Inside I am really bursting with boyish merriment; but I acted the paralytic Professor so well, that now I can’t leave off. —G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
For Sunny, the very notion of food being moved toward her bowl sends her into a fit of enthusiasm. This slow moving dog (webmd.com says Sunny is the equivalent of about 69 in human years) comes to life twice a day when she is fed. I’m not talking about a slight skip in her step; at the thought of food, Sunny explodes into a doggy dance that makes her look like a caramel and white colored bucking bronco gyrating across our kitchen floor. Her claws tap Astaire-like on the tile as she bucks and prances to her bowl. This joy of her life equates to an enthusiasm that turns her clock backwards and makes her a puppy again.
This joy of her life equates to an enthusiasm that turns her clock backwards and makes her a puppy again.
As I watched Sunny this morning, it made me think of how I spend my day. When do I feel that kind of excitement? Moving into the Christmas season, old songs bring back thoughts of unwrapping iconic gifts that still send shivers down my spine as I remember the thrill of moments past. Excitement that made it difficult to sleep. Adulthood seems so effective at neutralizing that part of us capable of such childlike enthusiasm.
However, Sunny reminds us that those fires still burn, even if quietly. They lie deep within, waiting to be stoked, fueled with something that moves us. What moves you to such enthusiasm? In a previous post, I argued that every day is “game day” – the opportunity to embrace the adrenaline of competition, performance, or execution at our highest level. Enthusiasm comes from the same source. It is the thrill for something. The anticipation. The joy. It is there and it is a fountain of youth.
A fountain of youth? Certainly. Enthusiasm puts a spring in our step. It takes away the aches and the pains as we focus our energies on something outside of our self. Our energy surges as we engage in a more elemental way; heightened, on full alert, primal. Enthusiasm brings positive energy and empowers us to move quickly, think sharply, and focus all of our senses in one direction – simultaneously, blissfully. Just look at Sunny: she becomes a peppy little puppy if I even hint at moving toward the bag of dog food. Pure joy.
Enthusiasm brings positive energy and empowers us to move quickly, think sharply, and engage all of our senses in one direction, simultaneously.
Yes, there are differences between us as humans and my dog. Sunny is not burdened with all of the baggage we have to carry. Her aches and pains are simply a fact of life, she doesn’t ask “why” or lament the difficulties. Simplicity can be such a blessing. However, her enthusiasm is a great model for all of us because it is so very simple. She has no control over it, the food-brain connection is an unconscious trigger for her and exuberance ensues. Our gift is that we can actually trigger ourselves. We have the power to ignite our own enthusiasm.
We are blessed with big, powerful brains that respond to the levers we pull. If you want enthusiasm, simply pull the right lever. If you want joy, push the “joy” button. The levers and buttons are triggered by what we choose to think about, and how we choose to think about it. Our thoughts are so incredibly powerful. Sitting here right now, I can conjure an image of a Christmas morning and feel excitement welling within. That is truly powerful. There is a smile on my face and my fingers feel twitchy with energy. Now, imagine all of the thoughts of which you are capable.
We have the power to ignite our own enthusiasm.
We are now heading into December and 2017 is upon us. As you begin to consider what you will do in the coming months, put those thoughts on your enthusiasm scale. Are you aspiring to things that move you in a deeply powerful way? Are you aiming too low or in the wrong direction? Do you feel your enthusiasm surge as you consider the first steps toward next year’s objectives or the dreams lying beyond? Now, think of Sunny – if dogs are capable of smiling, I’m pretty sure that is a grin on her little doggy face as I scoop food into her bowl. You deserve nothing less.