The word enthusiasm is derived from the Greek word, enthousiasmos, which means to be inspired or possessed by a divine being. Enthusiasm is an incredibly powerful tool to create momentum. Enthusiasm can also be used to combat fear and nervousness and it can even create temporary energy and willpower. Being enthusiastic also creates an overall feeling of happiness and well-being that makes it worthwhile regardless of its positive side-effects.
So many of us are unenthusiastic. The media is constantly barraging us with messages of tragedy, pessimism and fear. The people we are around tend to side more on the end of cynicism and sarcasm rather than enthusiasm. As a result this behavior becomes our own. With a generally apathetic and pessimistic society, we naturally adapt these kind of behaviors, largely without realizing we are doing it. With such an environment, how can we possibly hope to cultivate the kind of enthusiasm we need?
Enthusiasm is like any other skill. If it is continually practiced and exercised, it gets better. If it is not, then it will degrade. Enthusiasm rarely comes naturally and it must be the result of conscious effort. Practicing the ability to use enthusiasm can keep you excited and driven even in horrible circumstances. Without this ability even great circumstances are viewed through the lens of sarcasm and cynicism. So how can we harness our own inner divinity?
Genuine enthusiasm can only be sustained about something you are truly passionate about. Anyone can get themselves hyped up over a boring situation for the moment, but sustained enthusiasm can only come when you deeply care about something. If you aren’t that interested in the outcome of something, you won’t be able to create enthusiasm.
Don’t spend your time pursuing things that you aren’t passionate about. If you aren’t passionate about something, try to minimize or remove the time it is taking from your life. Nobody is going to applaud you for working at a boring job, having boring hobbies or staying in a dead relationship when you are dead. We are ultimately responsible for the amount of passion we experience in our lives.
If you look at really successful people, all of them having something they are very passionate about. These people have a drive that compels them to give 110%. Nothing is more motivating than an obsessive passion. As a self-proclaimed obsessive about personal growth, I can attest to that.
Passion provides the fuel, without it and their can be no fire of enthusiasm.
Being enthusiastic requires a lot more energy. If you feeling like passing out from exhaustion at the end of the day, chances are you aren’t brimming with excitement. Enthusiasm and energy are very closely linked. Being energetic makes it far more likely for you to be enthusiastic and enthusiasm can literally create the energy you need to get going. This may sound like a catch-22, but it isn’t.
Energy comes mostly from a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest and water is the first step. Many people like to debate minutia about whether or not to eat xyz or whether they should be taking a vitamin zyx supplement. These little differences are only going to make the difference if you’ve already mastered the basics of a healthy lifestyle.
Temporary enthusiasm can actually be created relatively easily simply by acting more enthusiastic. Simply by acting more enthusiastic then you feel, you can literally create the same level of enthusiasm inside. I use this technique whenever I am in a social situation where I need some added confidence or energy.
Think about how you act when you are enthusiastic. Smiling, moving around more and having more expressive body language are likely key characteristics. By making the conscious effort to behave more enthusiastically, you will start to feel more enthusiastic. After a few minutes you will probably create the kind of enthusiasm that your body language suggests.
Our body language commands a lot more of our internal behaviors then we think. Most of us believe that it is our internal emotions that create our body language. The situation, however, actually works in reverse as well. Body language itself can create the emotions it represents. I wrote about this more here.
Now that you have some ideas on how you can create enthusiasm, both temporary and long-term, what are some possible uses for this new skill?
Countering Fear and Nervousness
What do most people do to try to get rid of nervousness. They try to calm themselves down. Maybe take a few deep breaths or a drink of water. Unfortunately, this is probably one of the worst ways to counter it. Trying to calm yourself down only strengthens the nervousness until you are completely paralyzed.
Using enthusiasm takes the opposite approach. Acting incredibly enthusiastic will start by masking any nervousness in your body language and speaking. Once you’ve started to create that enthusiasm within yourself, fear and nervousness will be blocked out of your mind. The next time you are in a situation where you think you might be nervous, try to counter with enthusiasm.
Building Motivation and Momentum
Quick question: What is the antidote to procrastination?
Action of course! As soon as you start taking action, thoughts of procrastinating are blown away. Unfortunately this is a catch-22. You can’t act because of the procrastination and you need the action to get rid of the procrastination! At this point we can usually adopt numerous behaviors and techniques to try and convince us to do just enough action to break the threshold.
How about another approach. Enthusiasm. Enthusiastic people don’t procrastinate what they are enthusiastic about. If at all possible, create some enthusiasm in yourself. You can use the physiology technique to create some quick enthusiasm. By leveraging this small amount of enthusiasm you can create the momentum you need to stop procrastinating.
This can also apply on a long-term basis as well. Although the physiology technique generally only works in short periods, utilizing passion and energy can help us create long-term momentum. By investing our time in our passions and taking steps to improve our energy we can create the kind of enthusiasm that will be with us when we need it for a longer period of time.
Enthusiasm is a great communication tool. Enthusiasm grants you licence to a lot more confidence than you might otherwise have without appearing arrogant or boastful. By leveraging enthusiasm it is far easier to communicate with others and the quality of that communication is greatly improved.
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to be more outgoing and extroverted, enthusiasm can be one of the best tools at your disposal. Enthusiasm centers your focus outside of your own ego which separates you from your need to protect it. When you don’t need to protect your ego, you can enter any communication situation without fear or worry.
The benefits of enthusiasm are vast. From improving productivity, social skills, and confidence to reducing fears and nervousness, enthusiasm is an incredibly powerful tool. Remember that long-term enthusiasm is a skill that needs to be developed. Focusing on your passions and working on your own personal energy will give you the base you need for enthusiasm. Like a spark, guiding your physiology can create a fiery enthusiasm for anything you do. Utilize that enthusiasm and you can get the most out of your life!