CNLP 210: Tony Morgan and Carey Nieuwhof on Why Leaders Grow Cynical and How to Combat What Appears to Be An Occupational Hazard

Tony Morgan is the founder of the Unstuck Group and he admits that cynicism has been a life long battle.

In this special episode, Tony interviews Carey for his show The Unstuck Group Podcast about why most leaders grow cynical, why most leaders keep defaulting to a cynical view of people and situations, and how to beat it.

Welcome to Episode 210 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Find yourself fighting cynicism, too?

My new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences can help.

Didn’t See It Coming tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

The good news is that if you’ve grown cynical you don’t need to stay a cynic. There’s hope, and there’s help.

Exclusive, Time-Limited Pre-Order Offers

You can pre-order your copy of Didn’t See It Coming now (hardcover, Kindle or AudioBook narrated by me).

For a limited time, you can get pre-order bonuses for anyone by ordering the book now, before release.

Everyone who preorders a copy gets:

  • Free access to Session One of my High Impact Leader Course (video and workbook…a $30 value)
  • 7 Lock screen graphics for your smartphone (a $10 value).
  • Access to an exclusive live webinar with my wife Toni and I on staying (happily) married while navigating life’s 7 greatest challenges (we’ll give you the honest back story to our leadership journey…you may find it familiar). (A $110 value.)

Order 10 copies or more and you’ll get all the above plus ONE of my courses for free. (An over $300 value.)

Order 100 copies or more and you’ll get all of the above and ALL my courses for free (an over $1100 value). (Seriously…100 copies? Well, many of the people who read the advance copies said they want to take their entire team/church through the book. So we’ve arranged bulk discounts AND bonuses.)

You can learn more and get your bonuses here.

3 Insights from this Episode

1. Cynicism starts because you know too much

One warning sign that you are a cynic is when you take your current knowledge of human nature and begin to project past failures onto future situations. The problem with gaining knowledge in your field is that overtime it’s going to either work for you or against you. When it works against you, you cling to negative experiences from your past and project them onto the future.

2. Insight is a gift, but not when it’s used to feel superior

God has placed the gift of insight in many of us. When we allow Him to be in control of that gift, He can work through us to make great change in people’s lives.

But the cynic takes that gift and turns it from descriptive to prescriptive – with a death sentence that snuffs out hope. A cynic lives for the reward of superiority.

-That I told you so moment.

-That I knew this would happen opportunity.

Insight is a gift if it helps, but it’s a curse if it hurts.

3. Cynics are never curious and the curious are never cynical

The ultimate antidote to cynicism is hope. Christians should be the least cynical people in the world because we know Jesus – nobody is better at hope than Jesus. Nothing is an antidote to cynicism like the gospel. Yet so many of us live in a cynical space where we don’t even believe in what we preach.

The more you cultivate curiosity, the less cynical you’ll become. It may sound trivial, but a curious person is always more hopeful. Embrace curiosity and an openness to learning, you’ll be more optimistic and far less cynical.

Quotes from This Episode

The podcast releases every Tuesday morning

Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, Craig Groeschel, Sue Miller, Kara Powell, Chuck Swindoll, Greg McKeown, Jon Acuff and many others.

Subscribe via

Apple Podcasts


Google Play



Appreciate This? Rate the Podcast.

Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! You can do the same on Stitcher and on TuneIn as well.

Your ratings and reviews help us place the podcast in front of new leaders and listeners. Your feedback also lets me know how I can better serve you.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Ann Voskamp & Carey Nieuwhof       

This week we flip the mic, as multiple New York Times best-selling author Ann Voskamp does an in depth and personal interview with Carey Nieuwhof. Ann talks to Carey about how law prepared him for ministry and life, how he does his strategic thinking, how he captures his ideas for content and books, and together they talk about the seven things Carey believes every leader needs to overcome to thrive.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 211.

CNLP 210: Tony Morgan and Carey Nieuwhof on Why Leaders Grow Cynical and How to Combat What Appears to Be An Occupational Hazard

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.