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Enthusiasm
Old 06-18-2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Enthusiasm

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -Emerson

I attribute my success chiefly to my ability to maintain an elevated mood. (paraphrase) -John Templeton

But how do you will yourself to have an elevated mood?

I find myself randomly falling into periods where I'm extremely interested in something. Sleep deprivation effects fall away and I feel that there is no greater gift than the opportunity to live and engage in this pursuit. How can I fall into this wonderful state more often?
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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By making whatever you are doing in life your hobby... Some will scoff, but this works. Consider your job your hobby, consider your attempts at cooking a hobby, washing the car, mowing the yard, etc. Make them all hobbies - everyone enjoys working on their hobbies so the more you can view life in this way the more you will enjoy...
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:00 PM   #3
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Meds.

Just kidding, but that sounds like the definition of somewhat bipolar--elevated mood, becoming extremely interested in something when sleep deprivation falls away. Then what? Do you fall into the opposite of that state?
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #4
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Not in the sense of bipolar disorder. Although I feel great, I don't feel it is mania. It feels more grounded or based on reason than that somehow.* And I return to a normal state instead of hitting a very low state.

I used to have more mood swings until about four years ago when I started exercising regularly.

I'll try to view even mowing the lawn as a hobby. I guess this attitude is good for improving one's average mood, but I doubt it will kick off these really great experiences. Thanks for the idea.

*I mean that there was a clear cause for my mood boost. I was working on installing and setting up a new piece of software that promised to increase my productivity at work. The idea, or hope, just filled me with excitement somehow.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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Here's a favorite quote that maybe applies to your topic:
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

I'm a serial hobbyist. I find something I want to learn about, go all-in, reading everything I can about it, find the point where I've learned as much as I want, then move on to the next thing. Sometimes I revisit old topics, but more often I use them as building blocks to something new.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:49 PM   #6
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It really does work. I wish I had figured it out before I got all the gray hair (LOL).

I have got moments, but I try to find a positive to everything I do. At my last brick and mortar career the people hated me - they would be running around in panic due to a new deadline and me - I would be laughing and just getting it done... I took it as a challenge to get it done and I have always enjoyed challenges. I have actually had my bosses talk to me behind closed doors about the complaints from my co-workers about me always having a positive attitude.

It took me time to get it to work at work and there were times that I was hard pressed, but I try to take each new challenge as just that - a challenge that I will excel at...

For instance with mowing the yard - there is nothing better looking than a freshly mowed yard so when you start think of how good it will look when you finish and how good that nice tall glass of ice tea is going to taste when you are finished and you are cooling off... Makes the mowing easier.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:55 PM   #7
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Not in the sense of bipolar disorder. Although I feel great, I don't feel it is mania. It feels more grounded or based on reason than that somehow.* And I return to a normal state instead of hitting a very low state.

I used to have more mood swings until about four years ago when I started exercising regularly.

I'll try to view even mowing the lawn as a hobby. I guess this attitude is good for improving one's average mood, but I doubt it will kick off these really great experiences. Thanks for the idea.

*I mean that there was a clear cause for my mood boost. I was working on installing and setting up a new piece of software that promised to increase my productivity at work. The idea, or hope, just filled me with excitement somehow.
My new hobby is mowing the lawn. My doctor said to get more exercise and this way I can go walking without leaving the yard and can see something for the effort. Usually my boyfriend mows it but I told him I want to.
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Old 06-18-2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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I'm a serial hobbyist. I find something I want to learn about, go all-in, reading everything I can about it, find the point where I've learned as much as I want, then move on to the next thing. Sometimes I revisit old topics, but more often I use them as building blocks to something new.
Wow, I thought it was just me! I can do many things pretty well (it seems), but I'm not great at anything. I've always been that way in everything I do - I was that way at work too, I'd rather be knowledgeable on everything than an expert in a few areas. Most people I know put all their focus on fewer activities or even devote themselves to one activity, so I consider myself (blissfully) abnormal...

And I agree with the OP, being positive can only help in life, though I admit I have to remind myself often enough. Being negative and complaining never helped in my experience. YMMV
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Old 06-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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I raise my enthusiasm by thinking of the day I can officially FIRE!
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:34 PM   #10
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When I get unmotivated or slothish. I stop and think how much worse it could be. Then I realize how good I have it.

