There’s often apprehension when we’re tackling complex or important problems. We think we’ll make a mess. There’s caution, as the stakes are high and the risks are great. The fear of making a mistake or the anticipation of a potential looming embarrassment can paralyse our decision making and force us to approach problem solving with just enough effort.
This means we’ll do just enough to get by, just enough to say we’ve solved the problem, just enough to patch over the cracks and cover our backs, just enough to live another day and maintain our position, just enough to create the veneer of change whilst maintaining the status quo. We’re enthusiastic enough to do something but so scared of making a mistake that we don’t do enough and don’t really accomplish anything. This half-hearted, fearful approach is what I’d call negative enthusiasm.
Negative enthusiasm leads to average performance and ensures that we don’t take big enough action. If we’re operating with negative enthusiasm, we won’t get to the root of the problem, we won’t really fix it properly and we’ll potentially store bigger problems for later.
However, instead, if we’re genuinely enthusiastic and excited and tackle things head-on, if we’re positive and brave and don’t take no for an answer, if we open our mind and try and persist, if we’re relentless and keen and determined, then we’re more likely to do a better job, aren’t we?