“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.” (Charles M. Schwab)
Enthusiasm is a fire that burns within me. When I stoke that fire I can accomplish great things, when I don’t I can find myself languishing and purposeless. Some things naturally excite my enthusiasm, for others I need to put my shoulder to the coal bin and shovel in the fuel to make the fire burn bright.
The word enthusiasm has its root in the Greek language, and refers to being inspired or possessed by a god, to be rapt or in ecstasy. Heady thoughts to be sure. By the etymology, when I am enthusiastic I am feeling possessed and happy, and I have found that to be true in my life.
For me the need for enthusiasm goes beyond just the fire that it gives to get the job done. Truth be told there are a lot of things I can accomplish without ever stoking my enthusiasm fire. When I do add in a healthy dose of enthusiasm, those things don’t get done appreciably faster, or with noticeably higher quality. But, when I am enthusiastic, I enjoy them more and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
I have written before about Friday Funday at work. Basically, each Friday I have a list of rather mundane items that I want to wrap up before the weekend. I keep a running list during the week on a pad next to my computer, then when I come in on Friday I attack the list and knock them off. I make something of a big deal about it with my team, and help to spark them into a Friday that has a bit of fun in it. The reason why Friday Funday works for me is only partly because I plow through the list. I have always been a list keeper and have been good at completing a list of things to do in a day. The bigger reason why Friday Funday works so well for me is right there in the name. By injecting more enthusiasm into the day, I have more fun completing otherwise uninspiring tasks.
When I am fired up with enthusiasm, I enjoy my life far more. Whether that enthusiasm is applied at work, at home, or socially with my friends, it always results in me ending the day with a smile on my face, and a spring in my step.
Some days I start with enthusiasm, then something comes along that tends to dowse the fire. Those are the days when I have to be most intentional about re-stoking that flame. It is on the days when the world conspires against my enthusiastic nature that I must remind myself – sometimes out loud – that I must be enthusiastic. I learned and taught in the Dale Carnegie class that I can increase my enthusiasm by simply repeating to myself that if “I act enthusiastic, I will be enthusiastic”. Usually a couple of minutes of saying this to myself will get the engines re-fired.
This week, because of the upcoming Easter Holiday, there is no Friday at work. To leave the week with the same spring in my step, I am going to have to pump it up on Thursday afternoon. I know that if I am successful in stoking that fire, I will get much accomplished, and end the week in a great mood!