Or when it's really bad I think about a hot piece of




Sizzling bacon
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Old 06-18-2012, 05:46 PM   #11
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Sarah in SC, I can identify with your description of serial hobbyist. Have you found any good method for finding the next fascinating thing to delve into? Or do you just let it happen, and if you don't have any real motivation to investigate anything for months, you are okay with that.
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It really does work. I wish I had figured it out before I got all the gray hair (LOL).

I have got moments, but I try to find a positive to everything I do. At my last brick and mortar career the people hated me - they would be running around in panic due to a new deadline and me - I would be laughing and just getting it done... I took it as a challenge to get it done and I have always enjoyed challenges. I have actually had my bosses talk to me behind closed doors about the complaints from my co-workers about me always having a positive attitude.

It took me time to get it to work at work and there were times that I was hard pressed, but I try to take each new challenge as just that - a challenge that I will excel at...

For instance with mowing the yard - there is nothing better looking than a freshly mowed yard so when you start think of how good it will look when you finish and how good that nice tall glass of ice tea is going to taste when you are finished and you are cooling off... Makes the mowing easier.
Positive thinking helps, but it improves my mood incrementally rather than catapulting me to a new level. However, you seem to have applied the practice for a long time and consistently, so I'll give it another look.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #12
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I'm in the same category with Sarah and Midpack, I get focused on a new thing for a while and eventually move on. Many of these hobbies (e.g. drawing) are fairly brief - six months to a year. Others can last for a long time (windsurfing was 18 years). I have often wished I could recapture an interest in some, like drawing; but never do. I was lucky to be a senior manager in my career. I could get intensely interested in various things that interested me for a while and trust my staff to focus on the areas I lost interest in. Luckily that never bit me in the back side.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:41 PM   #13
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How interesting that there a quite a few like me, though not really surprising when you think about how people get to "here" on the forum.
I tend to find things to do through serendipity, waiting for something to come along kinda like Don describes. I think us all being big readers has a lot to do with it--whenever I come across an interesting review of a book, I try to reserve it from the library right away.
I, too, wish I could regain some of my old interests, especially in (again) getting more exercise and losing some dang weight! That seems among the hardest to recapture.

I often thought that the perfect job would be a project manager, in charge of just one thing (albeit a large "thing") for some period of time, then able to leave and find something new. I may be trying to live vicariously through my DH in encouraging him to do periodic contract work once he quits his current job.

I have been able to keep up interest in boating, but moved from sail to power and less interested in long distance cruising. Having just finished a year of planning for our Peru trip, I'm eager to get started on plans for something new.

DH says he can always tell when I'm off on a new tangent when he goes to pick up my books at the library and there are 10-12 books on some entirely random topic he's never heard of. The worst for him is when the titles denote something I'm going to want him to build for me.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
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Since others have already side tracked the thread...

Hello. My name is Keim, and I am a serial hobbyist. Pardon my length, as I have engaged in this behavior for a long time, but never talked about it.*

I have numerous how-to manuals related to my varied interests. I take on a hobby until I have a good general knowledge of how to do it, and then my enthusiasm wanes. I never completely drop the hobby, but my interests move on.

Below is a sampling of some of my hobbies over the years...

My current hobby is BBQing (We don't have any good BBQ restaurants around here. I wonder if I could make some. Better look at a manual...). I have become quite proficient on the grill. I also hand built a wood smoker, for delicious ribs, pork and briskets. I make my own sauces and rubs. This hobby is morphing into a general cooking hobby, as I am now looking into other cuisines (I bought a general cooking manual last night.) Of my hobbies, the family seems to enjoy this one the most. If the food is good, the family loves it. If it isn't, the dog loves it. Either way, a family member wins!

Another recent hobby is beer brewing. I'll be bottling a batch today. I discovered this hobby on a whim over beers with a friend about four years ago (Hmmm... Marv can do it. He's no genius. Maybe I can too. Think I'll buy a how-to manual). At first I brewed a lot. And it was delicious. Now I brew less. It is still delicious.

