< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Stay Alive All Your Life - Part 2

Friday, May 21, 2010

Stay Alive All Your Life - Part 2

Chapter 2 Enthusiasm Can Do Wonders for You

Dr. Peales wrote, “When you cast out pessimism and gloominess and cultivate the attitude of optimism and enthusiasm; amazing things will start happening in your life.”

It will trump people’s extra ability, training and experience every time.

Ask yourself:
Are you an enthusiastic person?
Do you eagerly anticipate every day?
Are you excited about life?

The author talked about his mom here who got “enormous thrill out of the most ordinary events and happenings.” She had a zest for everything. And her advice to him was to ever be sensitized to the world’s beauty and excitement. That that would make him dull. And he said he has always tried to keep enthusiasm alive.

If you think about your favorite teacher in school, it wasn’t the funniest or best looking; it was almost always the one with the most enthusiasm! Because they made learning interesting and they inspired you. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

Enthusiastic people give what they’re doing everything they’ve got. They make great employees.

Even if you’ve never been this kind of person before you can be. Start looking for the good and beautiful and talk about them! Start thinking about things you would like to do and then do them.

In the beginning it might mean pretending anything is possible, but as you start you’ll see more and more is possible! He quotes a great psychological thinker, William James, who said, “Believe that you possess significant reserves of health, energy and endurance and your belief will help create the fact.”

God gave us a great way to start in the Bible. Get up in the morning and say first thing, “This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Then think about all the good in your life. And feel gratitude for it. Practice thinking happy thoughts throughout the day. This may sometimes run counter to your actual feelings, but it’s the start.

Have you ever heard the advice: if you want to be happy – act happy. If you want to be more loving – act more loving? I’ve heard dieters told to “act like a thin person” – which means: eat the way thin people do, exercise the way they do – and pretty soon it’s not an act anymore.

Next - begin to think of other people. The Bible tells us we have to die to self. That when we lose ourself, we find ourself.

Dr. Peale says this means in giving of yourself to others you find yourself. Do something unselfishly for someone else. When you do you “forget yourself.” You get the emphasis off of any problems you think you have and you feel better about things because you’re helping someone else.

Then start being that way with more people. Go out of your way to be interested in other people. Not for what you’ll get out of it (although you’ll get a lot out of it) but with a sincere desire to help the other person or encourage them or get to know them better.

And then give thanks. All the time. That’s straight out of the Bible too!

No gloom, no negativism: only faith and gladness. People will gravitate toward you and life will never get old or dull. You don’t need to change your circumstances to change your life – just your thoughts and attitudes.

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