There were some cooler than normal days last month in Nebraska. They were wake-up calls, in good ways. Mostly the cool weather enabled my mind to shake off its normal summer doldrums and feel more enthusiastic.
Mowing the yard, trimming the bushes, and other routine outdoor chores were more pleasant. In fact, I felt much more eager to take care of the work than in most other Augusts. Some of the neighbors seemed to have a similar attitude shift. Runners and speed-walkers had more spring in their strides. There were more children on bikes. There was more foot traffic on the neighborhood trail.
What is especially welcome is the added mental clarity that accompanies the enthusiastic state of mind. I don’t know if rational thinking improves very much, but the feelings of eyes wide-open and clearing of mental fog are by-products of natural enthusiasm.
When we feel good inside, enthusiasm about life increases. On the other hand, enthusiasm can enable good feelings inside. At least these statements appear to be true for my friends and acquaintances. Enthusiasm might act in a similar manner as to pasting on a smile often results in causing you to feel happier. Perhaps behaviorists have more data about this phenomenon.
Personality might have more influence on enthusiasm, too. Some people have never had to read self-help books or attend motivational seminars to be enthusiastic about life and work. More serious personalities are prone to investigate various motivation techniques and the psychology behind enthusiasm.
Uninhibited youth has the power of enthusiasm. There is a gusto about life and idealism that can change the world. Usually, at this time of our lives do we have the natural energy and curiosity about living than during our youth. As we age, we can become more aloof and jaded unless we cultivate and preserve our youthful enthusiasm. Our life experiences either hinder or help us retain curiosity and enthusiasm.
In either case, self-awareness is very helpful in maintaining the energetic attitudes we so often crave as we grow older. In the best instances, age can couple enthusiasm with wisdom. The value of such synergy is priceless. In effect, one secret of a good life is to carry youthful enthusiasm into our elder years.
One of the most effective catalysts of enthusiasm is a free and open society. Nothing kills the potential and energy of a people more than repression and oppression. To subject groups of people to oppression and to indoctrinate the population with officially mandated dogma are signs of a weak nation. Meantime, to allow freedom and liberty for all in equal measure is to ensure a vibrant, productive enthusiasm that makes a nation truly strong.
One huge benefit I obtained by coming out as an openly gay man is enthusiasm for life. By throwing off the shackles of living a secret life–the dishonest life of the closet–I felt a global sense of freedom and joy. This enthusiasm transcended thought and beliefs. I felt happier than ever before. I came out refreshed, aware of expanded opportunities, and an enthusiasm for living that was much greater than that of my youth.
This passion for authenticity and liberty powers me through troublesome times, auspicious times, and in-between times. It can only be described as an overall, long-term enthusiasm about life. This type of enthusiasm is not flash in the pan, fickle excitement. True blue enthusiasm is not something I will knowingly surrender to the powers that be.
To live life with authentic enthusiasm describes a happy, healthy lifestyle. If I could give only one piece of advice to people, it is this: Allow yourself to be free to be yourself. Don’t allow anyone to suppress your true self.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years, I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm, and their inspiration to work together.”