Photo: courtesy Wikimedia: O. Fernandez, New York World-Telegram and the Sun staff photographer – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
By: Martin Grunburg
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr
Happy MLK Day!!!
In the last post we covered the virtue and really the necessity of ENTHUSIASM and what an important role it plays in helping us to enjoy a vibrant, powerful, productive and full life.
We even affirmed RWE’s observation that “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Just try to envision MLK’s epic “I have a dream” speech during the March on Washington delivered without any enthusiasm (without En Theos, god within) — fairly difficult and certainly wouldn’t have been half as effective. ; ). After all, it was his enthusiasm that inspired a nation.
However, the natural follow-up question is, what behaviors (habits) in particular can help us develop enthusiasm? Recall (from prior post the story about Uli and Dale) that the key idea is that sustained enthusiasm, like happiness, is a CHOICE first, a decision that is made and then it becomes a habit, second.
Having said that, and after giving this some additional thought, here are seven behaviors (habits) that, when fostered, will help anyone to generate and sustain their own enthusiasm habit.
1) Diet: If everything is energy (and it is), we can only be as good and strong as our diet. Eating your fruits and veggies isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity for vitality and enthusiasm. We won’t beat this one into the ground; Hippocrates put it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
2) Exercise: Same idea here…our mind is tied to our body and it’s imperative that our body is healthy and active (as healthy and active as it can be). The amazing thing about exercise is it creates energy and releases so many positive hormones (eight of which are listed in this great article). Any article that references Fletch is going to be a great article! ; )
3) Creativity: Since you my friend are a very special creature, it’s important to know that it’s truly your nature to create — to be creative! Many people feel that they lose that creative touch/inspiration as they grow older. While it’s true your creativity may become weaker (from non-use), it has not vanished entirely! And, it’s worth reiterating that creativity doesn’t have to be in the form of some revolutionary invention; it could be plain old problem solving! I shared this great book/resource (ThinkerToys) if you’re looking to further develop your creativity.
4) Be Curious! Keep learning, exploring and asking questions. As Rumi put it, “Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment!” What are you bewildered by? (political commentary aside!) While curiosity might’ve killed the cat, it undoubtedly emboldens one’s enthusiasm! It’s likely that the more questions you can ask about your life and the world around you, the more enthusiasm for life you are likely to cultivate. Recall, The Habit Factor in many ways began with a very bizarre question, “Why do habits exist?” Recall in the prior post we tried to envision a 5-ear-old without enthusiasm. Not too easy…part of the reason why is they are so curious — they ask so many questions.
5) Appreciate! What have you appreciated lately? As the late, great Dr. Wayne Dyer was so fond of saying, “Become an appreciator!” That is, add value to things by taking notice of them, admiring them — appreciating them. And, that leads us straight to…
6) Beauty! Also, a key subject of Dr. Dyer (particularly in his great book, The Power of Intention). Beauty can be found everywhere; it’s nearly impossible to see something of great beauty, like a great sunset (notice the heart in the sky!) or the majesty of a state park (looks like I’m going to Yellowstone in April – for the first time!), or even the beauty or your own family and/or pets (I probably should have started there ; ). (I may be in trouble with my editor!)
7) Kindness and love. It’s hard to imagine how thinking of others first and practicing the Golden Rule wouldn’t increase one’s general enthusiasm for life. It seems to me that those who think about themselves and their own problems too much are often the ones with the lowest levels of enthusiasm (en theos). It’s been said before that the chief aim in life is to find a cause before one finds you!
So, there you go. I can’t help but feel that we’ve come full circle! Obviously, MLK was full of enthusiasm; he exuded kindness and love (peace) and of course put his entire soul and all his energy and resources behind a cause far bigger than himself. So whether it is via The Law of Reciprocity or maybe Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), or both, the return on energy MLK received was a powerful force beyond imagination still influencing us today, and you could argue it was all due to his enthusiasm (en theos)!
What you can do now:
Find just ONE of the above behaviors that you would like to develop into a habit and track it for 28 days following the P.A.R.R. habit building methodology. Of course, there is a free habit and goal tracking tool (App: iOS, Android) or, use this free template! And, if you don’t feel greater enthusiasm after just 28 days, I want to hear about it. However, WHEN you do feel greater enthusiasm, I want to hear about that too! Deal?
Until next week,