Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm.

It's lacking at my current place of work - not just among one or two people, but across departments and buildings. You can see it a number of ways: how early people show up (and how much more at an ordinary time they do now), how quickly they leave at the 8 hour mark, how items which used to not cause friction generate a considerable issue now.

So what is enthusiasm? How does one get it - or lose it?

Enthusiasm, per the www.merriam-webster.com definition, is "a strong excitement or feeling; something inspiring zeal or fervor." The root Greek word entheos literally means "in god", the idea that God is in you inspiring you.

So let's rephrase the question: what inspires strong excitement, feeling, zeal or fervor?

- Emotions.
- A Mission.
- A Purpose.
- Things we care about (whether significant or banal: sports, for example, can inspire a great deal of enthusiasm).

Interestingly, the common theme apparent to me as I look at these is that it involves a relationship between a person and something outside them, a connection in between their hearts and an idea or item that they feel, that becomes or is made important to them.

Is that is? That in our work, our lives, our relationships and our Christian walk we have failed to build a connection or relationship, that we presume that something important to us is important to all? Or could it be that we have become too lazy to build that relationship, seeking to substitute authority and power?

Be not mistaken. Building enthusiasm in others is hard. In essence, you are building that bridge between them and the thing that you want to create enthusiasm about. You have to convince different people of different backgrounds and concerns that this item is worthy of the relationship and worthy of the time that it will take to build it and the cost of getting there. It's finding new ways of restating the same thing, of finding different connections to help others connect with what you see.

It's difficult. It's long. But try going without the benefit of an enthusiastic group for a while and you discover how high the cost is for not building it in.

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