It was Christmas Eve, and Old Bob was busy as a bee delivering packages. He was singing with joy. At midnight someone asked Old Bob why he was so happy and working so late. His answer was, "I don't want to disappoint any children on Christmas morning." Old Bob had enthusiasm.
What is enthusiasm? Enthusiasm comes from two Greek words--"En," which means "in," and "theos," which means "God"--"in God." To be inspired or possessed by God is enthusiasm. It is a strong feeling on behalf of a cause or a situation. An ardent and imaginative zeal or interest that actually flames with action. Victor Hugo said: "Enthusiasm is the fever of reason. Emerson said: "Enthusiasm is the height of man, the passing from the human to the Divine. Lamartine said: "Enthusiasm is the best thing derived from history." Pasteur said: "Enthusiasm is the contemplation of the inner God." Epre said: "Enthusiasm is the invisible, inward, intensity of being."
Enthusiasm is that feeling within that inspires and prompts one to act without thought of reward. It is that inspiring, vitalizing, propelling power that takes possession of an individual and causes him to lose himself in that which he is doing. It is the most powerful form of energy that one can generate. The influence of enthusiasm on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of breathing. Its results can be measured in terms of increased physical vitality, greater intellectual buoyancy, moral stamina, and a deeper understanding of the realities underlying all human action. Enthusiasm lights up the whole human consciousness, floods every cell with energy, puts sparkle in the eye, and scintillates the entire personality.
Enthusiasm is so important to stimulate the function of ability that it is only proper to uncover and to reveal certain principles essential to generate it. If it were possible to take a man apart, to generate enthusiasm would be quite a simple process. However, man is an individual made up of physiological qualities, psychological attributes, and spiritual aspirations. Each of these is a contributing factor in generating enthusiasm. As an individual, man must live with all of his component parts. He has interests, instincts, appetites, urges and impulses that sponsor his desires. He has courage, faith and determination that sponsor his ambition. He has thought, intellect, and reason that sponsor his knowledge. These are all separate attributes that live under one roof and are confined to one house, the human body. The wisdom exercised in the harmonious use of all of the different qualities and attributes of the individual largely determine the quality and quantity of enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the very soul of man in action and is the product of harmonious relations existing in his physical and mental attributes.
The enthusiasm of an individual cannot be measured or proved as a mathematical proposition or as a chemical formula. The proof of enthusiasm can only be tested by its practical consequences, and each individual must prove it for himself. If it succeeds in obtaining results, then it proves itself. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Nothing I say proves any quality of enthusiasm. It is like the wind, you cannot see or prove it, but you can feel and see its effects.
Enthusiasm springs from order in the human consciousness, and this can largely be controlled and guided by the individual. To generate it, each individual must follow certain principles, and in my own experience the following ones have proved very valuable.
The first principle to generate enthusiasm is preparation. The elements are loaded with forces to make electricity and are instantly available for conversion but, to convert these forces, preparation must be made. A magnetic field must be set up, and a dynamo installed to cut the lines of force. This preparation instantly converts physical power into electrical energy and this generates electricity. This same principle is necessary to generate enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is instantly available at all times but, to generate it, preparation must be made. Preparation is the act or process of making it ready for use.
Discipline is the first requisite to preparation. The physiological aspects were covered rather thoroughly in Chapter Four on "How to Double Your Energy." By following out the suggestions outlined in that chapter, the physical side of man will be well fed and well treated, and this will produce sufficient energy for the body to function with zest and harmony.
On the Temple of Apollo at Adelphi are inscribed two Greek words of wisdom. Those words are "Meden Agan;" translated, they mean, "Nothing in Excess," which is temperance. The human body is a liquid mass and is constantly renewing and readjusting itself to its environment. When well fed and well treated, nothing can harm the body but abuse. Abuse is turning away from the right use of things. Excessive indulgence becomes a vice and deteriorates the body, impairs its full and complete performance and hinders its harmonious function. Excessive stimulants and excessive food cause toxins, which poison the blood and slow down the efficiency of the body. The body tormented with toxins and weakened with excessive indulgence cannot generate enthusiasm.
