By Henrylito D. Tacio
THE SUSTAINING POWER OF ALL GREAT ACTION
“Might be better if…” “I like it – it’s just that.” “I see your point, but…” “Let’s look at it this way.” “Our usual procedure is…” “How would we justify it?” “How would it look?” “Yes, but…” “Let me sleep on it.”
These are some just of fail-safe phrases, or comments, which automatically throw the brakes on enthusiasm. You’re feeling pretty fired up about some idea and then one of the above phrases drops into the conversation like a policeman into a party.
I don’t want to sound poetic but enthusiasm has a great cloak which can conceal lame talents, dwarfed ambitions, and mangy personalities. It has a sparkle like sunlight on rippling waters and can cause dedicated failures to be delightful.
“Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm,” pointes out bestselling author Og Mandino. “Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no mater how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish miracles.”
So, “be not afraid of enthusiasm,” urges Francois Guizot. “You need it; you can do nothing effectively without it.” After all, enthusiasm, said B.C. Forbes, “is the all-essential human jet propellant. It is the driving force which elevates men to miracle workers. It begets boldness, courage; kindles confidence; overcomes doubts. It creates endless energy, the source of all accomplishment.”
You must have enthusiasm for life to achieve great things. H.W. Arnold, “The worst bankrupt in the world is the man who has lost his enthusiasm. Let a man lose everything else in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.”
“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm,” Sir Winston Churchill once reminded. Isaac Disraeli shared this important idea: “Enthusiasm is that secret and harmonious spirit which hovers over the production of genius.”
According to Norman Vincent Peale, one of America’s most well-read authors, you will never have enthusiasm in your life unless you steadily put some in. “This is basic,” he said. “To have enthusiasm, you must practice enthusiasm. It is based on the ‘as if’ principle. Act as if, and that which you practice will tend to be.”
Peale shares this story: I once taught a class in public speaking. One man was completely desultory and uninspired in his platform presentation. “You need enthusiasm,” I said.
“I know,” he replied, “but you cannot be enthusiastic just by wanting it.”
“Oh, yes, you can,” I insisted. “Next time you speak, act really enthusiastic. Pour it on, give it all you’ve got.”
“That will be a phony. You can’t be enthusiastic just by acting as if you were,” he remonstrated.
I gave him the “as if” principle. The next time he was the speaker, he really threw himself into his talk and the reaction of his audience was electric. So inspired was this hitherto dull speaker that he continued to act as if he were the most enthusiastic of all speakers until in due course he honestly qualified for that category.
Unknowingly, enthusiasm makes ordinary people extraordinary. Bruce Barton shares this story to point out this view: A man had died, and the whole city mourned his going. At a club we were discussing him, reminding ourselves of one characteristic and another that had endeared him to us.
Finally a man whose name is famous spoke. “You know our friend hardly had a fair start,” he said quietly. “Nature did not mean to let him be a big man. She equipped him with very ordinary talents.
“I can remember the first time I heard him speak. It was a very stumbling performance. Yet, in his later years, we regarded him as one of the real orators of his generation. His mind was neither very original nor very profound, but he managed to build a great institution, and the imprint of his influence is on ten thousand lives.”
The speaker stopped, and we urged him to go on. “How then do you account for his success?” we asked.
“It is simple,” he replied. “He merely forgot himself. When he spoke, his imperfections were lost in the glory of his enthusiasm. When he organized, the fire of his faith burned away all obstacles. He abandoned himself utterly to his task; and the task molded him into greatness.”
Here’s a good news. Enthusiasm can be cultivated, according to David Dunn. He explains: “At first you must consciously put your eyes, your voice, your spirit – in a word, yourself – into your appreciation of people and events and things. Do this around your home, at your work, in your social contacts, and you will be surprised how quickly it will become second nature. You will find yourself living in a more gracious and enthusiastic world, for your enthusiasm will be reflected back to you from the people to whom you give it.”
In other words, if you must do, give it your best shot. When Abraham Lincoln was a young man, he took a sack of grain to be ground at the mill. The owner had the reputation for being the slowest and laziest miller in Illinois. After watching him for a while, Lincoln said, “You know, I think I could eat that grain as fast as you are grinding it.”
“But how long could keep it up?” the miller replied ungraciously. “Until I starve to death,” the future American president retorted.
Ellen Corby declared, “You must have enthusiasm for life or life is not going to have a lot of enthusiasm for you.” Both enthusiasm and pessimism are contagious. Which one do you spread?
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