I normally cut the grasses in the yard myself, but I haven’t been able to do so because of a back injury. So, yesterday I hired a man and his two sons to do the work. The family normally cuts the lawn of my across-the-street neighbor, so they came highly recommended.
The boys finished my neighbor’s large yard, took a snack break, then pushed their two mowers across the street to begin my yard. Their dad, fueled the mowers, then carried his string trimmer from across the street to edge my yard. Aside from their youthful energy, the adolescents were enthusiastic workers.
I wondered if some of their enthusiasm came from the knowledge that my yard was their last job of the evening, or if it was because of something else. It may have been due to a combination of factors. I later found out that the oldest boy belongs to the high school cross-country team. He looks for every opportunity to physically train. His young brother is not as athletically inclined. The dad explained that his youngest son is more of a free spirit who looks up to his big brother, but has more scholarly interests.
Even as sunset approached, the three individuals were still full of energy and verve. They were doing a chore that I usually find merely time consuming and boring. Anyway, it was refreshing to be exposed to that much enthusiasm.
It’s interesting to observe people and to discover what fires them up. What do they do or what do they think of that makes them feel driven?
One of the neighbors who lives at the four-plex next to my house revealed that he is studying to become an electrician. He’s a sophomore at our local community college. The student said he is trying to convince the owner of the four-plex to provide electricity to the garage units. He described to me what he plans to do if he gains permission. As he told me about his proposed project, his eagerness was quite apparent.
We can be sure that my next-door neighbor will probably be a successful electrician and that the two lawn boys will do well in whatever fields they take up. We understand that they have enthusiasm that is backed up by the ability to focus on the present.
One of the biggest dangers to enthusiasm is the negativity and envy of others. Early on, I learned to be careful with whom to share the vision I had for my own career path. One evening at Hewlett Packard, during a lunch break with my fellow maintenance workers, I mentioned the fact I wanted to become a broadcaster. Nearly all of my co-workers ridiculed me and said I could never do it.
The only one who supported me was a then recent immigrant from Brazil, Jose’. He later pulled me aside and wished me luck because he saw that I was serious. That was one important instance when I discovered who my true friend was. His encouragement helped keep my enthusiasm alive. Because of that, I have never forgotten him. Meantime, I don’t even remember the names of the other men on the crew.
One of the main take-aways from Jose’ was that he reinforced my fascination with other people and what makes them tick. It’s important to non-judgmentally learn from the actions and reactions of people we meet. What can we find out from our friends and acquaintances? Not only will this inquiry help us get along with others more effectively, but the knowledge about others we learn, can help us cultivate wisdom and success in life.