Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
From my primary blog here.
The three great resources in life are time, money, and energy. Of the three, we have the least control (read: none) over time. Yesterday, I was watching an interview with Warren Buffett regarding his wealth. He conceded that—despite being worth an estimated $76.1 Billion USD—even he cannot buy more time. While we can never accrue more time, we do have the ability to control how we use the time we have and the energy we possess. Maintaining enthusiasm in your life and your pursuits is a major component in your chance of success.
Fueling an Empty Tank
I believe it’s safe to say that no one will ever excel at something they don’t enjoy in the same way they might at something they are passionate about. When going to work—or even just waking up—is an experience of dread, despair, and disappointment, it’s a sign that something in your life is out of balance. Enthusiasm is a natural and automatic sense of energy you have to do the things that you care about. It follows, then, that you’ll never feel this way about things that aren’t important to you.
It seems to be the case too often, but an important step is knowing yourself. What are your strengths? What do you do in your “spare” time? Just as importantly, what skill set do others seek you out for? Perhaps it sounds cliche, but tapping into your natural inclinations can be one of the best foundations to build a successful career upon.
A word of caution, however. Just because you have a fascination with something does not mean that there is a market for it. Or, there may be a market for that skill set but in a different form.
I’ll use sports as an example. Many people love sports as an excellent example of physical activity, team work, and competition. They can be fun to participate as well as fun to watch – and the proof is in the crowds packing stadiums around the country every week. Still, just because you love football doesn’t mean you’ll be able to develop into a professional player. This may seem like a crushing blow, but just remember that any sport is comprised of more than just the players themselves. Every team has coaches and support staff; major, professional teams have a considerable number of employees to aid in running and promoting the operation.
Tempering Enthusiasm With Logic
Blind, un-guided enthusiasm in and of itself isn’t particularly useful. In fact, it’s absolutely essential that you have a plan for your energy before throwing it away. Much like personal finance, this is a matter of making the investments today which will pay dividends tomorrow and for a lifetime. The reality is that you’ll likely have to make a few concessions to bring your talent to the world. It’s also possible you’ll need to pursue a different passion than the one that strikes you first; again, not everything is profitable or necessary to society. I firmly believe, despite the compromises, that there is room for every person to work in a field that they find satisfaction in.
Keep your goals reasonable and play to your strengths, and you’ll set the odds in your favor every time. Don’t be defeated by the occasional disappointments, and don’t let failure destroy your enthusiasm. With time and experience, you’ll eventually come to the place you always wanted to be.
Thank you for your time.