Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), an American philosopher and poet, once said: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”.
Robert M. Unger and John Kuppillas Jr. (1991) in their book entitled “Success is a Choice” wrote: “Leaders in all walks of life use enthusiasm to inspire their followers in pursuing worthy objectives”. On the other hand, many dictators have used it to inspire their people to support evil.
Joe Girard (1995) in his book “Mastering Your Way To The Top” advised us to look for enthusiastic people. People who see the glass as half full, not as half empty.
From the above, what is enthusiasm then? According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, New 8th Edition (2010), enthusiasm is a strong feeling of excitement and interest in something and a desire to become involved in it.
To demonstrate how you can profit from enthusiasm, following two enthusiasm-related stories adapted from “A Year of Growing Rich” by Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) can be used as evergreen examples.
STORY NUMBER 1
Martha Berry founded a school in mountainous North Georgia for poor boys and girls whose parents could not pay for their education. It was financially difficult to carry on with her work during the early days. Finally she was able to arrange to meet with Henry Ford to ask for assistance. She explained to him what she was doing and asked Ford for a modest donation. Ford refused!
“Well then,” said Berry, “will you give us a bushel of peanuts?”
The novelty of the request so amused Ford that he gave her the money for the peanuts. Miss Berry helped her students plant and replant the peanuts until they had piled up a considerable sum of money. Then she took the money back to Ford to show how she had multiplied his small donation.
Henry Ford was so impressed that he donated enough tractors and farm equipment to put her school farm on a self-supporting basis. Through the years, Ford gave more than one million dollars to help build the beautiful stone building which now stand on the campus.
Ford said, “I couldn’t help being impressed with her sincerity and enthusiasm and the marvelous way she applied it on behalf of needy boys and girls.”
STORY NUMBER 2
Carol Downes gave up his job in a bank to join a recently formed automobile company owned by W. C. Durant. Checking for a possible promotion after six months, Downes went to see Durant and asked how he could improve his services to the company, what were his greatest faults and virtues in his work. Finally, he asked, “What position higher than my present one am I qualified to hold?”
Durant was amused with the sheer courage and enthusiasm as demonstrated by Downes’ questionnaires.
Durant gave it back to him with only the last question answered. He had written, “You are hereby appointed to supervise the installation of machinery and equipment in our new assembly plant, with no promise of either promotion or increased in pay”.
Durant also gave Downes a series of blueprints, showing where the machinery was to be installed and said, “Here are the instructions for you to follow. Now let’s see what you can do with them”.
With no engineering training, Durant could not even read them. Instead of admitting defeat that he had bitten off more than he could chew, he went out and found the right man to do the job. Downes hired an engineering firm to supervise the installation of the machinery under his direction and paid the fee from his own pocket.
One day as he walked to Durant’s office to report that the job had been completed – a week ahead of schedule – he passed a row of executive offices. He was shocked to see one of the doors was lettered CAROL DOWNES, GENERAL MANAGER. Durant told him that he was promoted to that position with a rise in pay.
Durant said, “When I give you that blueprint, I knew you couldn’t read them. But I wanted to see how you would handle the situation”. He added, “Your resourcefulness and enthusiasm in finding someone to do the job marked you as good executive material. If you had come back with an alibi instead of a complete job, I would have fired you”.
As Ros Jay (2004) had written in her book, “The Successful Candidate”: “Enthusiasm is largely about putting your heart into what you’re doing”. While Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) in his book “Keys To Success” wrote: “A person without enthusiasm is like a watch without a mainspring”.