Enthusiasm is what makes the
difference between reaching our goals and giving up before we
get started. Thomas Edison said, "If the only thing we
leave our kids is the quality of enthusiasm, we will have given
them an estate of incalculable value." Edison's research
laboratory burned to the ground when he was 67. As the fire
consumed his world-famous "invention factory," Edison
told his children, "Kids, go get your mother. She'll never
see another fire like this one." Edison knew that enthusiasm
is the best antidote for tragedy, and it's the most powerful
weapon to use in the war against procrastination.
I have learned that my level
of enthusiasm has nothing to do with my feelings; my feelings
wake up on a different side of the bed every day. To take control
of my life, I must choose the way I feel-I can't let my feelings
control me. Can you talk yourself into a positive frame of mind
when you're discouraged? How do you keep yourself motivated?
How do you stay focused when a job is tedious? How do you handle
failure when your plan isn't going well?
- Stay away from negative people. Attitudes are contagious-negative
people infect us with negative attitudes. Associate with positive
thinkers; their self-confidence is contagious, too.
- Schedule difficult tasks for
the time of day when your energy is highest. If you haven't
determined the best time for you to tackle the day's least appealing
jobs, try doing them as early as possible.
- Tackle a problem that's been
a thorn in your side. When you get in the habit of making things
happen, your enthusiasm goes through the roof. Inactivity is
a major cause of depression and anxiety. (On the other hand,
you can increase your energy level without eliminating other
forces that cause procrastination; teenagers are particularly
adept at expending enormous amounts of energy without getting
anything done. Always remember that any technique is only effective
when used as part of a total strategy.)
When you breeze through a task
with particular ease and competence, make a note of the time
of day. And ask yourself what other factors might have contributed
to making you more productive. When you start to discover a
pattern, you will have found how to operate at a higher level
every day. And when you identify the time of day when you are
usually most efficient, schedule some of your least enjoyable
tasks for that time.
We must continue to learn new
things as if we were going to live forever, while living each
day as if it were the last. Telling myself that "Today
is the first day of the rest of my life" doesn't work for
me. If today were the last day of my life, how would I live
it? That is the question I ask myself when I must fight against
the forces of procrastination.
Always remember that enthusiasm
is a choice. Mark Twain said, "Do something every day that
you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring
the habit of doing your duty without pain."