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Monday, May 13, 2013

Can a person be too enthusiastic?


In baseball if a player is trying to stretch a double into a triple, and he is busting his butt, running hard, and he slides, but he over-slides the base and gets tagged out, well, chances are that third base coach is just going to pat that player on the back. But he made an out, you might be thinking, the coach should be disappointed, so why would he pat him on the back? He'd pat him on the back because the player made "an error of enthusiasm." If the player had been lazy running the bases and got tagged out, then the coach would've been angry.

But is enthusiasm always a good thing?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Well, we've all known the Katie Couric or Richard Simmons sort of perky people. The kind of people that are naturally disposed to being enthusiastic. But for the rest of us...

I think for the rest of us, to have enthusiasm is work. I mean that in a good sense. Just like to have hospitality is work. If people come to your house and find it clean and welcoming, if they find food and beverages in the fridge, well, that doesn't just happen. It takes work.

It's the same with enthusiasm. Most people don't wake up bursting with a zest for life. They have to work at it. Oh, I'm sure over the course of time, enthusiasm builds and develops a momentum of its own, but in general it is self-called-up.

But can you have too much enthusiasm? Well, if you've ever seen a Richard Simmons exercise video you would say, "Undoubtedly, yes." But I don't think you can be too enthusiastic. If it's genuine, that is.

Many people resent other people's enthusiasm. They do so because it reminds them of what they lack. Or perhaps of what they've abandoned years ago. And the flip side of the coin is people who work at being enthusiastic often feed off of other's enthusiasm.

So no, you can't be too enthusiastic.

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