Trading Cynicism for Happiness

Breaking 40-year-old habits for the sake of being happy

Daniel Fincher
6 min readApr 26, 2021


Photo by Houcine Ncib on Unsplash

A Google search for “giving up cynicism for happiness” comes back with just under 26 million results. I’ve given a lot of thought to my cynical nature, with echoes from adults telling me “You’re far too young to be so cynical,” when I was a child.

My wife and I were just talking this morning about that first $5 invested in a Medium subscription. We laughed, mostly at my naivete, but also at my earnings on Medium since that time.

To be clear, I decided a month or two in that Medium wasn’t going to be my payday. It could have been, and I’ll get into that, but the point right now is that most months didn’t cover the price of my subscription.

Back when first starting, this led to some frustration as I pondered on whether or not to stay a subscriber.

Yes, $5 was that serious at the time.

As I said, it didn’t take long being in that situation to decide that freelancing was a quicker avenue to money. And I was right. As a freelance copywriter, I quickly learned about the myriad of different ways to make money with my writing.

The writing, I knew how to do. It was making money for it that had me stumped. All I had to do, ultimately, was put myself out there. Maybe I would lowball myself, but not for long.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

But then, something happened. After I was making more money and had grown more confident as a writer, I thought back to why I had found success there and not on Medium.

After all, almost every client I’ve ever worked for has become a long-term relationship. I’m not bragging about myself, but trying to illustrate that quality isn’t the problem.

Medium as a Popularity Contest

In many ways, Medium is like a popularity contest. Sure, there are a few exceptions — mainly those fortunate people who showed up in 2018 and didn’t leave. But for the most part, Medium is a place where everyone is saying a lot of the same stuff, with the most popular voices rising up in terms of followers, reads/views, and of course, payments.



Daniel Fincher

Freelance Writer, Storyteller, and Poet — Founder of Artistic Autism and Five-Minute Fiction