The old cynic was right. Up to a point.
Shock horror: competitions on the BBC and other national media are rigged!
I was born in the 1960s. My earliest memories are from the 1960s. And they include wanting to enter my answers in national competitions (many of which were trivially easy, just as they are today). My father, the old cynic[1,2], explained that such competitions were rigged, and I as an outsider would never stand a chance. The explanation made sense, and I’ve gone through life shunning all such things. This feels like a “told you so” moment for what I learned as a very small child.
So I’ve spent a lifetime not being conned in such trivial matters (or, very rarely, being self-consciously and awkwardly silly). But what else? Being cynical is not such a blessing when it equates with being risk-averse and lacking the self-confidence to “go for it” in so many matters.
 He complained of being an old man, even back then.
 Actually, thinking about it, it could have been my mother. Or more likely both of them. Writing about it makes me suddenly unsure.