The ultimate tragedy is this. With enough enthusiasm we would change the world. We would bring forth love and joy, and we would delight in life for its own sake. And yet, everywhere we go, cynicism prevails.

But no one is born cynical. If they were, they would think to themselves, “What? So I’m expected to learn how to walk and talk??? You’ve got to be kidding me! … Yeah, and what’s the bloody point, anyway? Well, look at grandpa – he can’t do either!”

Question everything. Be as sceptical as you possibly can be. But kill all cynicism before it kills you. Let your enthusiasm flourish and infect everyone!

Now I’m sure that some of you will be going, “But I am enthusiastic!”

But is that enthusiasm genuine? Or is that smile on your face plastered over: “I really wish I wasn’t here. I hate working with you. And I hate serving you. But I will try, really hard, to pretend that I am having a swell time.”

Trying to fake enthusiasm is, I would imagine, not particularly fun or enjoyable. Which kind of defeats the purpose: that you are, indeed, genuinely, having a swell time. And that you want to spread that swellness – to everyone!


Enthusiasm is something that has to be worked at. The fact that it was there when you first had that brilliant idea is not going to see the idea through, no matter how brilliant it is. Enthusiasm is something that you have to generate and re-generate until the job is done.

Otherwise, guaranteed, before long that brilliant idea will occur to you as a real bore and a real chore: hard work and struggle and suffering for precious little reward. Truth be told, you really don’t want to be doing it any more, but you feel you should having put in all that effort.

The key is to recognise this, and to re-present to yourself just why you were so energised and excited to begin with.

If the passion was there once, it is still there. Go deep enough and you may well find it lurking beneath the cobwebs.

Otherwise, you may just wish that you had never thought it up.


As I say, enthusiasm is something to be worked at. The difference it will make to your quality of life is profound, so it is certainly worthwhile. But if you’ve spent most of your life being deeply unenthusiastic, life will probably occur that way for a while yet, in spite of your best efforts.

What you want to avoid is getting into a mindset of, “I should be enthusiastic.” Which is just another excuse for you to beat yourself up. That is one of the main reasons why you are deeply unenthusiastic: because you keep on beating yourself up: “I should be this, I should be that. I should be perfect by now, God damn it.”

No, if you have spent most of your life being deeply unenthusiastic, give yourself the freedom to be deeply unenthusiastic, whenever it shows up for you. There is nothing wrong with having an aim, or an aspiration, and falling short. As I have said before, and will say again: embrace your humanity, warts and all.

Start small and build up. Find one thing today that you could be slightly more enthusiastic about and take it from there. Small steps create a solid foundation. That is key.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm  Leave a Comment