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Some will call it, “Enthusiasm,” and those of us who are more continental might call it a Joie de vivre, a joy for living, but there seems to be a sad lack of it. If you feel that way as well, it is not your imagination.

A quick search of the Internet will reveal numerous polls, surveys, articles, and editorials on a generalized loss of enthusiasm. A decline of passion has been noted among entrepreneurs, churchgoers, high school and college students, and business executives.


Emotional Dependency

We are not rubber bands, or even exercise bands (and that’s a small part of the problem). A rubber band stretches and returns to its shape within a specific range, when it is pulled too far, even a child knows what happens (and that’s another piece to the problem).

Then there are energy drinks. In a recent report from Reuters on energy drinks it was noted that, “On average, energy drink consumers had higher caffeine intake compared with those who did not consume the drinks: 227 mg vs. 52.1 mg among adolescents, 278.7 mg vs. 135.3 mg among young adults, and 348.8 mg vs. 219.0 mg among middle-aged adults.”

Why do we drink so much caffeine these days? To keep us going, to keep us “energized” and active. In a related way, obesity rates have skyrocketed. Why is it that our local coffee shops are stocked with fatty foods and gooey drinks?

Then there is the digital, hand-held device, the smartphone, that has become our constant companions and – as each successive generation has adopted the method – the dependency has increased until more and more we have the phone sleeping next to us.

A 2019 Gallup poll has revealed something we all instinctively knew, “Currently, more than half of Americans (55%) say they experience stress during a large part of the day. These levels are the highest that Gallup has found since it began doing this survey.”

Stress, with and without depression and mental illness, is a terrible and growing problem.


Enjoyment Begins With Simplicity

Many of us have joined the “Society of Rubber Bands.” In our desire to do everything, compete with everyone, be stronger than everyone, be more impervious to sleep, and be connected to the world, we have forgotten a vital component of the equation: ourselves. Many of us, to control the world and everything in it, have willingly sacrificed our happiness and peace.

Enthusiasm for life cannot exist in an atmosphere of through-the-roof stress. Worse, fear has caused us to record higher rates of blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, marital and relationship strife, heart disease, depression, and a dangerous lack of sleep.

Adding to the problem is what stressed-out individuals are doing to their children. Child psychologists have warned that our kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews are over-stimulated, over-stressed, and dangerously over-scheduled. In short, many of us have taught future generations of our behaviors.

If we are wondering where our enthusiasm has gone, it doesn’t take long to discover the problem of what is taking it away: we are.

Just as children don’t need to be over-scheduled, neither do we. We don’t need to be over-caffeinated; we need sleep. We don’t need to be available for texts on a 24/7 basis; we need to take time to play. We don’t need more complexity in our lives; we need simplicity.

Slowly, as we ease back on our rubber bands, as we allow ourselves to find ourselves, we will rediscover our passion for life. And, that leads me to a final thought, I’ve stated before: our days are limited. Hold your life, dear, your family and friends close. If others can see enthusiasm return to our eyes, they, in turn, will start to rediscover theirs. Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.


For more information about Hall of Fame speaker and bestselling author Steve Gilliland and the Gilliland Foundation, please contact steve@stevegilliland.com / 724-540-5019 / www.stevegilliland.com.