“Enthusiasm is contagious. Be a carrier.”
This morning I was reading some of the articles that I have saved and reread the following by best selling author Gretchen Rubin were she promotes the value of our being enthusiastic. It started me thinking about the people I worked with on various projects last week and as I reflected I realized that the one thing they all had in common was enthusiasm. What I especially like is that enthusiasm is contagious and there are not too many things better than being around people who like doing what they are doing and who let you do it with them.
One of the things that hit home in Gretchen’s article was her saying she tries to act the way she wants to feel and in my experience that is often the difference between having a bad day and a good day. Her comments also reminded me that far too many people who spend all of their time being critical of those who are enthusiastic and happy, fortunately I have learned to ignore the destroyers as I rush to join the builders.
So how about trying it, let the complainers sit around bad mouthing everything as they contribute nothing while you are up, out, having fun while enjoying life.
Why I’d Rather Be Enthusiastic than Confident
By Gretchen Rubin
Lately, I’ve been thinking about enthusiasm. I’ve become increasingly convinced of the importance of enthusiasm to happiness. Enthusiasm is energetic, positive, generous, and social. It’s outward-turning and engaged. It’s kind of goofy.
As one of my happiness-project experiments, I tried putting sticky notes throughout the apartment with two key adjectives to keep in mind as I went through my day. In my office, the sticky note originally said, “Creative and confident.” But as I thought more about the quality of confidence, I decided that it really wasn’t the right adjective.
Confidence has an overtone of posture; also it relates to the way I’m seen by others, or the way I feel about myself. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, has to do with the way I feel about something or someone else. Enthusiasm is a form of social courage; it’s safer to criticize and scoff than to praise and embrace.
Enthusiasm is contagious; one person’s enthusiasm can infect others with enjoyment. My mother-in-law is a theater nut who takes my older daughter to the theater a lot, especially to musicals. If my daughter took a class in musicals, would she love them? I’m not sure. But being swept up in her grandmother’s enthusiasm has made her love them, too.
I’m not a particularly enthusiastic person, except in certain very specific areas, and I’m trying to do a better job of tapping into my enthusiastic side and encouraging other people’s enthusiasms. For instance, I follow resolutions to give positive reviews and to act the way I want to feel.
There’s a dark tendency in human nature to mock or attack other people’s enthusiasms. It’s easy to make fun of ping-pong or Barry Manilow or Star Trek or wine-tasting — but why do it? I remind myself to Shield my joyous ones. I draw energy and cheer from the joyous ones, from the enthusiastic ones, and I need to encourage and join them, not drag them down.
“Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic”
Moe and Lenny are strolling home from Shul one Saturday morning.
Suddenly a cab speeds past, and their friend, Irving, is running frantically behind it, flailing his arms wildly.
"Well," said Lenny. "I never imagined our good friend Irving was a Sabbath violator! Look at him running for that taxi."
"Wait a minute," Moe replied. "Didn’t you read that book I lent you. ‘The Other Side of the Story,’ about the command to judge other people favorably? I’ll bet we can think of hundreds of excuses for Irving’s behavior."
"Yeah, like what?"
"Maybe he’s sick and needs to go to the hospital."
"Come on! He was running 60 miles an hour after that cab, he’s healthier than Arnold Schwartzennegger."
"Well, maybe his wife’s having a baby."
"She had one last week."
"Well, maybe he needs to visit her in the hospital."
"Well, maybe he’s running to the hospital to get a doctor."
"He is a doctor."
"Well, maybe he needs supplies from the hospital."
"The hospital is a three minute walk in the opposite direction."
"Well, maybe he forgot that it’s Shabbos!"
"Of course he knows it’s Shabbos. Didn’t you see his tie? It was his paisley beige l00% silk Giovanni tie from Italy. He never wears it during the week."
"Wow, you’re really observant! I didn’t even notice he was wearing a tie."
"How could you not notice? Didn’t you see how it was caught on the back fender of the taxi?"
"Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused."
A professor at the Michigan State University was known for giving boring, cliche-ridden lectures.
At the beginning of one semester, an innovative class breathed new life into the course by assigning baseball plays to each hackneyed phrase.
For example, when the professor said, "On the other hand," that counted as a base hit. "By the same token" was a strike out; "and so on" counted as a stolen base. Divided into two teams by the center aisle of the lecture hall, the students played inning after inning of silent but vigorous baseball.
On the last day of class, the impossible happened: the score was tied and bases were loaded. Then the batter hit a home run! The winning team stood and cheered wildly.
Though deeply appreciative, the professor later was quoted as wondering why only half of the students had been enthusiastic about his lectures.
What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.
Jill complained to Nina, "Rosey told me that you told her the secret I told you not to tell her."
"Well," replied Nina in a hurt tone, "I told her not to tell you I told her."
"Oh dear!" sighed Jill. "Well, don’t tell her I told you that she told me."
Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told George (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny… He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house… walked home… and left it there all night.
You got to love George!
If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind.
Norman Vincent Peale
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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