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The One Ingredient of Success That Surpasses All Others

by Kevin D. Crone

October 10, 2017
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Dale Carnegie said, “If there is one ingredient of success that surpasses all others, it’s enthusiasm.” Development of enthusiasm in individuals, groups, athletic teams, companies and communities pays off in positive action, success and happiness.

I once read how Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest coaches of professional football of all time, succeeded. It was fascinating.  His players said, “He instilled an enthusiasm for his system and we had confidence in him.” The secret was in their minds and hearts. “The hard work, attention to detail of blocking, running hard, tackling, and constant improvement in skill came from our enthusiasm,” said one of his long term players. “We basically had the same team that was losing, dispirited, defeated and yet we went on to win division titles and championships year after year after he took over.” What happened to the Green Bay Packers can happen to any group or individual.

Since 2008, the stagnated economy has permeated our minds. It’s different out there. It’s real. We’re in a battle for business. All of us can let ourselves become dispirited and defeated from time to time. You can hear it in conversation, feel and see it in the environment, yet we have times when we’ve decided to have fun despite how we feel. We surprise ourselves and actually have fun. We decided to get involved in something we were supposed to do but really DIDN’T want to do, we put some enthusiasm in it, and it resulted in fairly good outcomes. Why?  We re-created some interest, showed it in our conversation and faces, and, as a result, we generated enthusiasm.

Dale Carnegie taught, “Act enthusiastic and you will become enthusiastic.” This sounds a little unusual but it isn’t. It works. Or you could try act un-enthusiastic and you’ll become un-enthusiastic. That works too. It’s contagious and everyone can join you in your misery. You can impact what happens either way.

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What goes on in the mind determines outcomes more than we realize. Enthusiasm makes the difference. It shows up in our smile, the spring in our step, our resolve, our sense of urgency, energy and action despite what’s going on around us. No phoney rah rah works when you feel discouraged,  lethargic, unmotivated or disinterested, but most times, a good talking to ourselves about what we want, or maybe what has to be done, re-setting goals and acting as if you were excited to go after them works. We begin to feel better. We get at it. Of course genuine, consistent interest in what we are doing for ourselves or others can make the difference between success and failure.

Dale Carnegie often quoted Frederick Williamson, CEO of a large railroad. “The longer I live, the more certain I am that enthusiasm is the little recognized secret of success.” The difference in actual skill, ability and intelligence between those teams or individuals who succeed and those who fail is usually not very great. But if two people or organizations are equally matched, the one who is enthusiastic has more in their favour.  And a person of modest ability, who possesses enthusiasm, will more often than not outstrip one who has first rate ability, intelligence and no enthusiasm. I agree with that. Don’t you?

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We’ve been coaching this secret for years in our public or in-house projects and programs and skeptical participants want to know how they can become more enthusiastic about their roles when the boss can’t show it, or when they have to do unpleasant tasks, or have to face lots of internal or customer disinterest.  Well, here are a few final suggestions from watching thousands of Ontarians become more enthusiastic as a habit.

  1. Give yourself a pep talk before any tough meeting, presentation or activity. Maybe you need to implement a new strategy or skill and you’re uncomfortable doing so.
  2. Walk faster, sit up in the chair, talk about those things as if you mean it. Show a little animation. You will become it.
  3. Show genuine passion and excitement in your conversation or presentation. Be yourself.  Talk about things you’re genuinely excited about. It will show.
  4. Get interested in the challenges of the job or business. Get studying what’s going on, what can be done, look for new opportunities for change or new processes that are available or could be created for you and or your team. Usually, with study, you can discover interest and enthusiasm.
  5. Whatever needs to be done just reset and express your goals. Everyone wants to follow someone who takes responsibility for their actions and expresses a vision or goals, encourages others to do the same and go forward with them.
  6. Take a stand for your strengths and the strengths of your organization. Let people know your commitment. It’s cool to be different – strong, interested and engaged.
  7. Build your physical energy. Walk, work-out, run. Eat well. Look good. Feel good. Everyone will see it.

Dale Carnegie had a plaque behind his desk to remind him of the power of enthusiasm. Here it is…

You are as young as your faith,
As old as your doubts;
As young as your self confidence,
As old as your fears;
As young as your hope,
As old as your despair.
Years may wrinkle the skin,
but to give up enthusiasm
wrinkles the soul.

My suggestion …..Put five times more enthusiasm into your work and life this week. See what happens.

Kevin D. Crone
Chairman
Dale Carnegie Business Group
kdcrone@dalecarnegie.ca
(905) 826-7300

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