What is Your Spirit Animal?

By Chris Cunningham
Local Outreach Coordinator 

A lone wolf standing in the snowy woods

A few weeks ago, a group of my friends and I were joking about spirit animals. We went around the room deciding which animal fit each of our personalities the best.

When my turn came up, one of our friends blurted out, “Chris’ spirit animal is the cynical lone wolf!”

Looking back, I’m wondering if he set the spirit animal game up because he seemed like he had been waiting to let that one out.

He’s right, though. I tend to be the critic in most situations, always analyzing every movie looking for plot holes and carefully listening to every new album so I can tell everyone what’s wrong with their favorite rapper, singer or songwriter.

I bring all this up because I don’t think I’m alone. Many millennials share my cynical outlook on life, always questioning and always challenging the established tradition in any scenario.

Asking questions isn’t bad. Sometimes, mindlessly following the crowd or keeping the status quo can end in deadly results. But, living with a cynical worldview can be just as deadly.

This Thanksgiving season, I’ve started to realize how often my default response can lean toward bitterness or cynicism, which tends to rob me of any contentment or gratitude.

There will always be something to critique. Everything is flawed. Nothing is perfect.

In “Birdman,” Mike Shiner (played by Ed Norton) says, “A man becomes a critic when he cannot be an artist.” All art is, at its core, a genuine expression of the human experience. Personally, I’ve found that my best work comes from a place of deep thankfulness.

If I could I’d tweak Mike Shiner’s words just a little, I would say, “A man becomes a critic when he stops being thankful.”

This Thanksgiving, I want to be more content with what I have, because I’ve been given so much. I’m writing this from behind a desk, sitting in my warm office, drinking coffee, far removed from danger or harm.

Outside of material things, I have a wife who loves me and friends who would give anything to show us they care about us.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

This Thanksgiving, blog authors from around Grand Canyon University are writing about what they are thankful for. To learn more about our university and core Christian values, contact us today.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.