What of enthusiasm?

I wish I were more enthusiastic about things. I see people all the time who light up from nothing more than seeing someone they know.  I’m not sure if it is by nature or nurture, but my disposition is such that I almost always suspect that this seemingly overzealous behavior is not genuine.  At eight in the morning, how the f*** are you so excited that you need to draw the “heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey, how are YOOOOOOOOU?” out longer than a Hendrix guitar solo? It’s irritating. I become less enthusiastic as a result of your cavalcade of early morning enthusiasm.

Yeah, I’m talking to you–girl who sits in the front row of my research for ad campaigns class, you, who asks asinine questions just to make sure that the professor knows your paying attention.  So that you can get your Grade–because Grades and Definitions are clearly the only stick by which Talent or Skill can be measured–right girl in the front row? Right?! … God I dislike girl in the front row. Which is ridiculous really, I don’t even know her, I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting.  Maybe the reason her enthusiasm irritates me is really because it takes so much to truly get me excited, and I’m somehow jealous of her disposition.

Maybe if I got a bold coffee instead of mild before that class I wouldn’t be so salty about it.

Maybe I should stop digressing. Back to enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is not, in my opinion, something that can be controlled or chosen. I think you feel it or you don’t, but if you look at things in a different light one could be more enthusiastic as a result of that new perspective. For example, setting goals for your self could add enthusiasm to things you might not otherwise be thrilled about doing.

Say you desperately want to go backpacking in Southeast Asia, but you can’t afford it because you are a college student without a job. Say in one of your classes you have an assignment that, for whatever reason, you aren’t particularly enthusiastic about, in fact you hate it almost as much as I hate girl who sits in the front row. She’s so annoying.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the assignment is to write a dissertation on the effects of new technology on the workforce and human relationships so as to better understand the decline in human development. You know that if you do well on this paper your professor might write you a letter of recommendation, which might help you get a job which might help you pay off your student loans before you’re 70 which means you could blow some of your money on a few things other than debt and bills and insurance which means that you could afford a plane ticket and a visa.

Boom. You’re riding on a boat with a Vietnamese fisherman with a crazy mustache who keeps offering you cups of Cobra blood to drink even though you repeatedly tell him you aren’t THIRSTY!  Just what you’ve always dreamed of. And it’s all because you wrote that paper, enthusiastically. It’s Enthusiasm Transference.

So there you go, connecting long-term goals to short term ones is one way to become more enthusiastic about your work.  You transfer your enthusiasm from the remedial task at hand to what it could bring you in the long run.

But what if you don’t know what you want in the long term, and the idea of planning things out too far in advance feels boring and sticky and scares the shit out of you because of how unexciting it would be. Then what?

Well. Then… I don’t know, there’s always whiskey? It worked for Hemingway.

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