Monday, July 13, 2009



Most people fail for want of enthusiasm than lack of ability. Success has come to many who possessed only average intelligence but had a better than average enthusiasm. "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" said Emerson.

Enthusiasm literally means "fire within" and most of us have seen that fire burning into a glow when the usually shy and reserved person is carried away with some pet subject and which vitally interests him.

Interest can be cultivated. Most things can be interesting if we give them a chance, but the interest must be of our own prompting. It is when our minds are alert that we awake to the zest and the liveliness of the positive life.

The deadly enemy of enthusiasm is inaction. We are disinterested because we feel and think timidly about things. Interest comes with a positive response to life.

Monotony is due to the fact that we are only using a small part of our possibilities. "Compared with what we ought to be," said Dr. William James, "we are only half alert. We are making part of our vast mental resources."

A keen person does not sit down and wait for things to happen. The symbol of his mentality is a plus and not a minus. He is always saying "Yes" to life. He shakes off his laziness, knowing that he can find interest in most of the things he wants, if only he wants them hard enough.

Positive attitude towards life generates its driving force. To approach a task with positive resolution is to enjoy the work.

It is said of Edison that on his wedding day he excused himself as he had some work which needed his attention. Several hours later he was found so completely engrossed in his experiment that he forgot that he had been married that day.

Having aroused our attention, we have to overcome the desire to change from one thing to another. The person who changes like a butterfly from one interest to another, never finds real satisfaction in anything. The fact that he quickly gets tired of things is a mark of immaturity. Such a person’s day is usually crowded with unfinished jobs. Butler said that the most important intellectual habit is the habit of attending exclusively to the matter in hand.

The ability to concentrate on the matter in hand until the job is finished has always been one of the vital secrets of success in any field.

When Toscanini reached the age of eighty, his son was asked what the great man considered the greatest moment of his life. His reply was: "Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the big thing in his life – whether it is conducting a musical orchestra or peeling off an orange."

Enthusiasm grows as we discipline ourselves to concentrate upon matter in hand. Enthusiasm is the secret of making routine agreeable. It is the secret of a healthy adjustment to the tasks from which we cannot escape.

Focus all your attention on the task. "Where men are rightly occupied," writes Ruskin, "the pleasure grows out of the work as the colourful petals come out of a fruitful flower."

If, on the other hand, we fail to find satisfying occupation in our daily work, it is all the more urgent that we should find absorbing interest in other spheres. If our daily task is a routine job, then it is up to us to find an outlet that will fight out mental stagnation. But let those interests be creative.

It is up to us stimulate interest and enthusiasm. Idle dreaming will get us nowhere. Enthusiasm is born when we wake up and realize that many things are waiting to be enjoyed right now.

( Written by J. Lloyd Woodhouse.)