Formulas, stories and insights
By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
BEFORE WE WORK ON INCREASING OUR ENTHUSIASM, WE need to start by becoming aware of the enthusiasm we already experience. What are you naturally enthusiastic about? If you cannot answer this question yet, by the time you finish reading this book, you will find the question easier to answer.
Be aware of even small sparks of enthusiasm. As with other traits and emotional states, it is not that we either are enthusiastic or we are not. Rather there are many different levels along a vast continuum. Sometimes we feel tiny sparks of excitement. At the other end of the spectrum, at times we might be totally thrilled and our level of enthusiasm is intense. Everyone experiences those tiny sparks from time to time. This is where we can start our journey.
Being consciously aware of every moment of enthusiasm builds it up in your mind. The same way that many people are angry and are not aware of it or are anxious and are not aware of it, so too, it is common for people not to be aware of their fleeting moments of positive excitement. Since it is not noticed, it is not reinforced. Now that you are becoming more aware of the concept and feelings of enthusiasm, you will automatically notice it more than before.
Your magnificent brain stores up each experience in its enormous archives. Unlike books on shelves that stay the same size regardless of how many times they are read, every time you experience enthusiasm and are aware of it, the size of your enthusiasm section in your brain expands. The neural pathways that lead to enthusiasm are strengthened and you will find it easier to become enthusiastic more frequently.
Im rarely enthusiastic about anything, I told the person who suggested that I become aware of my moments of enthusiasm.
You might not be labeling enthusiastic moments enthusiasm. You might consider them, excitement, or enjoyment, or just positive feelings. Also, you might be experiencing them fleetingly and they dont register in your mind, he said to me. I suggest that for the next week you keep a list of every experience of positive feelings that have a connection with enthusiasm. Write down exactly what you were doing, or what you said to someone else or what someone else said to you.
I did this for two weeks, and I was highly surprised that my list was longer than I thought it would be. Nothing that special happened during those two weeks, but I caught myself feeling bits and pieces of excitement that I had never would have realized I experienced if not for this exercise. I now enthusiastically recommend this to others.