Before that it was home electronics. Not buying, making (Dammit! My receiver broke. I can make something better than this hunk of junk. I'll need a how-to manual). I built a tube amplification system from scratch for my home stereo. My serial hobbyism didn't stop there. I also built a pre-amp and phono amp. Yes, I also built speakers. And I rebuilt a wall phone from 1910 (Found a manual for that too). I was in fast and deep. This hobby branched off from my longer term music collecting hobby (Hmmm... I've got a lot of records and CDs. I should put together an audiophile quality system. That's not easy. I'll need a manual.)

I also have a long term hobby car (And several manuals for it). My interest in fixing it up waxes and wanes. It is currently waxing, as I save towards a total restore. I'm sure I'll be needing a how-to manual soon.

I blame my serial hobbyism on the Boy Scouts of America. A hobby I started in elementary school, and continue to this day. Through its handbook and merit badge system I was exposed to dozens of different and unique topics.

Yes, I am a serial hobbyist, and I hope I stay that way.

*Phew! Feels good to get that off my chest
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:22 AM   #15
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Keim has hit on something--I think we need to institute merit badges for our serial hobbies!

I took the Gallup Strengthsfinder a number of years ago, and one of my 5 themes was Input, which sounds like a lot of you folks would share as a strength. Here is the description:

You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information -- words, facts, books, and quotations -- or you might collect tangible objects such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity. If you read a great deal, it is not necessarily to refine your theories but, rather, to add more information to your archives. If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away.

Why are they worth storing? At the time of storing it is often hard to say exactly when or why you might need them, but who knows when they might become useful? With all those possible uses in mind, you really don't feel comfortable throwing anything away. So you keep acquiring and compiling and filing stuff away. It's interesting. It keeps your mind fresh. And perhaps one day some of it will prove valuable.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:46 AM   #16
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Keim has hit on something--I think we need to institute merit badges for our serial hobbies!
In all seriousness, BSA Merit Badge books are a great way to find out more about a potential interest. They cover about 150 different areas. They are designed to provide a solid foundation on their topic. They provide some good activities to get you started. They are cheap. And, they are written at about an 8th grade level.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:07 PM   #17
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Wow, I thought it was just me! I can do many things pretty well (it seems), but I'm not great at anything. I've always been that way in everything I do - I was that way at work too, I'd rather be knowledgeable on everything than an expert in a few areas. Most people I know put all their focus on fewer activities or even devote themselves to one activity, so I consider myself (blissfully) abnormal...

And I agree with the OP, being positive can only help in life, though I admit I have to remind myself often enough. Being negative and complaining never helped in my experience. YMMV
I also thought it was just me. In the past there were indications that this site has a lot of INT personality types. Do you suppose there is a correlation?
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #18
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This is really interesting to me. I don't think I have ever really thrown myself fully into something, and then gone on my way. I usually go much more slowly, maybe never become an expert at all, but continue to enjoy whatever it is at whatever level I want to.

Ha
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:21 PM   #19
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This is really interesting to me. I don't think I have ever really thrown myself fully into something, and then gone on my way. I usually go much more slowly, maybe never become an expert at all, but continue to enjoy whatever it is at whatever level I want to.

Ha
I think that is the best way be. Unfortunately for me, I feel like a jack of all trades but a master of none, most likely due to strong initial enthusiasm which soon waines. Then if I return to something I was reasonably good at and the results stink, I may throw in the towel.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:57 PM   #20
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I can't really blame my lack of mastery on the short term nature of my preoccupations. It has more to do with marginal skills and marginal athleticism. I generally shy away from DIY type hobbies because my fixit skills are so bad. I did find myself caught up in auto mechanics in my 20s (tune-ups, rebuilding carburetors, R&R alternators. etc). I think lack of funds started me out and then "enthusiasm" took over and I got manuals and attended evening trade school. Once I could afford to drop that one, it was gone like yesterday's news. Sports can be all consuming but primarily individual sports like skiing and windsurfing where I can focus intensely and slowly develop skills despite the howling protests of my uncoordinated muscles. Cooking has become a life long hobby - but the enthusiasm phase waned after a few years. Now it is more like an assigned set of duties I keep at it primarily because DW insists.
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