By practicing the principles as outlined in "How to Double Your Energy," there is no occasion for anything in excess. The body will not overeat nor under heat, and it certainly will have no need for stimulants of any kind. Each day practice the principles outlined in: "How to Double Your Energy" and the physical man will function harmoniously and efficiently. This produces energy and inspires action. It generates enthusiasm and puts you on the job with full steam.
In the field of action you will find other principles to help your enthusiasm.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
The second principle to generate enthusiasm is: ask questions. Begin to ask questions. Every question has a hook on it, and if you put out enough hooks, you will gather some valuable information and ideas. To associate and assimilate this knowledge in the light of your own experience generates enthusiasm. Ask yourself all kinds of questions concerning your ability, your ideas, and your progress. Question what you see, hear, read and study. The only way to find out the facts is to ask questions. Facts turn into knowledge. Knowledge turns into faith and power. This generates enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm is catching. Questions not only generate enthusiasm in you, but they also generate enthusiasm in others. I can best illustrate this point by relating a personal experience. During my summer vacation, while attending college, the proprietor of a small-town hotel asked me to manage it in his absence. The first act of my management was to ask questions. I questioned every employee from the bell boy to the housekeeper. I asked each one questions on how to improve the services of the hotel. I installed a question and answer box and gave out prizes. I treated every employee as a unit of intelligence, and the service was improved over one hundred per cent. The bus driver at the station, instead of idly standing around waiting for customers, could be heard proclaiming in a dignified tone of voice: "Make Hotel Apex your home while here, excellent rooms, hot baths, delicious food and delightful surroundings."
Under my management, recognizing a simple principle to generate enthusiasm, we were one big family, eager and willing to help each other. Even the guests felt the glow and warmth of our enthusiasm. The business of the hotel doubled in three months.
Some years ago in line with selling life insurance by telephone, I had another experience that illustrates the value of questions to generate enthusiasm. I called a manufacturer whom I had never seen on the telephone. After presenting my sales plan, his reaction was: "I am not interested in life insurance, and I think you would be wasting your time to talk to me about it." At that point I had no more to say about life insurance, but I turned on the question box. I asked him how business was, and how he felt about things in general. This started the flow of enthusiasm. He was anxious to talk. In the course of his remarks, he told me that his company had recently built a new addition to the plant at a cost of $8o, ooo. I asked him if they had a mortgage against the plant building and he told me that the company had a mortgage of $50,000. By this time my own enthusiasm was boiling. I felt an opportunity to be of genuine service. I feelingly remarked: "Your company, Mr. Manufacturer, possibly would be interested in a plan of insurance that would liquidate and protect that mortgage all at the same time." "What do you mean?", Mr. Manufacturer said, raising his voice. "I simply mean this, Mr. Manufacturer, that if you can pass a physical examination I will work out such a plan for you." He was examined and I placed a $50,000 ten-year endowment policy on his life, which guaranteed to pay off the mortgage at the end of ten years, or at any time before if Mr. Manufacturer should pass away, thus protecting and liquidating the mortgage at the same time.
It all started from a question.
I think it was the late Charles Schwab who said: "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best in a man is to ask him questions about his work. This encourages him and demonstrates my appreciation."
Ask enough questions and you will find the answer. Asking questions starts an endless chain of ideas, each one suggesting several others. Most inventions and improvements are the result of questions. Someone wanted to know the answer.
Charles F. Kettering, vice president of General Motors, by asking questions, generated enthusiasm to produce a paint that would dry on an automobile in one day instead of seventeen days, thus increasing production from two thousand to fifteen thousand cars per day.
I have always questioned my ability, my progress, my process of reasoning and it has been one of the greatest forces to generate enthusiasm for improvement. It is a practical means of self-analysis, taking things apart without disturbing their present status, and affords an excellent means to perfect those things. As your knowledge increases, your vision broadens, your imagination quickens, and these generate enthusiasm. As Rudyard Kipling said:
I keep six honest serving men
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When,
And How and Where and Who.
