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March 5th, 2008

Too Much Enthusiasm

Years ago, while living in California, a saying came out: “Curb your enthusiasm.”

Tis an important saying to know when doing business. Sometimes you can get so excited about what you’re doing or offering that in the midst of great enthusiasm you make foolish decisions.

Happens all the time.

Years ago, my friend Kim Wood, an NFL strength coach for 27 years, said: “An animal on the attack is cautious almost to the point of cowardice.”

A fascinating quote, eh.

Picture a cheetah running 70 mph after a deer or antelope. He doesn’t appear cowardly at all. Yet, prior to the 70 mph burst, the cheetah very carefully stalked his prey and scoped out the terrain. He does not simply take off on a sprint as soon as he’s hungry.

So the key to enthusiasm is balance. Just like confidence.

There’s confidence and over-confidence. There’s enthusiasm and over-enthusiasm.

Conversely, there is under-enthusiasm and under-confidence. I think most people who are struggling fall into the “under” category. They don’t need to curb their enthusiasm. It’s time for them to unleash it.

Enthusiasm for what you do and what you’re attempting to do is a cornerstone of success. Without it you cannot accomplish much. As Emerson wrote, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”

At the same time, being too enthusiastic, too confident and too positive can be a sign that danger is lurking. The key is the line of balance between a quality that brings you success – and a quality that harms you.

Years ago in my study of shuai jiao kung fu, which I won a world title in, Dr. Daniel Weng told me, “A strength over-extended becomes a weakness.”

Oh, how true.

And lest you think this saying only applies to martial arts – think again. It applies to everything in life. It also applies to every virtue.

Even love.

After all, even love has blind spots.

Matt Furey

P.S. If you want to strike the delicate balance that leads to success, there’s no finer way than challenging yourself to do something hard. Come see what I mean at my Get Tough Ultimate Mind-Body Fitness Challenge.

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