Every morning you choose whether you'll be happy or sad. It is YOUR choice and you ALWAYS have a choice!

The Six Characteristics
of Enthusiastic People

by Mary Marcdante
excerpted from Living with Enthusiasm


It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.

                                               ~ Maya Angelou

If you ever want to see enthusiasm at its most charismatic, watch TV infomercials. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve written down an 800 number or reached for the phone, ready to buy, yet had no need for the product being sold. Church services are also a great place to experience enthusiasm. A good spiritual leader can rouse even the most staid and stingy to contribute their time and money to their mission. And when children are excited about anything, they provide wonderful examples of enthusiasm.

Whether they burst with excitement or simmer quietly, when you’re in the presence of enthusiastic people, you feel happier and more excited about your life, perhaps you even feel inspired…

~ Mary Marcdante

We’re drawn in by the energy and passion that enthusiastic people have for their idea, product, or desire. Their voice, body language (smiling, direct eye contact, open body posture), and deep conviction mesmerize us into following them, just as children followed the mythical Pied Piper. Enthusiastic people are energy-givers. Enthusiastic people inspire us to become more confident, open, and alive; they help us be our best and share ourselves more willingly with others.

Highly enthusiastic people possess six characteristics (listed below). I’m using famous people as examples to help you quickly identify these traits. You’ll see that each person has a unique way of expressing enthusiasm. While all of these individuals express their own brand of enthusiasm, not all of them exhibit all six characteristics. Yet an energetic component is common to every one. Though their enthusiasm is hard to describe, you recognize the energy and feel it when you’re in their presence.

As you read through the definitions and names that follow, think of people in your own life who match these characteristics. If you don’t recognize all of those listed, I hope you’ll be curious and do an online search on Google to learn about them. Also think about yourself and where your strengths are. Take the quiz following the descriptions to help you determine what to pay extra attention to over the next six days. The more you can connect the information you find to your everyday life and relationships, the more enthusiasm will flow through you and the richer your experiences will be.

Characteristics of Enthusiastic People

1) Enthusiastic people RADIATE ENERGY. The #1 characteristic of enthusiastic people is their ability to radiate positive energy. When these people walk into a room, heads turn and people gather. Their smile lights up a room. Also referred to as charisma, their power comes from within. Famous Energizers: Mother Teresa, Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou, Oprah.

Enthusiastic people are
CURIOUS AND INTERESTED in life. They ask a lot of questions and explore what interests them. They love learning and live in a state of wonder, surprise, and delight: Famous Curious People: Sylvia Earl, Anna Quindlen, Dale Chihuly, the Delaney Sisters, Barbara Walters, Steven Spielberg. 

3) Enthusiastic people FOCUS ON THE GOOD (even when things are bad). They emphasize what they can do rather than what they can't do. They look for the gift in difficulties and live life with gratitude.  FAMOUS POSITIVE TALKERS: Mr. Rogers, Christopher Reeve, Louise Hay, Norman Vincent Peale. 

4) Enthusiastic people FEEL DEEPLY AND LAUGH OFTEN. Laughter helps them keep things in perspective and just as they are open to joy, they also allow tears. They show compassion for life's difficulties and use humor to help themselves and others through tough times. FAMOUS COMPASSIONATE LAUGHERS: Bill Cosby, Carol Burnett, Anne Lamott, Tom Hanks, Patch Adams

5) Enthusiastic people DO SOMETHING THEY LOVE every day, no matter how small. They are passionate about their work, hobbies, craft, or the sports they play and it shows. FAMOUS PASSIONATE PEOPLE: Julia Child, Suze Orman, SARK, Venus and Serena Williams, Lance Armstrong.

6) Enthusiastic people SERVE A GREATER PURPOSE than themselves. They have a desire to help others and build community. They are naturally drawn to share their enthusiasm with others. FAMOUS COMMUNITY BUILDERS:  Oprah, The Dali Lama, Marianne Williamson, Cheryl Richardson, Nelson Mandala. 

Enthusiastic people are like great infomercial hosts. Even if you don’t need what they’re selling, you call and order it anyway.

~ Mary Marcdante

Get Out In The World and Act “As If”

How enthusiastic are you? Which characteristic is your strength? Which one would make the biggest difference in your life if you spent more time developing it? Here's a tip: Acknowledge yourself for the characteristics that reflect you to a high degree. Then choose one characteristic that isn't part of your personality or daily habit, and “act as if” you already embody this quality. (Acting “as if” breaks down subconscious resistance and helps you assimilate new ideas more easily.) At the end of each day,  record in a "Joy Journal" what you learned about yourself in regard to this quality.

For example: If you are still looking for your perfect passionate work and your job isn’t satisfying, think of a person you know who is (review the list from above if you can't think of anyone). When you go to work tomorrow, act as if you are passionate about your job. This is a clear choice to “fake it, even if you don’t want to make it.” For just 24 hours, act “as if” you do love what your work requires you to do and carry out the things you think people would do if they were crazy-in-love with their work. Or, if you already love your job, choose something that you’re ho-hum about – maybe it’s cleaning the cat’s litter box, writing that report you’ve been putting off, or something you really dislike doing (for me it’s washing floors), then do it with reckless, loving abandon. Smile often, and really put your heart and soul into whatever you’re doing. The key is to act “as if” you love it (or delegate it to someone who loves doing it!).

To turn this characteristic into a strength, focus on doing one thing every day for the next 21-days to increase this quality in your life. It takes 21-30 days to make or break a habit, so focus on what you can do and watch for miracles. Email me your results, questions, and comments. I want to know how you're doing. Enjoy!

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Copyright 2003-2012 by Mary Marcdante. For more information 
or to order your signed copy of Living with Enthusiasm, click here.

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