In asking questions always try to be sincere. Ask questions straight from the shoulder. Subterfuge and camouflage are only tricks to bribe a man into saying yes, and they do not pay. People are not dumb, They are open-minded and considerate. Treat them as a unit of intelligence. Sincere questions stir up ideas, arouse response, stimulate interest, create a desire, and give you the inside track on how to do lings. They generate enthusiasm.
3. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
The third principle to generate enthusiasm is: Get the right attitude. Attitude is to study with a purchase. It is getting the right slant on the thing you are doing, or the thing you want to do. I was educated as a lawyer but I decided to engage in the field of selling. This changed my attitude, but not my ability.
With this change of attitude, I began to apply my ability to selling. In the field of selling I began to analyze human motives, and to uncover the cause that made people act. Selling took on a new meaning. I discovered that it was a definite science combined with a practical art. Science taught me what to do and art taught me how to do it. I soon realized that a profession was practicing something that was, while selling was creating a sale that was not. With this new, absorbing, exhilarating, inspirational idea planted into my own consciousness, I entered the field of selling with a new zest. I liked the idea of creating, developing and expanding ideas to help others. It gave me the spirit to sell. I wanted to sell. I did sell. This attitude generates enthusiasm.
The perfection of any business, art or craft is determined by attitude. The right attitude toward your job taps a hidden reservoir of knowledge and experience, and puts to work every available force to aid you in the accomplishment of your goal.
The attitude can be improved by reading good books. Good books are the foundation stones of civilization. Try to concentrate a few minutes each day on some good book. It will enlarge your capacity to understand. It will improve your attitude toward your present occupation. It will inspire you to love your present work. It will generate enthusiasm.
Speaking of studies to help improve your attitude, read this from Bacon's "Essay on Studies":
"Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament is in discourse and for ability is the judgment and disposition of business.
Read not to contradict and confute; but to weigh and consider. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer, he had need have much cunning to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets make men witty; mathematics make men subtle; natural philosophy makes men deep; moral philosophy makes men grave; logic and rhetoric make men able to contend. Nay, there is no problem, no condition, no impediment of the wit but may be wrought by fit studies."
4. PULLING TOGETHER
The fourth principle to generate enthusiasm: Pull together.
Do not segregate. Do not hibernate. Do not procrastinate. Do not hesitate. But by all means integrate. Pull yourself together.
Hold a magnifying glass in the sun and see how quickly the rays will burn a hole in paper. Concentration of the rays is the answer.
To do any job well requires concentration of thought. Concentrate and pay strict attention to what you are doing. A complete integration of your mental attributes produces equilibrium, balance and poise. They give you the power to perform with efficiency. The ability is synchronized into a complete orchestration, and the job is done with pleasure.
Peeling potatoes, shelling peas, picking blackberries, mowing the lawn, plowing the field, digging a ditch, making biscuit, driving an automobile, selling by telephone, running corporations, analyzing ac-counts, auditing books, reading books, pleading a case, preaching a sermon, presenting a plan, writing a book, or doing anything else can be done efficiently by conscious attention. Every occupation has interest. Put yourself into it. Pull together. The satisfaction of a job well done generates enthusiasm.
The other evening the cook was out. A friend came to call about dinner time. I love to cook. She loves to eat. The subject o£ hot biscuits was mentioned. A couple of minutes later she said: "I thought we were going to have hot biscuits?" I told her the biscuits were in the oven baking. She could not believe that I had made hot biscuits so quickly. Strict attention to the job will make biscuits or do anything else.
Occasionally I conduct a Sales Clinic here at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. Men come to these Sales Clinics from all over the country, even as far west as California. They do not come to see me, but to share the ideas revealed through me. At the last Sales Clinic, I started to reveal ideas at 8 o'clock in the evening and at 11:30 o'clock the Clinic adjourned. No one seemed tired and most of those present said that it seemed only a very short while. The secret of this performance was enthusiasm. It was a complete integration of ideas harmoniously ex-pressed and received by all present. There seemed to exist a complete synchronization of ideas. It would be impossible for me to interest a group of people for three and one-half hours unless there existed a concord of harmonious thought, engendered by enthusiasm.
