“First, look for opportunities to say, ‘Count me in,’ and ‘Hey, I’ll play!’ Look for a chance to make a fool of yourself. Don’t be afraid to lose face and fail at something. Don’t reject the idea of coming across as a human being. Jump in. Play. Fall down. Get up. Play harder. Come home with a dirty face and sweat on your neck. Take a bath. And sleep.” –Steve Chandler
Who doesn’t like being around enthusiastic people? Enthusiasm is contagious. Adding enthusiasm to something is like adding fuel to a fire.
Note from Stephen: There is a lot of sports talk early in this article. Sorry if you don’t watch sports and actually I don’t much either anymore. Is that the only place where people seem to be consistently enthusiastic in modern culture?
Dick Vitale loves basketball. His enthusiasm is contagious. Sometimes he may be over the top, but even the people who claim they don’t like him would choose him over a dry and boring commentary. Remember Jimmy Valvano when his NC State team were in the 1983 championship game? Talk about contagious enthusiasm!
Think about a basketball game and how the “momentum” changes when the crowd gets into it big time. The enthusiasm transfers from the crowd to the players and something big happens. The fuel has been added and the energy level and creativity go way up. The same thing applies to you as an individual on a daily basis. You can be your own crowd and your own cheerleading squad. You can infuse your own body with that magical elixir.
“In adulthood, enthusiasm is a choice. It is the decision to say yes to life. This doesn’t mean suddenly being a little child again and becoming indiscriminately excited about everything. In adulthood, being chronically excited can prevent us from experiencing vitality rather than enjoying it’s benefits.” –Anat Baniel
One of the big differences between those who seem to get lucky and achieve the seemingly impossible and those who don’t is enthusiasm.
If you don’t want to do something and you think about not wanting to do it and you have to drag yourself through it and you make it a chore, what is the experience of doing it going to be like? You are going to be miserable and drained.
“Lack of enthusiasm can be learned and can become a habit. Enthusiasm is such a necessary part of human life that when we lose it, or we simply lack the skills to generate it, we not only drain ourselves, but also become a drain on others. The vitality and magic of life vanishes.” –Anat Baniel
Being enthusiastic about what you are doing will increase your experience in a really good way. It increases your vitality. You will go about your life with energy and you’ll feel good about what you are doing, no matter what it is.
When you are struggling with something, celebrate and get excited about small victories and tiny progress or improvements. That will generate enthusiasm about what you are doing and it will do something even more important. It will tell your brain that what you are doing is very important. The increased emotion and enthusiasm will make the changes in your brain, i.e. what you have just learned, stronger. All of this makes more success in the same area even more likely. It’s a self-reinforcing upward spiral.
If you are exercising, for example, you will make faster progress if you are enthusiastic about your improvements. Our brains will focus on what we tell them is important. Our brains respond to our enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm and negativity spread out from you like a contagious disease. Imagine the difference, and it’s not hard to imagine, in your children depending upon whether you nag them to death or enthusiastically support their positives? Imagine the difference in your spouse?
Remember the Rocky Movie? Remember him running through the streets and up the steps? This isn’t the scene that I wanted but you get the song at least. Just imagine the scene, there are a few clips.
Ways to Develop Your Enthusiasm
- Make a commitment to the importance of enthusiasm in human thriving.
- Make a commitment to yourself that you will get enthusiastic about small things just as much if not more than big things.
- When you are exercising or doing anything in which you are trying to improve, look for and take note of small improvements (even tiny changes) and celebrate them. Be thrilled and excited by them.
- Whenever you find your energy draining out or you are becoming negative, make it a point to find something to become enthusiastic about.
- Get excited about solving problems, especially problems that normally cause the life to drain out of you.
- Get enthusiastic about the success of those around you – your friends, family, or colleagues. Get excited about the success of anyone!
- Sing. A little trick I’ve learned when I’m driving and start to get irritated is to sing some upbeat song. It’s much better than listening to one. Something about you actually singing it yourself makes it impossible to be upset.
“Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage, rage against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas
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