George Matthew Adams (1878-1962) was an American newspaper columnist and founder of the George Matthew Adams Newspaper Service, which syndicated comic strips and columns to newspapers for five decades. His own writings were circulated widely to The Gettysburg Times and many other newspapers. In one of his books he made this comment about enthusiasm: ““Enthusiasm is a process – not merely a condition.”1 American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed by saying that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. President Donald J. Trump used this quote in one of his twitter responses on April 13, 2014.
I like what Dr. Todd Thomas once wrote about enthusiasm involving the heart as well as the head and hands.2 For him, this is the challenge of truly engaging a person in the possibility of achieving more than they think is accomplishable. Clear processes incur at the level of effectiveness. Dr. Thomas goes on to say, that continuous improvement provides identification of actions where greater efficiency can be achieved. And both of these factors can create “good” results.
For Dr. Thomas, the question is whether you want good results or great results. Greatness doesn’t come from the excellence of process. It comes from the willingness to do what is necessary, to stay focused and to deliver what is best. This is not a work-flow; it is enthusiasm. Thomas reminds us that enthusiasm is not “perkiness.” It is a dedication and energy around what needs to be done. It is desire, not just achievement. Enthusiasm means you do what you do with vigor.
Here are five basic building block that incites enthusiasm.
Honesty – which should be the bedrock of one’s character, as it will define who you are before you even allow others to know more about you. If you always deal in the truth, you’ll live a life with far less worry. You can use your analytical mind to think of new ideas, rather than misinformation and excuses. Honest intentions in speech and action gain the attention and respect of others. Honesty promotes openness, empowers us and enables us to develop consistency in how we present the facts. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity
Fiery Motivation – is the drive or desire to accomplish a goal using all available resources and accessing higher forms of behavior to maintain the drive or desire. In other words, fiery motivation will not be discouraged or lose steam but instead will become more focused and keep alert until the goal is achieved. The body, mind, and emotions will only relax once the task is done. When that happens, fiery motivation redirects all forms of stress where it can completely be ignored since you only focus on one specific thing.
But you must be aware that if fiery motivation is not harnessed, one possible consequence may be burning out afterward since you may have increased stress levels in other areas of yourself in order to remain focused and maintain your drive. So always use all available resources in maintaining the state of need for accomplishment. Motivation starts, directs, and maintains behavior during normal circumstances. However, fiery motivation does more than that in the sense that it intensifies behavior.
Hard Work – There are skeptics who are quick to point out that hard work doesn’t always make sense. But don’t worry, here we are talking about intelligent hard work. Exhausting yourself for something without thinking it through is a fool’s game. But working hard, with focus and desire is the key to getting ahead. No matter what you want to do, you must keep your head on straight in the effort. You have to spend time working on your craft. If you want to play the piano, then go do that. Start doing it, then learn what it takes to be the best. You’ll improve in skill and realize that repetition is key. Repetition is the key to hard work! Keep going and follow the formula of the greats.
Confidence – is a major component of enthusiasm and involves the value you place on yourself. Confidence is about the faith you have in your abilities, the person you are, and how you view your most important relationship – especially the one with yourself. Confidence gives you the strength to pursue your dream, it psyches you up to get the job or opportunity you’ve prepared and dreamed about. Confidence tells the story of who we truly are in the most authentic way possible. It is your representation of the way you want to be seen and how you want to see yourself. Be confident in everything you do and you will never be disappointing.
Perseverance – is the need to understand that everyone fails at one point or another. Sometimes, the way we get knocked down is completely out of our control. But we have to respond and we have to rise to the occasion. You’ll find persistence and perseverance are ingredients that any happy and successful person put into practice. Look at it this way: if you want what you are doing to count for something later on, the consistent effort you put into completing it will affect the value it has down the road.
The Bible is not silent on this subject of enthusiasm. The Apostle Paul wrote to the congregants in the church in Rome and told them that whatever they do in gratitude to God for His grace and what they do for each other, don’t be lazy but always work hard. Work for the Lord with a heart full of love for Him.3 And to the brothers and sisters in Corinth, Paul also encouraged them to ask for the gifts and talents available from the Lord to help others. But don’t become complacent, ask the Holy Spirit to give you even more so you can do an even better job.4 And to the believers in Galatia Paul made it clear that the best help comes from those who do not do what they do to get something in return. In other words, they do it with enthusiasm.5 That’s why Paul encouraged young Timothy to stoke the fire that was put in him by being anointed to serve. Keep the flames going so that his strength and boldness would not waver.6
The Apostle Peter echoed the same thought when he told his readers not to be afraid to continue when you know you are doing what is right.7 Later on in the same letter Peter advised them that not to take on responsibilities when you feel pressured. And don’t be persuaded to participate in helping others just for the money. Whatever they were asked to do, to do it with enthusiasm because they want to, not because they have to.
So when you offer to help someone else and they timidly respond by saying, “Thanks, but you don’t have to do that.” One response you can use is this, “I know I don’t have to, but I want to.” There was a song written by Johnson Oatman in 1897 we sang in church years ago, titled, “Count Your Blessings.” Many who sang those words thought it was all the things God had done for them. But it could also be interpreted to mean the blessings you received for helping others. So when given a chance to go out of your way to help, count it a blessing. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 George Matthew Adams: You Can. A collection of Brief Talks on the most Important Topic in the World – You Success, Published by Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York, 1913, p.40
2 Dr. Todd Thomas of Enabling Change with IMPACT
3 Romans 12:11
4 1 Corinthians 14:12
5 Galatians 4:18
6 2 Timothy 1:6
7 1 Peter 3:13