Concentrate and pull your forces together. It turns work into a hobby. Laziness, indolence, indifference and stupidity give way to alertness, earnestness, activity and efficiency. Inject yourself into the job, lose yourself in what you are doing, and you will not be conscious of time or effort. Apparently this is what happened to me at the last Sales Clinic. I was conscious of neither time nor effort. I like to think of enthusiasm as the Spirit of God taking over, blending everything into a kindred feeling of understanding. It generates enthusiasm.
5. LOOK IN
The fifth principle to generate enthusiasm: Look in.
Aristotle said: "We are the fragments of what man might be." Man is inclined to contemplate himself through glasses colored by doctrines, creeds, beliefs, superstitions and illusions. Some of these old shibboleths exert a mighty influence and are inclined to hold man in subjection. Analyze these things and take the best parts of them for your own enlightenment. Do not be a slave to any of them. Throw all excess baggage overboard.
Break any chains that hold you. Endeavor to get a true picture of yourself and evaluate and appraise yourself in the light of your own intelligence. You will realize your own completeness and your ability to perform.
You take a cathartic now and then to purge you physically. Why not take a good dose of introspection now and then to purge you mentally? Look in on yourself, and purge your consciousness of all impurities. They disrupt harmony and unity and hinder enthusiasm. A good mental purge enlarges your horizon, and affords you an opportunity to utilize your knowledge and power. It helps you to get rid of frustration, discord and you get the full power of your ability.
Look in every now and then. Look at yourself and your acts in the light of reason. It is there to guide and direct you. By looking in you will find the inner man, the master mind and the source of enthusiasm. Remember that reason is the seat of judgment and gives you absolute dominion over your thoughts. Use it, and you generate enthusiasm.
6. CLEAR CONCEPTION
The sixth principle to generate enthusiasm is, Get a clear conception. Conception comes from the Latin words "con" and "capere," which mean "to seize" or "take." To form the proper conception, either of a material or an immaterial proposition, is to take into one's mind all of its component parts. It is to grasp with full intelligence, and to indulge in reflective thought to form or devise ideas, to understand the meaning of words, to interpret symbols, and to create a scientific plan of action.
Edward Gibbon, a famous English historian who wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, had this to say: "It was among the ruins of the Capitol that a conception gave me an idea of a work which has amused and exercised near twenty years of my life." Once a clear conception is formed, interest and amusement begin and this generates enthusiasm.
A new conception of selling enabled me to reduce selling to a science. I proved by experience that selling any product or service could be obtained successfully by putting into operation the Law of Averages. I also demonstrated that the most scientific way known to put the Law of Averages in operation was by using the telephone. Selling on this principle enabled me to sell ten million dollars' worth of life insurance by telephone. This performance was a new conception of an old idea. It generates enthusiasm. Try to get a clear conception of your occupation. You will be surprised at its possibilities and opportunities. They will startle you. They will arouse you. They will enthuse you.
In a preceding chapter, "The Key to a Fortune," the purpose was to center the attention and to arouse your interest in the subject of words. To form the right conception of a word is to get its correct and complete meaning. Someone has advanced the theory of semantics. This is the study of the true conception of words, and is advanced as the proper means of bringing about understanding and peace in the world. A true conception of words teaches us to understand, and through understanding all things are possible. It generates enthusiasm.
The seventh principle to generate enthusiasm is retrospection. Retrospection comes from two Latin words, "retro" means "back," and "specere" means "to look." It is the act, power or mood of recollecting the past. It is a review of experiences, and the examination of past events. To look back in thought often inspires us to look forward with hope. A review of past performances enables us to check up on our experiences, to uncover our discrepancies, appraise our progress, overcome our faults, mend our ways, and repair our deficiencies.
