Getting enthusiasm is a little like learning to breathe.
Nobody can tell you exactly how to do it, but without it you’re in big trouble. No one but you can discover that compelling purpose or exciting goal that ignites enthusiasm inside you, but you can learn a great deal from noticing how others use it to get more done while savoring their life.
This is what I’ve learned from some real life experts on enthusiasm; what’s more, I’ve tested them in the laboratory of my own life.
"It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living." ~ Oliver Wendall Holmes
1. Enthusiasm is born on the inside
In the daily grind of life you can lose touch with what really matters. There are so many routine decisions to make, so many challenges to be met, and so many burdens to carry, that you may get dispirited and act out an unbecoming side in yourself. However, as you connect with the enthusiasm planted deep within you, you’ll feel it begin to grow and grow. Soon, you’ll be back on track.
Hint: It’s not the first mile of a long and arduous journey that gets to you — you’re excited about getting started. And it’s not the last mile — you’re thrilled about getting there.
The miles that can drag you down are the long and tedious ones in the middle where you can’t see where you are coming from or where you are going.
“None are so old as those who have out-lived enthusiasm.”~ Henry David Thoreau
2. Enthusiasm grows when you focus on opportunities, solutions and allies - not problems, circumstances and critics.
Life for you will always be as you choose to see it. Focus your attention on the problems and circumstances that surround you, or keep your eyes on the solutions and opportunities.
I read a story that illustrates this approach. Several farmers in Pennsylvania were sitting in a café, complaining about the increasing cost of electricity and the unpleasant task of disposing of all the waste their cows generated.
But the Waybright brothers and their brother-in-law, who run the Mason Dixon Farms near the town where I went to college, Gettysburg, decided to quit complaining about all the manure the cows were generating, and to do some generating of their own — electricity.
They built a power generator that runs on methane gas produced from heated manure from the 2,000 cows. Generating much of their own power, they cut their annual electricity bill from $30,000 to $15,000.
As you might guess, most of the other farmers laughed at the project and called it “Waybright’s folly” (and other even less flattering names). They were satisfied to see their problems and to seek out their Congressmen to complain about their miserable circumstances.
But no one’s laughing anymore.
In fact farmers and agriculture ministers from around the world beat a path to the Mason Dixon farms. Soon the Waybright brothers were selling some of their excess power to their once jeering neighbors.
Enthusiasm — with all the good things that go with it — comes when you turn your eyes from the problem or circumstance and focus on the solution and opportunity. Cash can buy, but it takes enthusiasm to sell – or otherwise sway or collaborate.
“Enthusiasm is the yeast that raises the dough.” ~ Paul J. Meyer
3. Enthusiasm thrives around positive people
Like smiling, enthusiasm is contagious. Worse yet, negativism and pessimism are far more contagious. It is always easier to believe the worst than to hope for the best — especially if you are struggling against overwhelming odds. It’s even worse when you’re tired, or have just suffered a severe setback.
Don’t waste your creative energies on people who are always putting you and your ideas down. Seek out positive, competent individuals where you can give each other candid feedback – and a boost. Enthusiasm is contagious. Unfortunately, so is the lack of it. .
4. Enthusiasm recharges itself on momentum
Jerry Reed’s popular song of many years ago is apt: “When you’re hot, you’re hot!”
William Shakespeare put similar sentiments into the mouth of Julius Caesar: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries.’”
Enthusiasm comes from the inside out, not vice versa. It’s when you feel most enthusiastic that you need to throw yourself into life’s biggest challenge. Celebrate your greatest victories by plunging into even greater challenges. Take full advantage of the momentum you gain with each hard-earned step.
Nothing feeds enthusiasm like success, and nothing can hold back enough enthusiasm.