Creating for Others in a World of Cynicism

Cynicism can be described as a general lack of trust or belief in those inspired by ambition. 

As described in another blog post, Keeping up with Your Ambitions, deep work needs to be involved to achieve them in an elite way. Those with ambitions desire to accomplish something through hard work. With growing initiatives in each individual, new tasks must evolve with technology and our continued screen-focused world. How we produce work needs to be modified with our ever-changing environments.

“The resonance of printed books – their lineal structure, the demands they make on our attention – touches every corner of the world we’ve inherited. But online life makes me into a different kind of reader – a cynical one. I scrounge, now, for the useful fact; I zero in on the shareable link. My attention – and thus my experience – fractures.”

– Michael Harris

In his article “I Have Forgotten How to Read,” Harris talks about how reading in a screen style setting has affected the way he takes in the information. However, different generations can adapt contrastingly to others, which means that younger generations are typically willing and able to take in information from a screen. 

This goes hand in hand with the way we produce work. 

I used to draw and paint using 2D methods with a pencil or paintbrush to put things into perspective. Using the physical technique directly onto a piece of paper or canvas is original to me; however, I haven’t used this form of generating work in years. I’ve adapted to using computer-aided systems in making art. This doesn’t mean I should stop creating in my original form; it just states that I have moved onto another way of creation which works better for my audience. 

In addition to my change in the way I develop art, I’ve altered my work quantity depending on media situations and trends. Meaning I may make more or less art depending on circumstances like societal changes.

Harris’s interesting comparison is that online algorithms tend to generate unwanted content, referred to as “garbage,” where creators and their content is similar in the aspect that ideas are generated quickly and sometimes unnecessarily. “Beauty in, beauty out,” he said. This analogy is with a cynical mindset.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for creating while cynicism is involved.


  • Understand that the world is changing, and not everyone adapts with it. You’re creating for an audience, and in doing so, your audience may change over time. This is not a bad thing; learn to adapt with the change and continue to create for your audience.
  • Learn what your audience needs. Depending on notions like societal changes, cultural context, author history, can change what your audience is looking for. Continue to identify what their needs are in these aspects.
  • Remember what deep work is and how to eliminate distractions. Focus on your deliberate practice by continuing to develop your skills and keep attention where it’s most productive. Remove yourself from distractions that will prevent you from doing this.


  • Use social proof as a means for manipulating your media. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson in his article, “How to Remember What You Read,” social proof is identified with opinions of audiences and media. It can be manipulated by the creator to make a piece of work more known. Creators may have access to buy their way into producing a popular project – recognize this and be authentic in your own way.
  • Believe your content is garbage. It’s not for everyone. “Beauty in, beauty out” is an excellent way to reference your work when creating according to the times and trends. The relevance of what’s made may not always be there, but the value behind what you make leads to more successful creations.
  • Stop creating. Grow from what you learn from each piece of work. Make a list of projects you want to do, and give yourself a timeline, while focusing on one task at a time. This will help you become the best in your field.

To sum up, creating work in a world of cynicism is in the will to adapt.

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