“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
So said Ralph Waldo Emerson in one of the famous phrases in modern motivational writing. Here’s what his buddy Henry David Thoreau had to say about Enthusiasm:
“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
– Henry David Thoreau
In other words, to stay young, stay enthusiastic because when you lose the zest for life, you are old. In fact, my personal all time favorite quote about enthusiasm can be found in the book, In the Flow of Life, by Eric Butterworth, a Unity Church minister. He was quoting Charles Fillmore, the founder of the Unity Church who, at the age of ninety-four, awakened one morning singing these words:
“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm, and I spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.” -Charles Fillmore
Eric Butterworth went on to say about Charles Fillmore that, “this spirit was reflected in his life, where he was too busy, too excited about growing onward to grow old.”
The term Enthusiasm is derived from the Greek “En Theos”, meaning “The God or Spirit Within”. It reflects the inner spirit one shows when doing something. The word “spirit” itself has a similar meaning, derived from the Latin “Spiritus”, which means “breath” or “breath of God or Spirit”. The meanings of the term are nearly identical. When you are inspired, you are “in spirit” and are typically enthusiastic about something.
And finally, the word Chi which is Eastern for Life Force, Spirit, or Breath of Spirit just adds another bullet point to the concept of enthusiasm and the spirit or breath of life within and as the most powerful motivator of all. In fact, the Chinese and the Japanese symbol for chi, or ki, is an ideogram representing the steam coming from a teapot, a metaphor for the breath of life.
When we have purpose, we normally generate a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm toward fulfilling that purpose. Enthusiasm is often the fuel of action. When you are enthusiastic, it shines through in the way you talk and in the way you move. It shows in your physical gestures and in your facial expressions. It’s that look of confidence and belief in yourself and your ability to self-actualize. Here are several more quotes about enthusiasm that show it as a powerful force for action:
“Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment…. It gives warmth and good feeling to all your personal relationships.” – Norman Vincent Peale
“Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch.” – Anon
The message is clear. People like to be around enthusiastic people, particularly when that enthusiasm is directed at something positive that will provide a good experience of living. People like to be around other positive and enthusiastic people. Most people do not appreciate other people’s drama and avoid that drama whenever possible. That drama is often demonstrated by a strong negative attitude, a depressed state, a story filled with excuses. Take that same person and give them a positive story and a little enthusiasm for that story, and people will flock to them like a magnet. Enthusiasm is magnetic; Enthusiasm is electric. People like being around it.
So be enthusiastic, even when you don’t feel like it. To be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic, and soon you will have the energy that enthusiasm, the “Spirit Within”, will provide. You will feel better. You will draw magnetism from the universe and it will shine throughout your being. When you act enthusiastic, you will discover that Spirit of Life within yourself and you will inspire it in others through your own actions. Whether you accept its spiritual connotation, or as just a reflection of your inward joie de vivre, Enthusiasm is an outward reflection of your attitude toward life . . . and your own manifestation of that enthusiasm will help keep you young in mind, body and spirit.