( Posted earlier on 13th September, 2008 on my blog Different Strokes)

A few days back, I was reflecting on Mumbai spirit, how they celebrate life even in the midst of all odds and as I have already shared… to my understanding, the key to the magic is that great surge of positive feelings inside, which we ordinarily refer to asenthusiasm – that infatiguable will to do and explore and enjoy ….. that moving spirit behind everything great and simple !!

That just reminds me of something said by one of the greatest achievers of this world, Henry Ford.

“You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. It is the yeast that makes your hope rise to the sky. It is the sparkle in your eye, the wing in your gait, the grip in your hand, the irresistible surge of your will, and the energy to execute ideas.

Enthusiasm is the bottom of all progress. With it, there is accomplishment; without it, there are only alibis.”
– Henry Ford

Read this with something interesting told by one of the most creative persons (perhaps the man with the largest number of scientific inventions ), Thomas Edison.

Each of his inventions were preceded by numerous failed attempts by him to create/invent what he wished to invent. Perfectly natural ! Someone sarcastically observed, “Mr Edison, you have failed 99 times to succeed once”. Thomas Edison responded, “Yes, I have first learnt 99 ways in which it does not work to find outthe way it works .”

[ Sorry, I have put the above words within quote-unquote just to write in 1st person in a conversational mode for the humour and sarcasm in it. I don’t know the original dialogues. I had read about this somewhere and this has got hammered into my mind and heart as the essence of a winning attitude – with it, you learn from failures and keep trying with added wisdom and enthusiasm till you succeed.]

Personally, these have been a source of great inspiration for me. If ever, by any chance, I start getting upset about something that’s not working my way, I simply remind myself about what these two great souls had said. Believe me … it works – I spring back within no time. ( In fact, it has to work .. ‘cause, any thought that goes deep inside your subconscious is sure to get manifested some way or other. After all, it’s all in the mind !)

And Enthusiasm is contagious !! If you exude enthusiasm, not only you yourself get propelled, others around you also startcatching that ( or should I say, get inspired ). In fact, when you are enthusiastic about something, you feel a drive from inside, apassion to get going, to try harder, to explore the unknown – that one P ( passion or enthusiasm) opens up the pathways to all P’s that we want in ourselves and in this world : Pleasure, Proficiency, Productivity, Performance, Profitability, Perseverance, Perspective, Philosophy, Philanthropy, Profundity, Planning, ….. Parivartan…… Perfection …. Providence ….!!

If you are an enthusiastic, a passionate person, then you will put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. And this is sure to rub off on the people around you, who will work their heart and soul for you, not out of fear or compulsion, but out of love and admiration. This is especially true of the professional world ( as there is always a pressure to achieve goals through team playing), where success through positional authority is more a myth than reality. I have experienced that so many times in my professional life!

When you have enthusiasm, you will radiate happiness, joy every moment. I am sure you will agree with me that, of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important. Ever looked into the sparkling eyes of an enthusiast ?

– a child who is just dismantling something to create something different out of the same toy parts

– a banker (of manual days) who just got an idea in flash about where to locate that one paisa difference in his cash book which has been bothering him for last two days

– a businessman who just found a new market for selling his products or just a new idea to acquire new customers

– a social activist who just found a new source to tap to make people’s lives better

– an artist getting ready to perform

– a painter who just made a stroke of a shade on his canvass exactly as he had painted in his mind’s eye

– a child who has just discovered a sprout in the seed planted by him

– when you water your own plants

– when you start on your LFC tour

– when you have just got a promotion and taken up a new assignment in your elevated capacity

– when you cross the first milestone in a project implementation, that somebody else had said was not possible

– when you see a beautiful wild flower on the roadside while travelling and your heart says “Wow”


Well, if you have ever looked them in their eyes, you will understand what I am referring to, when I say enthusiasm. That never-drying fountain of energy, that vitality, that simple but strong zest for life, that ever-readiness to make things happen !!We may call the same feeling as joy, happiness – because, enthusiasm, passion, joy, excitement, happiness – all these are facets of the same coin and go hand in hand.

The secret is, when you are enthusiastic or passionate about something, basically you have a unshaken faith that whatever you are trying to do will click, if not this way, then that way; if not that way, then some other way – but click it must. So, you are constantly looking forward to some kind of a joy of finding, and that feeling itself makes you happy and joyous. So when you are enthusiastic, you feel happy; and when you are happy, you feel joyous and enthusiastic !!

Prof. William James, a renowned Psychologist, once said :

“ Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling .”

I fully agree with him out of my own experience. I am intrinsically an enthusiastic person and laugh enough. On laughing enough, there could be those who would say, one who laughs enough is not necessarily a happy person – that is their paradigm they see through. There are also those, who have a different paradigm that says “ You do not smile only when you are happy, but invariablyyou feel happy when you smile .” I belong to the 2nd category.And it works naturally for me.

If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.

That is, if normally, you do not feel that exuberance of spirit currently, then it is possible to work towards it. Acting enthusiastic does not mean that you are faking it. At times when you are feeling low, it may require a bit of conscious effort to act this way; but ultimately, with passage of time and continuous behaviour, it becomes first a part of your habits, then a part of your character. Develop consciously a habit of expressing only positive, hopeful, enthusiastic ideas. Deliberately look at the best sides of everything (that silver lining even in the darkest cloud ) and it will become natural to expect the good. You will automatically find within yourself that excitement that you desire.

“ Express enthusiasm freely and upon all occasions, and your life will strongly tend to become joyful and enthusiastic.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

I recall an anecdote being shared by a guest speaker with the participants of one HR programme in one of the renowned management institutes, that I attended a few years back.

Two HR professionals, strangers till then, were sitting side by sidein one seminar. One of them, Mr X, just started a friendly conversation by introducing himself, as he was eager to meet people, talk to them. By the by, Mr X asked the other person, say Mr Y, “How about your family ? ”

Mr Y : “ Oh, my wife is a lecturer in a college …,

Mr X : “ Oh, Wow !”

Mr Y continued : “I have two daughters – they are in school ….”

Mr X : “ Wow, Great, a proud father of two lovely daughters ! And dear, I must say, hats off to your wife. She is managing both a career and a home so well !”

Mr Y was actually getting surprised at this person’s lavish compliments, because to him, it is a very common situation to have a wife, to have children, a married women having a career ….. so many others do it … so many others have it… what’s so great about this to be praised this way ? Of course, he could not say that openly. Just out of courtesy, he also asked Mr X about his wife and family .

Mr X : “ Oh, my wife is raising our family. ” [ Mr Y almost jumped off his seat – raising our family ? Means a mere housewife !]

Mr X continues “ … we have one 3 year old son. Sandra, my wife, is expecting our second edition, ha, ha !! I am really feeling bad that I had to come here now leaving her at this time … but sheinsisted , as this was something I was looking forward to since quite sometime … ”

Do I really need to analyse and interpret in detail to clarify what I am trying to explain through this anecdote ?? Is it not an easy guess, who is likely to be more successful at human relations and most likely, in profession too ?

When you are enthusiastic, you also tend to find out n number of small small things about others as well as your own self to appreciate.

And being appreciative is another strong attribute of mind which reinforces and liberates all things positive.

[ Try this small trick on housewives – call them homemakers, and see the difference .. sorry , that was in lighter vein. But yes, if you really mean that, I can swear, that will re-define your relationship with your wife in a whole new way.]

The enthusiastic persons somhow get an enormous thrill out of the most ordinary events in life ( remember my Mumbaikars ?). For them, this world itself, the creation of God, is a pure wonder with all its beauty, excitement and thrill. One who thinks this way deep inside will automatically love everything about this world and its people and will be blessed with abundance of love and enthusiasm to live a life of bliss.

Enthusiasm is also the greatest business asset. With a fat paycheque, you can buy an employee’s time, her physical presence or at the most some minimal intellectual output. But you can not buy her enthusiasm, her initiative, her loyalty or her mind and soul. You have to earn these things !! And for that, you as the employer-leader have to first bristle with enthusiasm as a person.

Let me share three great thoughts on enthusiasm that I truly treasure :

“ The secret of the genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which, of course, means never to lose your enthusisam.”
– Thomas Huxley

“ If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm .”

– Bruce Barton

“ The worst bankrupt is the person who has lost enthusiasm. Let one lose everything but enthusiasm and that person will again come through to success .”

– H.W.Arnold

So, be enthuisiastic !!

And the key to remaining enthusiastic about whatever you do ??

Well, the tried and trusted key has two sides :

– Always keep the child in you alive !

– And always have trust in His Providence after doing your best.


sambit said…
I entirely agree that enthusiasm makes the task easier. However why is it that children are so enthusiastic as against the adults? And are children enthusiastic about any work ? I don’t think they are. I still remember the way my wife had to work with my kids trying to make them learn lessons. It is only when they are left to find their own work, they are enthusiastic. Most adults don’t have this privilege as they work on jobs for livelihood and not because they choose it for liking. That may be the answer.

September 16, 2008 2:52 AM

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September 19, 2008 7:47 PM
snigdha said…
Thx Mr Sambit, Husac for your thoughts.
sorry . i was away , hence the delay in acknowledging.
As regards the points raised by Sambit, I think you have the answers in your own questions – just reflect a bit more on [enthusiastic about ” any” work ] and [ to “make” them learn lessons] . You will be enthusiastic about anything if u r doing that by choice . Even while working on a routine job for your livelihood, you still have a choice, i.e. if you choose to look at your job as something that not only earns u your livelihood – but also gives you an opportunity to express yourself, to be in touch with the wider world,to autograph every little bit of it with excellence,and not just an errand u r running for someone else -you immediately feel that inner urge , enthusiasm to give your best to it and try making it better.
And for heaven’s sake, never try to ‘make’ a child learn – just facilitate !! ( well easily said than done – but there lies the answer.)

September 21, 2008 8:18 PM
Daphne said…
Hey Snigdha, wow that was some article! You certainly put a lot of thought and enthusiasm into it! You are so right that enthusiasm makes all the difference. People will forgive lack of skill because that can be learnt, but without enthusiasm it is very hard for a person to improve and do well in his work, play or family life. You are clearly an enthusiastic person and can go far. Keep it up!

September 24, 2008 6:14 PM
snigdha said…
Hi Daphne, thx a ton. Today only I stumbled on your site and it is simply amazing – both content-wise and design-wise. I actually read through many of your articles – and appreciated your thinking.

September 24, 2008 7:15 PM