Ever felt like you can actually move the mountains with one hand? Or that you could swim to the other shore of the Ocean only by pushing your legs? Or even that you could finish 20 financial reports instead of your regular ratio of 2 per day? Then, my friend, you’ve been at that time in a magical state of enthousiasm.
Enthousiasm is one of the most powerfull tools we have in our emotional arsenal. It is a very powerful energy. It actually unleashe immense quantities of knowledge, action and positive feelings from within our inner self. When you are in a magical state of enthousiasm, you don’t actually think at anything, you are jost doing something, or being somebody. It’s a healing energy too, it actually heals your psyche and your body, at least by not letting them, for its specific period of manifestation, to be smashed down by all your negative thoughts, memories or habits. If we all lived in a normal culture, enthousiasm is also a state that it’s triggered by positive contexts, such as joy and creativity, as opposite to negative contexts such as fear or greed. One other thing that we all learned throught the time is that enthousiasm is – like almost everything in our lives – consumable. It needs seeding. Consistent and conscious seeding.
When you are doing something with enthousiasm, that specific action will be remembered as a very enjoyable one. It will create a positive milestone in your brain. It will also give you the perception of an individual completion at some level. You can never do something enthusiastically that could damage yourself, you can only do – with enthousiasm – things that will help you grow. One other subtle advantage is that of an empathy triggered by this state. People seems to be awakened around you by your specific way of being and acting when you do something enthousiastically, and naturally tend to follow you, without a specific request form you. And without regrets, also.
But how can you maintain this state for as long as possible, without tricking yourself in any way – lying to yourself is not an option to make you enthousiast about anything – and how can you still be aware of other ways of doing something… Sleeping, for instance, is not an action that you would enthousiastically…
Here are my tips. Worked on me, maybe it will work on you too:
- When you are in the flow, never do anything in one turn, keep a piece of work for later, but “contaminated” with the positive energy that started the whole lot. When you are doing stuff enthousiastically, you tend to consume everything, to live it totally. You might end up tired and somehow empty if you will not allow yourself “to be continued” in another episode of the same movie… In terms of GTD it might translate as a “Someday/Maybe” promise that you will actually enjoy to do and enjoy to see when you are doing your weekly reviews.
- Enjoy as much as you can what you do. The higher the pleasure you take from doing your stuff, the easier to remember. Each action resulted from enthousiastic processing it’s actually a positive milestone in your brain, a positive memory that can easily be reproduced, or at least used as a “state-igniter” in other contexts.
- Monitor your periferical signs. When you are in the flow your attention is much more dispersed and capable of understand and see things that you can imagine. Only because you feel monolithical it doesn’t mean you can’t actually understand far more that you could understand from your environment than in a normal state. So, knowing that, make a special attention to the periferical signs of pleasure and joy that you encounter in each specific action. There might be signs that you don’t even notice, but remembered lately, cand create a favorable context. You will notice that there are zones of comfort and zone of normal or even stressful behaviour in a specific action. Try to identify the zones of comfort and organize them. Maybe you will be able to structure them in a coherent system that , constantly used, will make you feel even more focused in the future. Consequently, make as much as attention you can to the discomfort signs you perceive. You can be enthousiastic and your energy can surpass a lot of the difficulties from your environment when you are enthousiastic, but that doesn’t mean those difficulties doesn’t exists and are not real problems. But identifying each stress and discomfort sign makes it easy to organize them somehow and, next time, to avoid them. Do yourself the favor of actually understand what you like to do and what you don’t. You are not always at the same level of energy and there will be periods of boring and depression in your life. Acting with as much as attention you can on your periferical signs doesn’t mean you will eventually eliminate all the negative expressions of yourself, but you will be capable to shorten their manifestation, episode by episode, if you consciously acknowledge the existence of those situation and the fact that they have a beginning and an end.
- This one relates closely to the last one: encourage the favorable contexts of your actions. Once you have identified your favorable contexts try to use them as frequently as you can. If you use contexts in the sense of GTD, and also use some software application to keep you organized, try to give your favorable contexts a higher priority. If you are a person that enjoy socializing, try to pot your @Phone context higher than @Computer context. You will act more often on that context and you will feel less stressed. But if you are more like an introverted person don’t hurt yourself with higher social endeavours and push the @Computer context first. And don’t be guilty about that also. That’s the trick.
- Prioritize emotions instead of thoughts. Once you have consistently integrated the collection habbit (as per GTD meaning of collection) enjoy your RAM emptiness and don’t feel guilty if you don’t think at anything for 30 seconds. Or 2 minutes. Or 10 minutes. Give yourself the very rare benefit of not thinking and only let your emotions to surface. Express them in language, physical exercise, specific activities like playing with your kids, talking to your wife or relaxed conversing with your colleagues at work, but let your thinking aside. Your growing emotional energy will seed your future enthousiasm.
- And the last one: if you don’t feel enthousiastic at all, dont’t blame yourself. If you don’t blame yourself and let your energies constantly grow and gather in bigger and bigger flows you may be able to reach to that point again. But if you constantly consume your feeble resources with guilt and desperate bets on your next enthousiasm state, you will eventually consume every little piece of common sense left and get burned out pretty soon.
“This post first appeared on Dragos Roua.”