Sunday, November 27, 2005

Curious about Enthusiasm: If It Is So Great, Why Do So Few People Have It?

Henry Chester wrote, “Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money, power and influence.”

Edward Appleton said, “I rate enthusiasm even above professional skill.”

And Mary Kay Ash went so far as to state, “A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go farther than a great idea that inspires no one.”

The overall feeling from most of the quotations I discovered that refer to “enthusiasm” were that it breeds success and happiness. It is also the behavior most suggested in sales training. So, as I posed the question in the title, “Why do so few people have it and/or enjoy the benefits of enthusiasm?”

You may be thinking that I am just encountering the wrong people in the wrong situations. After all, there are lots of enthusiastic people. I wish there were. In my fitness classes, I do have a handful of enthusiastic students. They move, they sing, they yell and they smile. And yet I notice the majority act like they are just “putting up with it.”

Way back in the early 80s I was working as the manager of a textile design studio. There was a terrific young salesman named John who was enthusiastic about the fabrics and life in general. He and I put together a program for interior designers that consisted of him showing the new line of prints and my showing slides and explaining all about how those prints were created. The designers loved it, but the company VP thought that John and I were going overboard with our enthusiasm and halted our program.

And, then there is fake enthusiasm - worse than no enthusiasm. Bo Bennett agrees, “Faked enthusiasm is worse than bad acting - it is bad acting with the intent to deceive.” I think that this shows up often in sales. I feel that it is almost impossible to sell a product that one isn’t enthusiastic about.

In a past life I became involved with and sold a rather pricey goal setting program. It was my first foray into audio self-improvement. I loved it and was going gang busters, until a potential client asked me why he should pay close to $300 for my product when he could get a similar program from Nightingale Conant for only $70. I checked it out. My sales of the pricey program plummeted and I ended up selling Nightingale Conant tapes. I had lost my original enthusiasm.

It’s time to share some of the great quotations I found, and, if they don’t encourage you to work on your enthusiasm, I don’t know what will:
  • Dale Carnegie stated, “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”
  • Was I Ching correct when he wrote, “He who possesses the source of enthusiasm will achieve great things. Doubt not. You will gather friends around you as a hair clasp gathers the hair.”
  • The strong and never, never give up statesman, Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
  • While Samuel Taylor Coleridge believed, “Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.”
  • And Benjamin Disraeli wrote, “Every production of genius must be the production of enthusiasm.”

All I know is that I love my life and live every day and every moment with enthusiasm. It may not be for everyone, but why not try it? It is much more FUN that way!