If you’re anything like me, when you get excited about things, sometimes your brain forgets to tell your face. You might be really excited about an upcoming event, a family function, or something cool happening at work, but you might not exude the same level of excitement that you feel. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to remind your brain to tell you face how excited you are about whatever it is that has you excited, and that to me is enthusiasm. I believe that enthusiasm and optimism are choices that we make each day, and our ability to express our conscious decision to be enthusiastic and optimistic can have a very positive effect on those around us. The legendary John Wooden thought that enthusiasm was so important that he included it as a cornerstone in his pyramid of success.
If you can’t tell already from my past blog posts, I’m a pretty big sports nut (hence all the references to sports and coaching). With that in mind, I recently stumbled upon a YouTube video of the Jack Harbaugh. If you don’t know Jack, he had a successful career coaching football, and is the father of Jim Harbaugh (current head football coach at the University of Michigan), and John Harbaugh (current head of the Baltimore Ravens). In this clip Jack is rallying the fans at the University of Michigan, and he ends by saying, “We have a thing in our family that goes way, way back, ‘Attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!’”
Throughout this clip you can feel the level of enthusiasm that Jack has for the University of Michigan. It’s not what he’s saying, but HOW he’s saying it. You can’t watch this clip without feeling how much he cares for what he’s talking about it, because he exudes it. And if you watch the people in the background, and hear the cheers from the crowd, you can get a sense for how his message is resonating with those he’s trying to rally; the effects are palpable.
I first watched this clip about four or five days ago, and every morning since, I’ve woken up with that phrase running through my head. Last few days I’ve made a conscious effort to choose to be enthusiastic about what I’m doing, and to try and share that enthusiasm with others. As I’ve been doing this (not always successfully), I’ve actually felt myself become more excited and enthusiastic about whatever it is that I’m doing. I know that this all may sound a bit disingenuous, and I’m not suggesting to be a complete phony in everything that you’re doing, but I really believe that that there’s power in consciously deciding on our outlook each day. So, go ahead and give it a shot: “Attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!”
And here’s one more clip for your viewing pleasure of Jim Harbaugh talking about how enthusiastic his dad was while growing up. The clip’s a bit lengthy, but the main point is made in the first four to five minutes: