“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” R. Buckminster Fuller
(editors note: originally published on Jul 27, 2009)
Enthusiasm: A Key Ingredient to a Passionate Life
Last weekend I went on a trip to a unique place named Tortuguero, in Costa Rica. Tortuguero is home to the largest leather back turtle conservation project in the world. With only 2000 inhabitants, Tortuguero is very remote. While a guest in Tortuguero, I could not help but make some observations on the type of lifestyle the natives lead.
Back in The States I would say the majority of people live to work; America is a society of workaholics. There is nothing wrong with working hard, but I feel that many people, after a while, forget why they are working so hard. Here in Tortuguero the people definitely work to live, and make sure they make time to enjoy the little things which make life so precious.
The people in Tortuguero derive their income directly from tourism. Even though Tortugeuro is remote, internet access is available and many basic consumer goods can be purchased. There are also several shops and restaurants, and many residents make their living by selling souvenirs, handmade crafts, and providing boat tours of the amazing canals. Other people make a living by helping tourists find the leather back turtles when they come on shore to lay their eggs at night.
The people of Tortuguero take great pride in their work because their survival depends on it. When they are not working for money, which is a great part of the day, they really know how to relax. You see people everywhere laying in their hammocks reading, listening to music, and sleeping. I also observed painters painting, musicians playing, and people catching about all the latest news.
My encounters with the locals were very positive, and my favorite person who I met was Ernesto, our Turtle Guide. I have been on many guided tours in my travels, but Ernesto had to be the most passionate, enthusiastic, caring guide I have ever met. He truly cared about giving us a great experience, and it seemed he received great pleasure in seeing us happy as well.
(Some Video Highlights of my trip to Tortuguero)
To me, Ernesto’s greatest quality was his enthusiasm. It’s his enthusiasm which allows him to enjoy making his living as a turtle guide. I asked Ernesto if he would ever move to the city. He said he didn’t like the city life, and that he has everything he needs in Tortuguero, and enjoys his simple lifestyle.
It was clear to me that Ernesto’s enthusiasm was not for what he did for a living, but simply for life. He really made it a point to tell me life is truly a gift, that he respects his natural environment, and is passionate about conserving the Turtles as they provide his daily necessities.
The Meaning of Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm first appeared in the English language in 1603 with the meaning “possession by a God.” The source of the word is the Greek “enthousiasmos,” which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, “having the God within.” My encounter with Ernesto revealed that he was definitely possessed by some type of divine energy.
When you possess enthusiasm, you possess power. Consider the benefits of enthusiasm:
- Enthusiasm indicates the degree of faith you possess. If you ever have an idea you want to pursue, enthusiasm is of paramount importance if it is ever going to reach its potential. No one in this world can accomplish everything all on their own. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are doing, how will you ever get others to support, trust, and have faith in you?
- Enthusiasm produces energy, both physical and emotional. When you are enthusiastic you produce an internal energy that will help you take the necessary actions to accomplish your goals.
- Enthusiasm is contagious. When you genuinely become enthusiastic others will also follow. When you are truly enthusiastic you radiate an amazing energy which makes others want to find out how they can feel the same way.
- Enthusiasm offers a “slight edge.” If two candidates for a position have the same qualifications, the enthusiastic person will come on top. Enthusiasm instills faith in people, confirming that you will approach obstacles in a positive way.
- Enthusiasm helps you to overcome obstacles. Obstacles simply mean that you need a new way of thinking to overcome them, this should be a signal that this was as far as your old way of thinking could get you. Enthusiasm gives you the right energy to contemplate new ways of thinking to come up with creative solutions to your problems.
How To Be Enthusiastic In Your Life
- Don’t listen to the naysayers. Enthusiasm has the potential to change you and your situation. Many people hate to change. Those people will not be fond of your new found enthusiasm, because you may make them feel bad if they don’t change as well. People may become jealous when they see someone else take an idea and move with it.
- Get out of a negative mindset. Enthusiasm is a dynamic energy which should be used for worthwhile positive objectives, and should be cultivated with a proper mindset. Enthusiasm for the wrong reasons will only produce negative outcomes.
- Take inspiration from children. Children are masters of knowing how to live. Their enthusiasm for exploring the unknown gives them immense amounts of energy. It’s as if an enthusiastic young child has a natural energy drink flowing through their veins. It’s enthusiasm, not Red Bull, which “gives them wings”.
- Find your unique valuable contribution. As soon as you discover your divine abilities, and get clear on what your unique contribution is going to be, you will begin to cultivate your enthusiasm. If you have always felt like painting, but never have, don’t wait; Start immediately! If, early on you begin to feel a new power rise up within you, this is a great sign that this could be your valuable contribution to the whole.
- Try new things. Life is all about the experiences you have If you never try anything new, how will you ever find out what makes you enthusiastic? Keep trying new things until you have an experience which makes you enthusiastic. Any experience which makes you feel enthusiastic is worthy of further exploration.
- From thinking to feeling. When you feel enthusiastic learn to become aware of how you came to feel that way. Become completely aware and immerse yourself in every sensation you feel. Enthusiasm lives in the heart, not in the mind. The more you live through your heart, the more it’s power will be available to you. Enthusiasm can and will help you get in tune with other aspects of your being.