminaries from all walks of life and share their wisdom to the world through films. Irrespective of numerous challenges, my first film “Innovation: Where Creativity and Technology Meet.” was released on 19th of January, 2014. It was a wonderful experience to listen what people told about the film. Here is a snippet from the premiere.

Ottawa Business journal wrote about my experience:

After the premiere, I brought my attention to marketing. I am a member of many organizations with membership count varies from 1000 to 30,000. I was excited to request to the groups to buy the film. I was visualizing buying lots of toys for my kids, paying off debts and continuing with other projects. But in reality, a few people bought the film!

This film has participants from world’s 100 most influential people list to world’s best leadership thinkers, world-renowned professors, psychologists, and entrepreneurs whose success stories are taught in business schools all over the world. Though, I don’t have prior experience in filmmaking, the film has completed with the help of industry experts. I was surprised to see the poor response from the groups. I was not at fault until I watched an old film “The Things People Want.” This video helped me to understand where I went wrong in selling my film.

When I noticed many doors are closed in front of me, I felt there is no other way than going back to a 9 to 5 job. I believe with my educational background and work experience, it is easy to find a job. Surprisingly, I had received a job proposal from a consulting agency. When I looked at the statement of work, I had tears in my eyes.

A few years ago I said good-bye to this type of job and now I am looking for a similar job! I am going to apply for it, because I have to survive. My ideal job is not bringing bread to the family. This is when the cynic started to attack me more. You better apply for the job; otherwise you cannot take care of the family. You will end up in fiasco. This is the time I experienced a huge creative tension to go back to the old.

How will I come out of this difficult stage in my life? How will I protect my wife and children? How about my dreams to be a well-known filmmaker, a public speaker? One side, I want to take care of the family and on the other side, I am worried about the message I am conveying through my film!

Participant in my film says “never give up, be authentic, be truthful, monuments are not built for critics, don’t worry about the end result, focus on the process, if you surrender completely to the Divine, you cannot fail” and it goes on. Here is a short version of their advice. Here is a short video of such powerful message.

I know most of them had gone through big challenges before reaching where they are now. Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote told me his experience of a sleepless night just before closing his company.

Another entrepreneur was divorced for following his passion. The whole society asked him to go out of the village. After a few years, he is in the list of 100 most influential people. Today, Mr. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are mentoring him. After accomplishing his goal, this great man married his once divorced wife and living with a great mission of creating one million jobs for rural women in India. His name is Muruganatham Arunachalam from India. Here is Muruganatham sharing his amazing journey in his TED talk.

These are the types of men I interviewed for the film. These are the men and women who are ready to die for their ideals. I asked myself, if my film urges its viewers to die for their ideal job, how could I run away from my ideal job when I face challenges? How will I ask the world to do something if I am doing the opposite? It will be a ‘do what I say, but don’t do what I do.’ Approach. I decided to fight back with my cynic.
How to conquer the Cynic?

A few years ago I read this wonderful book “Call to Create” written by Lynda Schierse Leonard. In her book, Lynda explains the Cynic attack extremely well. Her suggestion is to conquer the Cynic within and let him collaborate with the Muse. I decided to seek help from my disguised Muse.

One evening, I was talking with my wife Priya. When I told her about the job proposal, she told, “I know you will not be happy in doing a 9 to 5 job. I never saw you working these many hours as you do after leaving the consulting job. The total hours you worked might be more than the total hours you worked as a consultant for many years. There are no weekends for you these days, but you don’t complaint about it. If you return to the 9 to 5 job, all that will start again. I would like to see you as a happy individual as you are now.” I knew, my Muse is sitting in front of me. As a housewife, she knows the danger of surviving without income for many years. But, this wonderful woman is solidly behind me! She is my Muse and I don’t need anything else to conquer the Cynic within and I did it.

The first step to win the Cynic is to bring back faith and hope. These two forces are integral part of any creative endeavor. The moment you feel despair is dominating, seek help from the Muse. In your case, it may be a good friend or partner or anyone who trust your abilities and find value in what you are doing. Keep in mind; many of them suggest you to return to the old. You need someone who can suggest better ways to manifest your goals.

Next step is perseverance. Every successful individual will tell perseverance is a critical ingredient for success. As long as you believe there is great value in your product or service, success is guaranteed. It is a fact that great achievements take time. You should be careful about slipping into stubbornness. There is a big difference in perseverance and stubbornness.

If you are stubborn, you will continue the same approach and expect good result. In my case, if I keep requesting people to buy the film, I will be disappointed. Perseverance is all about keep the end goal in mind and change the action plan creatively. I mean offer the product or service differently. For example, I am trying a different approach to market my film.

I am inviting collaborators who want to generate money to meet their goals. I am offering a good portion of the sale to them and they are happy to promote the film.

If you are on a mission to become a great man or a woman and if you want to leave a legacy behind, better conquer the Cynic within. Conquering the external cynics will be easier, but the cynic within will be a tough opponent. That’s why Buddha said

“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.”

Satheesh Gopalan
Satheesh Gopalan is a management consultant from Ottawa, Canada. He is the producer and director of the acclaimed documentary Innovation: Where Creativity and Technology Meet.

Satheesh holds a Masters degree in computer science, MBA and certifications in positive psychology, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. He is currently working on an interview series “Powers of the Mind” in which luminaries from all walks of life share their wisdom to help individuals to awaken their creative potential. Visit for more about Satheesh Gopalan and his works. The documentary Innovation: Where Creativity is available through Vimeo on Demand