When Tom Sawyer didn’t go to school, his Aunt Polly punished him by making him paint the fence. Tom hated the thought and believed there must be a way of avoiding the work.

When one of his friends, Ben, came down the road, Tom was joyful about painting and convinced Ben that painting was such fun that he would let Ben paint for the apple he was carrying. As other boys came along, Tom traded the rights to paint the fence for items they had. For all of Tom’s character weaknesses, his enthusiasm won the day.

Albert Einstein said: “I wish to do something great and wonderful, but I must start doing the little things like they are great and wonderful.” We can’t be selective about what we are enthusiastic about.

Enthusiasm is the x-ray picture of attitude and attitude is arguably the key attribute for career success. Enthusiasm is reflected in your voice, your energy, and your approach to life. Those who are enthusiastic do not whine about what they are asked to do. They approach every task as an opportunity. They carefully avoid using the term whatever.

Enthusiasm is a leveler. Privilege, educational background, and other credentials are not a guarantee of enthusiasm. In fact, enthusiasm may be a way for those who don’t have the strongest backgrounds to prove themselves.

How can you maintain enthusiasm even when what you are asked to do isn’t that exciting? Here are some ways:

  • Lose your grievance mindset – Think of everything you are asked to do an opportunity to prove yourself.
  • Challenge those who bring you down – Everyone has downer friends. See if you can’t practice your enthusiasm on them to improve their spirits.
  • Learn from everything you do – No matter how menial a task, there is something you can learn from it. Just asking why is this necessary is a good place to start.
  • Grade yourself each day – At the end of the day, reflect on how you displayed enthusiasm. Then look at a low moment for what you could have done better.
  • Reach out and help others – There is great joy in supporting others and it’s a way to sustain your enthusiasm.
  • Find how to add joy to daily routines – While repeating the same thing every day may not be that exciting, look for ways to make it more joyful. Just maintaining a checklist of daily activities and checking off items as you do them can help you sustain enthusiasm.

You may want to think of your enthusiasm as a gift you give to others. The nice thing about this gift is that the receiver then can share your gift with others.

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“You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars.” – Henry Ford

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