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The Power of Enthusiasm – and the Most Important Choice You Will Make in the Week to Come

Which one of these Vietnamese school kids
is most likely to be a leader as an adult?
I took this picture at an elementary school in Vietnam several years ago. If you were asked to pick a future leader out of this group of kids, who would you choose?

Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right when he said nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. He might have added that enthusiasm makes the impossible become possible.

The good news is that there is no enthusiasm gene. Whether or not you approach your work, and your life, with enthusiasm is a choice you make, pure and simple.

Enthusiasm is Core Action Value #10 in the Values Coach course on The Twelve Core Action Values, and I have come to see it as the master value. When you are enthusiastic, it makes it easier to live the other values. It’s easier to be authentic, to have courage and perseverance, to follow a sense of purpose and have a vision.

Without enthusiasm, all of those things are much harder.

Each of the twelve values in our course is built upon four cornerstones that are what put the action in the value (and without action, values are nothing more than good intentions). These are the cornerstones for Enthusiasm:

  • Cornerstone #1, Attitude: Positive attitudes create self-fulfilling expectations for success and happiness; negative attitudes create self-fulfilling expectations of failure and misery.
  • Cornerstone #2, Energy: Energy is life, and more than many of us will admit, whether or not we have energy is a decision we make, not a physical state of being. And one of the greatest paradoxes of life is that by using energy you gain energy (as anyone who’s forced themselves to go for a walk or a run instead of taking a nap knows).
  • Cornerstone #3, Curiosity: Enthusiastic people are curious, and their quest for knowledge and understanding helps to fuel their vision for the future; one of the best ways to is to ask more and better questions (and to ask more dumb questions).
  • Cornerstone #4, Humor: It’s true that humor is good medicine, but people with a sense of humor are also happier and more successful. Fortunately, you can cultivate a funny bone. Start by ditching any cynical and pessimistic outlook and choosing to smile and laugh.
    Want to make the coming week better? Choose enthusiasm.

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