You know those applause meters they use at big basketball games or during live TV show tapings—the ones that show how loud the crowd applause is reaching? I was I-don’t-want-to-say-how-old when I realized that those aren’t “measuring” anything but how well someone was hitting a button behind the curtain. Sigh. But I do know one thing: We should be applauding more in life. Which brings to mind this great quote:
“If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.”
Now, I don’t have a son or daughter, so I like to say, instead, If you can give yourself only one gift, let it be enthusiasm. Here’s why: The more passion we put into something, the greater the chance we’ll succeed and get more out of it, right? But you can only get enthusiastic about something that’s in line with your authentic self. You can only applaud the things you enjoy doing from the heart.
It’s why it’s so hard to come up with any fresh ideas for a job you hate, or why you don’t feel like getting dressed up for a party you’re dreading. Your heart’s just not in it. But if your heart’s not in the things you’re doing in your day, how can you expect to feel happy in your life? If you want to feel good in your life, you must align yourself with things that make you want to clap.
What if you can’t work up enthusiasm for what you’re doing? Then you have three options: 1) Drop it and replace it with something you love. 2) Find one thing to be enthused about within it. Or 3) Suck it up and do something elsewhere you’re enthused about. Only you know what’s within your power.
If you’re miserable in a situation, a job or a relationship…
…remove yourself. Quit. End it. Give yourself a chance to experience something or someone you are passionate about. As I talked about with Jillian Michaels for Redbook magazine, I once cried while putting on my pants for a job one Monday morning, and that’s when I knew it was time to go. I didn’t have a job at the ready, so I went off on my own and I’ve never looked back. As Jillian said, sometimes you have to let go of one monkey bar before you can free a hand up to grab the next one. Free yourself. Give yourself a chance to grab the next one.
But if you can’t quit or move on…
…find something within your experience that ignites some sparks. Ask to trade desks or take on a different task at work, take your kids outdoors and away for the weekend so you can get a fresh perspective, or sign up for a rock climbing class with your partner to challenge yourselves together. Seek your own original way to do what you have to do with a new sense of energy and excitement.
And if you simply can’t change a single thing…
…find something to applaud in another area of your life. Use your time after work or community service to turn off the TV and read a great book, listen to music you’ve forgotten you had, or to make an iMovie video from your last vacation photos. Or take one day on a weekend to ride a rollercoaster for the first time in forever.
Enthusiasm matters. So find something that sends your applause meter skyrocketing. What will make you want to get out of bed in the morning? What will make you countdown the time because you can’t wait to begin? What have you been meaning to try or taste or do or sign up for that it’s high time you gave a shot? Find something you want to applaud and do it. You deserve a happy, enthusiastic life. So give yourself a big hand in getting there.
And if you want to talk more about enthusiasm—tell me what works for you or ask me a question about what’s not—connect with me here at Bright Side Up on Facebook. I love to chat and connect and that’s one of the best places to find me!