Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson Trust 30 Challenge: I'm So Excited.

This Trust 30 prompt is from Mars Dorian. The challenge is about enthusiasm. When doing something exciting, the enthusiasm generated touches everything and everyone involved, creating unstoppable positive energy. All good, right? So how do I crank up that enthusiasm and bring that enthusiasm into everything I do? Engaging every activity with enthusiasm will make me unstoppable and lift up everyone in my circle.

A number of years ago I had committed an error of omission in the course of my day to day duties. I told my employer I would do a make good with the family I served on "my time" to avoid any further cost to the company. My employer became enraged with my offer. "We are a high profile public business and you are indelibly tied to my business. Anything you do in a public venue is MY time." Yes, I should have immediately run from this megalomaniac. I eventually did. Still, my employer's control issues should not cloud the lesson and how that lesson responds to the Mars prompt.

Everything I do is part of a larger whole. Taking my family to the movies, dragging my garbage cans to the curb, parking my car in the mall parking lot. Mundane as these task may be,  these tasks are part of me. If I do not attack each and every task with energy and zeal, I could potentially address all my responsibilities at less than my best. Enthusiasm is not governed by a spigot. Less than my best becomes pervasive. And, there's more.

Like it or not, time is finite. All tasks need to be done. It's best to approach the scut work as though it were a live redo of the 10 Commandments (the actual Commandments with Moses, not the movie with Charlatan Heston). Accomplishing the menial with high energy gets me to the prime function quicker and reduces the possibility of being forced to revisit the dull assignment.

Finally, most great accomplishments are built on a basis of dull repetition. Listen to Elton John, especially his early work. Sir Elton plays a mean piano in many different genre. But even his early rock and roll showcases his classical training. The killer piano you hear today (OK, 30 years ago) was made possible by hours and hours of boring drill on scales. I can't imagine a young Elton John enjoyed playing the same stuff over and over. Until he mastered the basic he couldn't completely create new melodies. The more energy and attention spent mastering the basic, the sooner he could get to the fun. The same goes for me. Back to Mars and the crazy employer.

My employer considered any of my time all of his time. He did not differentiate. Although this is a terrible way to run a business it does contain a great lesson. Just as my employer thought all time was the same (his), all tasks are indeed the same: IMPORTANT. There are no such things as unimportant responsibilities. If something must be done, the fact that the project must be done makes it important. The boring job is either a building block or a gateway to that which is exciting. Either way, the banal requires effervescent execution. The energy spent on the boring also serves as a launching ramp to the excitement necessary to execute that which engages.  Keeping this in mind is a way to bring enthusiasm to everything I do, creating an ever growing cache of positive energy for me and those around me.

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