Enthusiasm – The Key to Creativity and Innovation
Posted by Plish on March 10, 2010
I just saw the movie Percy Jackson & The Olympians – The Lightning Thief. It’s a story about a teen who is the offspring of the Greek god Poseidon and a human. Percy is a demi-god. The story follows Percy’s growth in realizing who he is is and the powers he has.
So, what does this have to do with creativity and innovation?
What is enthusiasm?
The word is from the Greek and it means to be possessed by or inspired by a god, to have god within. Synonyms for enthusiasm are: activity, ardency, ardor, avidity, boldness, conviction, craze, dash, devotion, eagerness, earnestness, ecstasy, emotion, energy, exhilaration, feeling, fervor, fever, fieriness, fire, flame, flare, frenzy, fury, gaiety, glow, heat, hilarity, impetuosity, intensity, interest, joy, joyfulness, keenness, life, mania, mirth, nerve, oomph, passion, pep, rapture, red heat, relish, snap, spirit, transport, vehemence, verve, vim, vivacity, warmth, zeal, zealousness, zest, élan.
If you have dabbled in Greek mythology you’ll notice right away that the list of synonyms reads like a description of the attributes of varied Greek deities. The question is:
Do some of those words describe you?
Henry David Thoreau said, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
It is a chilling thought to imagine a society where people might age more quickly per Thoreau’s observation than physically. Yet, this might be happening.
Recent research shows that only 45 percent of people in the workplace are happy with their jobs. In other words, enthusiasm is indeed in short supply. If enthusiasm is in short supply then you can bet that creative work and innovation is also lacking. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ““Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Well, then, how do we get enthusiasm back?
Enthusiasm means to be possessed or inspired by a god, to have god within. So let’s do a thought experiment.
What if you were taken over by a god of whatever skill or talent you use on a regular basis?
Whether or not you believe in God or gods is besides the point, just imagine what it would be like. What would you change? How would you behave? What is now possible for you? What do you have to be afraid of?
“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” -Henry Ford
Now, seize those feelings and thoughts! Don’t listen to the negative voices that say you can’t do something. Listen to that whispering voice within that is leading you to great things. When you act on enthusiasm, you become enthusiastic.
This isn’t about being religious, it’s about being human – being passionate and excited about life! It’s about recognizing that spark within, about seeing yourself as a power for good, about appreciating and authentically sharing who you are.
So, look for that spark within and be enthusiastic. If people work for you, empower them to be able to be enthused participants in life. Do this and the creativity will flow, innovations will happen, and perhaps more importantly, we will all be better people.