Four Steps For Greater Positivity

People love to do business with those who love what they’re doing.

The great American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” He was right. Enthusiasm has been the driving force behind every success.

And it’s easy to understand why. The very word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word “entheos.” It means, quite literally, that you’re “filled with God.” But if you’re not a spiritual person, you could interpret it as being “filled with energy.”

Either way, enthusiasm is power. And it’s a contagious power. It rubs off on your coworkers and customers — because they love to do business with those who love what they’re doing.

But the reverse is also true. Negative energy or a lack of enthusiasm turns off cooperation and kills off business. Just think of the last time a sales clerk treated you with apathy or indifference, and you’ll know what I mean.

It happened to me last week at the Minneapolis airport. I stopped at the shoe store located on the concourse, intent on buying a new pair of dress shoes for my next speaking engagement. I didn’t think there would be any problem. After all, I had the money, and they had the merchandise.

That wasn’t the case. The clerk responded to my questions with a couple of grunts and uh-huh’s as he continued to stock the shelves. I had to ask him two times if he had a particular style in my size. He didn’t think so, but he also didn’t check his inventory to make sure. When I asked him to check his inventory, he said, “Oh, okay, give me a couple of minutes.” He eventually came back with a pair of shoes for me to try — and then promptly returned to his shelf stocking.

Of course, by that time, I figured, “to heck with it,” and walked out. I didn’t want to waste my time, money, and energy on a person that didn’t seem to care. And I suspect the same goes for you.

Somehow or other, that clerk didn’t seem to understand that he was a standard setter. His lack of enthusiasm was picked up by me, and he literally threw away an easy, slam-dunk, no-brainer sale.

In a similar sense, you are a standard setter. Your enthusiasm — or lack of it — will soon be reflected in the attitudes and behaviors of those around you. And if you’re a leader, this is particularly important — because you’ll never get your followers more excited about a project than you happen to be. So you’ve got to demonstrate your enthusiasm.

How do you do that? How do you keep yourself genuinely enthusiastic all the time? I’ve found several things that work. That’s why I put together an entire 80-minute presentation on the subject. And you can have a copy of that CD entitled: “ATTITUDE: The Only True Disability in Life Is a Bad Attitude.”

To give you a taste of what you’ll learn, here are four things that will make and keep you enthusiastic all the time.

=> 1. Expect Good Things To Happen.

One of the founding fathers of modern-day psychology, William James, said what you expect to happen usually happens. So be very careful about what you expect.

To prove this point, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to gather his parishioners on New Year’s Eve and have them write down their personal expectations for the upcoming year. The parishioners would seal their expectations in an envelope, give them to Peale, and reassemble one year later to check out the results. Almost always, people’s expectations came true — and with amazing accuracy — everything from losing a marriage partner, to gaining a promotion, to dying that particular year.

The lesson is clear. You’ve got to practice positive expectations, and that, in turn, will give you more enthusiasm and better results.

=> 2. Act-As-If You’re Enthusiastic.

Remember when you were a kid and you played “pretend” or “make believe?” You “acted as if” you had the characteristics of your make-believe person, and you felt as though you were that person.

The same is true when learning to become more enthusiastic. Act-as-if you’re enthusiastic. Jump. Smile. Put an extra skip into your step. Add a lilt to your laugh. In other words, fake it until you make it.

The important point to remember is that action precedes feeling. If you act the way you’d like to be, you’ll soon be the way you act. So if you’re going to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.

=> 3. Talk Positive.

It is absolutely crucial that you stop using negative terminology, for how you speak has a profound effect upon your life. Your spoken words become embedded in your conscious mind, and with repetition, they are driven deeply into your subconscious mind. And down there, in your subconscious mind, your words become the guiding force, if not the controlling force, in your life.

Quite simply, you can’t go around talking negatively and expect positive results. It isn’t going to happen. So you’ve got to eliminate negative words and statements from your vocabulary.

Of course, it won’t be easy. You may be surrounded by negative thinkers and negative talkers. One corporate survey discovered the dismal fact that in the average workplace today nine negative words are spoken for every positive word.

I encourage you to talk more positively. Instead of talking about that “difficult and disagreeable client,” talk about the “opportunity to practice your interpersonal skills.” If you do, your mind will become more positive, and you will think, feel, and act more positively. You will become more enthusiastic.

=> 4. Unveil The Positive In Every Situation.

No matter what the situation, there is always a positive. Some see it and some don’t. In fact, this is the distinguishing characteristic of an enthusiastic, optimistic individual. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty — whereas the pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.

Which one are you more like? The optimist or the pessimist? Do you see a solution for every problem — or a problem in every solution? Do you see the green near every sand trap — or the sand trap around every green?

To become enthusiastic, purposely, consciously, unveil the positive in every situation — just like the old-time actress Molly Picon. When Molly heard some performers complaining about their accommodations on tour, she said, “I never complain about such things. My grandmother raised eleven children in four rooms.” Someone asked, “How did she manage?” “Easy,” Miss Picon replied, “She took in boarders.”

Thoreau said, “No one is so old as he who has outgrown enthusiasm.” And H. W. Arnold observed: “The worst bankrupt is the person who has lost his enthusiasm. Let a person lose everything in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.” They were both so right.

Enthusiasm is one of the prerequisites of success. And it is one of the characteristics of great leaders. So go out and get it.

Action:  During the next 7 days, whenever you are confronted with a difficult, frustrating, or negative situation, look for the positive in that situation. There is always, always, always something positive. If you can find it, you will maintain your enthusiasm or energy, and you will get through the situation a great deal easier.