Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/
Remember a time when you were younger and discovered something new you absolutely loved? You couldn’t wait to get back to it. It filled your mind and your heart. Remember describing this activity and your love for it to peers? If you’re like many people I’ve talked to about this, someone, somewhere laughed at you or patronized you or treated you like a naïve child. At what point does Enthusiasm become “Un-Cool”? If you decided to dampen your enthusiasm under peer pressure, what price did you, personally, pay? The thing is, if you dampen your enthusiasm to others, you might even begin to dampen enthusiasm to yourself.
The word itself derives from the ancient Greek “θεός“ – “theos”, and literally means being filled with the Gods. There was actually a time in the late renaissance when “Enthusiasm” was a derogative term. It implied then being almost fanatical, especially about religion or politics. People labeled “Enthusiasts” were ostracized from certain groups. That seems to have been reflected, at least for me, in my own youthful enthusiasm and its label of ‘uncool’. How often do we find similar reactions today, even to what we now positively associate with enthusiasm? Unless the circles in which you run are quite different from mine, you also may experience yourself tempering your enthusiasm to fit in to one corporate culture (family culture, circle-of-friends culture, etc.) or another.
Yet the sense of being filled with the spirit of something is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have. That feeling of being guided by forces, within and/or without, which have a profoundly higher aptitude than your everyday consciousness, is a vital learning experience as well. As a singer, I remember having three distinct contexts in which I experienced my art; singing alone, singing in the voice lesson and singing on stage. The common time-frame for achieving these goals for me was;
- I got it how I wanted it with my teacher, but not yet alone or on stage,
- I got it with my teacher and alone, but not yet on stage, and
- I could do it consistently with teacher, alone and on stage.
Sometimes, though, this would turn around and I’d struggle with some technical point alone and with the teacher, yet onstage, with the orchestra, the audience and the other singers, something would ‘possess’ me and I could do things technically I could do neither alone or in the studio with my teacher. Now that’s a form of “Enthusiasm” everyone can get behind! I’d venture to say every singer, probably every artist, who’s been around long enough, has experienced something like this.
I’ve experienced the same thing as a trainer. I struggle to find the simplest, most concise way of presenting some model or principle, only to find, in front of the group, the optimal turn of phrase, the tone of voice, gesture and mimic are there as if piped in from a higher source. Many of my trainer colleagues have described similar experiences. Perhaps you’re asking yourself, as you’re reading this, when have you, in your more creative endeavors, gone into “Enthusiasm” mode and allowed something of a higher intelligence to flow through you. If so, I’d love to hear from you! I’m almost addicted to hearing and relating such experiences!!
No matter how bad a rap enthusiasm gets in some less mature circles, its most positive attributes are essential to anything approaching success or happiness.
Even if you do choose to keep it under wraps in order to fit in with one or the other groups, there’s no reason I can think of to dampen it within yourself. Just the opposite, keeping enthusiasm alive and thriving within yourself is the recipe to a fulfilling and long life of passion and love!
Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/