Get High on Life With Enthusiasm

by Stephen Mills on June 26, 2009


“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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{ 2 trackbacks }

How to Become Super Awesome: Get Excited!
July 1, 2009 at 10:52 am
7 Attitudes For Success To Embrace | My Super-Charged Life
July 10, 2009 at 4:00 am

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Vin - NaturalBias June 26, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Great article, Stephen! I live for enthusiasm! If I don’t have some kind of goal to pursue and be enthusiastic about, I’m not happy. It’s all about the process, and I think that ties in to the small victories you mentioned.

Like you, I don’t watch sports too often, but that’s because I don’t watch TV often. Despite this, I do love sports, especially participating in them. Over the years I’ve watched and participated in many sports events and it’s obvious to me that even professional athletes often lack enthusiasm. Some of them are simply riding out their talent and going through the motions.

I think instant gratification has become such a big part of modern society that most people have become too mentally lazy to put a lot of thought into the meaning and direction of their lives. As a result, it’s easy to not have a clear sense of purpose, which I think is one of the strongest sources of enthusiasm that we can have.
.-= Vin – NaturalBias´s last blog ..Beer vs Soda: Which is Worse? =-.


Writer Dad June 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I almost never watch sports, but my enthusiasm rarely dims.
.-= Writer Dad´s last blog ..6 Rules For Remarkable Marital Communication =-.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills June 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

There’s a lot to think about here Stephen! I found myself looking for places to insert added enthusiasm into life’s normal activities as I read along. I have a friend who has a passion for almost everything. That includes work and play, and everything in between. He brings enthusiasm with him everywhere he goes and it is absolutely contagious. This is truly an important aspect of a meaningful and enjoyable life, thanks for addressing it.
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Just For Fun! =-.


Robin Easton June 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

My full name is Robin E. Easton. Robin Enthusiasm Easton!! LOL!!! My husband tells me that I live life on volume ten. In other words, with “full on”enthusiasm for everything. It’s true I do. It just seems I put my full heart and soul into everything I do. If I’m going to do it or I HAVE to do it then I am going to find a way to enjoy it. Sometimes I sense I’m a bit too much for people. LOL!! But I still don’t let that stop me, in fact I’m old enough now to laugh at myself and have compassion for others, but I don’t “tame down” myself anymore for anyone. I’ve learned it doesn’t help anyone when we do that. As enthusiastic as I am, I’m not a hyper person, I’m actually a very relaxed person. I’m just FILLED with a love of life. I feel like a kid, as if every day is the most astounding miracle and each day is new to me all over again. I can’t get enough of living. I never will.
.-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..Goofy, Wacky and Happy! …Are You? =-.


Dragos Roua June 27, 2009 at 2:43 am

Several years ago I wrote something about how soccer replaced and transmuted our human instinct for fight. It seems we still need to stimulate our competition centers and we do it in modern rituals where enthusiasm is one of the key ingredients.

But, as you say, not only sports can trigger enthusiasm, there are a lot of other insertion points for this state in our lives. I usually get enthusiastic each time I have to embrace something I don’t know yet. Being it traveling to a distant country or learning something for the first time.

That was a great post, and I enjoyed Rocky Balboa video, that movie series really touched my teenage years 😉
.-= Dragos Roua´s last blog ..Amazon Kindle 2 Review =-.


Oscar - freestyle mind June 27, 2009 at 2:47 am

As you said, being enthusiastic is a decision, and one of the best an individual can do to improve his life. Doing things with enthusiasm is ten times better than doing them without enthusiasm, and they are usually easier to accomplish. Thanks for the great article.
.-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..Becoming a better writer update =-.


Stephen Mills June 27, 2009 at 6:31 am

@Vin, thanks a bunch and I agree. Having a purpose gives you something to get enthusiastic about.

@Writer Dad, I knew you were enthusiastic. It comes through in your writing.

@Jonathan, as usual thanks for you support! As I was writing this I was thinking the same thing – how many places I could add some enthusiasm.

@Dragos, I think sports are the modern replacement for tribal warfare. I like to think we can be enthusiastic about something else though! Thanks for your support.

@Oscar, thanks for joining us here. Great to have you aboard!

@Robin, I can agree with your middle name 🙂 It comes through all the time! Thanks for stopping by to check in.


Karen June 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Such an interesting observation that sports seems to be the only area where our society has consistent enthusiasm. I’m not a big sports fan, but I’ve recognized even the most negative, boring guys can get all silly and excited over their favorite team winning! Great article… it’s such a good reminder to make enthusiasm a priority! I’m forced to be upbeat and enthusiastic at my job sometimes (I work at a restaurant), even when I don’t feel like it, and it’s amazing how just forcing yourself to behave that way really does change your mood.
.-= Karen´s last blog ..What are your two wishes? =-.


Laurie | Express Yourself to Success June 27, 2009 at 9:58 pm

“Make a commitment to yourself that you will get enthusiastic about small things just as much if not more than big things.”

This is a great suggestion. We’re always waiting for the big win but in order to get it, there are dozens of small ones along the way. Being enthusiastic during the journey makes it a lot more fun and rewarding.

Great post!
.-= Laurie | Express Yourself to Success´s last blog ..Leadership Communication During Uncertain Times =-.


Bakari June 29, 2009 at 9:43 pm

When I lose enthusiasm for an outcome that I want to become a reality I like to visualize myself being outrageously successful in relation to that goal. It re-energizes me and makes me want to continue.
.-= Bakari´s last blog ..Success as an Unconscious Process: Level 2 and Revisiting “Blink” =-.


Alex - unleash reality July 1, 2009 at 10:50 am


finally found the said enthusiasm article of glory 🙂

really like the practical step-for-step actionable side of it.

linked to it from my latest post.


keep well stephen
alex – unleash reality
.-= Alex – unleash reality´s last blog ..How to Become Super Awesome: Get Excited! =-.


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