Jaunuary 20. “Wake up with a smile and go after life… Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.” (Joe Knapp)
Yesterday I wrote on both of my blogs about the notion of Blue Monday, and how this is supposed to be the most bleak week of the year. I said that I wasn’t going to participate, and that instead I was going to take action. Today I am going to tell you a bit more about how I am creating my own attitude to battle the winter time blues.
Today’s quote is about enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is that spark within us that motivates us to do things, and to do them with greatness. Enthusiasm is the fuel of the fire of our passions. When enthusiasm is strong it burns white hot within is, until we can hardly contain ourselves. When our furnace is truly stoked with the fire of enthusiasm, we cannot help but act.
Think about it. Think about a time when you were really fired up to do something, and then you were told you had to sit and wait. Perhaps you couldn’t wait to get to an event, but the person who was picking you up was running late. Maybe it was a vacation you’d been planning for months, but the trip was still a few days off. Think about how you felt. You were antsy, you couldn’t sit still. You had to be up and moving around, maybe even pacing like a caged cat. That was your enthusiasm moving your body, it was pumping your adrenaline, and heightening your senses. Enthusiasm knows no patience, it only knows action. With enthusiasm, all things become possible. Without enthusiasm, no things are possible.
But, what if it is the bluest week of the year? What if all the Holiday decorations are stored, the bills are coming due, the weather is awful, and it is tax season? What then?
Sure, I can make lists of things to do. I can set goals for the year (eek, don’t call them resolutions). I can make a mental plan to take action, but then what? What if I find myself knowing what to do, but not wanting to do it?
That’s where enthusiasm comes in. But, you say you have no enthusiasm? You say that you don’t feel that fire burning? Then start the fire!
The truth is that we all have the spark within us, but sometimes we allow our lives to throw a blanket over the spark. It gets choked a bit, and hidden from view. It is starved of oxygen and kept from the fuel, but it is still there. It is on days like these that we need to give our enthusiasm a kick start.
When I was a Dale Carnegie instructor, one of the things we used to say was that “If you act enthusiastic, you will be enthusiastic.” One instructor I knew even modified it a bit to say “If you act enthusiastic, you will become enthusiastic.” I found, through hard evidence, that people who decided to be enthusiastic, and committed themselves to talking their way into enthusiasm, did indeed become enthusiastic. I saw people commit to enthusiasm for things at work, things at home, things in their social life. I saw them commit to enthusiasm for things they hated to do, and things they loved to do; things they wanted to do and things they had to do.
Try it. No, I am serious, try it.
Right now, think of something that you wish you had more spark for. Maybe it is a set of tasks at work, maybe it is getting to the gym, maybe it is that room in your house that always seems to need to be cleaned. Pick one, and talk yourself into being enthusiastic about it.
I am not talking about mental exercises here. I am actually telling you to get up, go stand in front of a mirror and TALK your way into enthusiasm. Start by saying, with great gusto “IF I ACT ENTHUSIASTIC, I WILL BE ENTHUSIASTIC.” Do that as many times as it takes, and as loud as it takes to start to feel like your heart rate is up, and that you are a little out of breath. Then, start telling yourself what you want to be more enthusiastic about. Keep it at that same fevered pitch. “I WILL GO TO THE GYM AND ROCK OUT A WORK OUT.” “I WILL ATTACK THAT TPS REPORT AND SHOW IT WHO IS BOSS.” “I WILL DIG TO THE BOTTOM OF THAT CLOSET AND FINALLY MAKE IT LOOK SHARP.” “I WILL TRACK EVERY BITE I TAKE TODAY”.
Whatever is your thing, chant it if you need to until you are fired up, then get to it.
A word of caution. If you live with loved ones, please warn them that you’re doing this so they don’t call those nice young men in the green and white coats. But don’t let them talk you out of it. If they try to ridicule you, just look them in the eye (I find that having a bit of a wild look helps), and tell them “I AM GOING TO DO THIS NOW, AND I AM GOING TO GET THINGS DONE.” They will likely take a figurative, or even literal step back, and then you can do your thing. Once you’ve fired yourself up, and completed whatever it was that you were psyching up for, they will see the results and maybe even join you next time.
Here is some good news. Once you do this a time or two, you will find that the fire of enthusiasm can often be self-sustaining. You won’t have to do this every day for long. At least not until you find something else to be enthusiastic about.
OK, you know what to do. What’s stopping you? Go kick some tail, and kick the wintertime blues out for good!