Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 21, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 21, 2004 – It’s hard to think of anything more appealing than genuine enthusiasm. Not the manufactured, syrupy version that is evident in many people – but the real “from the heart” brand that shines through in a person who is excited, happy and involved with life.
It’s something beyond a positive mental attitude – real enthusiasm, radiates from the inside out from those fortunate people who have it. I think it has a spirit of its own. Are people born with enthusiasm? Are they the children of moms who only had a two hour labour – babies who just couldn’t wait to get going in life? If that’s the case, I should be full of it – I was almost born in an elevator on the way to the delivery room at five in the morning.
Is enthusiasm a learned skill? Can it be taught in school? Is it genetic? Can you get it at any age? Is it related to passion? Is it the same thing as passion? People are usually enthusiastic about something for which they have passion. Can you be passionate without being enthusiastic? Are extremely successful people enthusiastic? Can you be enthusiastic about something you find difficult to do? Is there a store that sells it?
I know that I’d like to have some – heck – I’d like to have a lot of this elusive potion. I’ve had experience with enthusiasm during my lifetime. I’ve been exuberant about new jobs, a career move, a new home or car, the start of a romantic relationship, the 101 new plans for my life that I’ve started over the years, new work-out programs, the purchase of an item that I’ve wanted to have, a friend’s success in pursuing a goal, volunteer programs in which I’ve been involved, home renovation projects and countless other things.
What I find interesting is the alacrity with which the enthusiasm fades. The new kitchen soon becomes old hat, the new car gets its first dent or stone nick, the work-out program takes a back seat to other more pressing matters, the new boyfriend has a flaw or two. Now all of a sudden that wild burst of energy that propelled me forward – onward – upward has lost its hurricane velocity, and been downgraded to a tropical storm.
I know people who are enthusiastic about life, and I covet their ability to focus on what is good not bad – right not wrong and positive not negative. They have a lightness in their being and a subtle, sure knowledge that things will work out as they are meant to. Where does this come from? I can lose my enthusiasm in the time it takes me to travel from my third floor bedroom to the kitchen to make coffee. It simply evaporates in the realization of all the commitments that lie ahead during the day. It makes me tired and it’s only eight o’clock in the morning.
That doesn’t mean I don’t do all the things that need to be accomplished during any given day. I do that and more – on time, competently and pleasantly. But it’s my attitude during the performance that suffers. I do some things grudgingly, although anyone observing, would say cheerfully (but I know the truth) and I’d like it to be otherwise. If there was a daily elixir or a pill, I’d take it in a “Toronto Second” – the heck with a New York Minute. Wouldn’t that be a money-maker? The Enthusiasm Elixir.
In lieu of said magic drink, I’m on the hunt for enthusiasm. The truth of the matter, is that like every one of life’s secrets, this mysterious quality lies within. It may be dormant, overwhelmed by daily responsibilities, overshadowed by a rigid mind set or just waiting for me to realize that it’s just a whisper away. We all have to do things we don’t like – that’s just life – but we can still approach any task at hand with a degree of enthusiasm. It will get done one way or another – how refreshing to stop bitching and get doing.
I’m going to spend part of tomorrow thinking about my attitude in everything I do. Just being aware that I’ve been given another day of “life” should kick start my day. Maybe thankfulness and gratitude are at the root of sincere enthusiasm, and I bet that personal happiness figures in there as well. A grateful, happy heart beating in the chest of a person who truly realizes the extent of their blessings cannot help but be enthusiastic.
There it is – I’ve solved it – enthusiasm like so many things in life is a choice. Now don’t you just wish you’d been the one to solve this puzzle? Actually I can’t take credit for this. I watch Ziggy every morning when he comes up to my bedroom. He springs up onto my bed, purring, happy and enthusiastic about the day. I shove him off – he jumps right back up again with a cheerful meow. If I repeat this a dozen times – Ziggy just keeps coming back – his exuberance never waivers.
Then it’s down the stairs to greet Augie. He virtually bounces through the days – overflowing with raw, unrestrained enthusiasm. Whoever said that humans are at the top of the food chain, may want to re-think their premise. My pets probably know more about the natural joy of life, than many people, myself included. So why not stop for a moment and consider everything you have to be happy about (even if it’s just one small thing right now) and focus in on it like a laser. Then summon up your enthusiasm for that one, positive part of your life. It will grow and expand. Enthusiasm is infectious and it will change your life if you allow it to!