All business houses install a system of accounting which coordinates all departments of the business into a composite whole. All transactions are minutely detailed and recorded. This is a quick, visible means to determine the status of operation. Each department of the business is checked in relationship to the whole unit. Every few months an audit is made and each department is checked and compared to other departments. A balance is struck. A business house operating under this system can easily determine progress or failure. Through retrospection many businesses are saved from failure and progress is made.
The same principle of retrospection applies to an individual. Taking time off to look back into your experiences and examine your past performances enables you to analyze and improve them. You can develop and create a more scientific plan on which to operate. To evaluate your experience and visualize it in conjunction with your ability is a subtle and practical means to generate enthusiasm. The preparation of this book has been one of retrospection and each chapter was an incentive to generate enthusiasm for the next.
In I Peter (4:11) we read, "If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth." A person's occupation is a ministry. It is rendering a service to others. It is making a contribution toward the completion of something. The perfection of a service in its detailed performance is greatly enhanced through retrospection. It conforms to the ability which God giveth and enables you to express patience, diligence, sincerity, alertness and kindness to every duty. It establishes a broader range of thought, a higher realm of insight and perspicacity. It makes you more alert to duty, more considerate to your fellow workers, more just to those who work for you, and more loyal in your attitude to your employer. Retrospection helps to hasten the "blessings of the ability which God giveth!"
Retrospection is a scientific approach to evaluate past performances and records, and to lay a solid foundation on which to build future plans. Retrospection in action generates enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm has been defined. The Seven Principles showing how to generate it have been enumerated. Go back and read thoroughly each principle, and get it well established in your mind. These principles are volts of power with which to generate enthusiasm. Your ability to be effective and forceful must be inflamed with enthusiasm. As a review, I will enumerate these Seven Principles:
First: The first principle to generate enthusiasm is: Preparation.
Second: The second principle to generate enthusiasm is: To Ask Questions.
Third: The third principle to generate enthusiasm is: Get the Proper Attitude.
Fourth: The fourth principle to generate enthusiasm is: Pull together.
Fifth: The fifth principle to generate enthusiasm is: Look in.
Sixth: The sixth principle to generate enthusiasm is: Get a Clear Conception.
Seventh: The seventh principle to generate enthusiasm is: Retrospection.
It is not putting in hours, but putting yourself into the hours that wins promotion, earns more money, precipitates an increase in salary and gets you ahead. "Procrastination is the thief of time." Postponement and indecision are largely owing to lack of enthusiasm. Begin now to put the seven principles into action to generate enthusiasm. You have many incentives and urges to do things. You have an accumulation of unfilled hopes and desires, and the only way to put them into action is to generate enthusiasm and begin. "Indecision brings its own delays. And days are lost lamenting o'er lost days. Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do, or dream, you can do--begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, then mind grows heated and the work will be completed."
The law of nature is: "Do the thing and you shall have the power." Therefore, whatever you want to do, begin it. Once you begin to generate enthusiasm, you will have all the vim, vigor, vitality, power and force that you need to keep it up. Try it. You will get results. Your success and progress will not only be fascinating and stimulating, but it will be beyond your own comprehension.
Enthusiasm is one of your greatest assets. It is better than money, power or influence--with enthusiasm you become the master of these. Enthusiasm over-comes all prejudice and opposition and engulfs all obstacles. Combine enthusiasm with faith and initiative, and you can move mountains and achieve results unheard of.
To generate electricity costs money and power companies do not waste it. In fact, every precaution is used to conserve it. It is worth money, so is enthusiasm. Do not waste it. Remember "Meden Agan" --"Nothing in Excess." This applies to enthusiasm. Control, channel and direct it with wisdom, judgment, and common sense. Jesus said: "Do not cast your pearls before swine." This is only another way of saying, do not waste your energy and enthusiasm on worthless things. Being the "life" of the party the night before may make a wet blanket out of you the next day.
Enthusiasm used with wisdom and discretion inspires confidence and makes people believe in you, work with you and love you. It will make what you are doing, or what you are selling, be it yourself or ideas, speak with dynamic authority and ring with the spirit of sincerity. It will turn your ability into cash.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.