Word Of the Week #526: Zeal

September 4, 2014 by  

Zeal great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

Is there something that you want to excel in or achieve? What is your personal inspiration that drives you? Are you able to stay motivated in the face of a setback?

This week I want to continue from WOW #519 on self-motivation. In Daniel Goleman’s book on Emotional Intelligence he says, “Consider the role of positive motivation – the marshalling of feelings of enthusiasm, zeal, and confidence – in achievement. Studies of Olympic athletes, world-class musicians, and chess grand masters find their unifying trait is the ability to motivate themselves to pursue relentless training routines.

What seems to set apart those at the very top of competitive pursuits from others of roughly equal ability is the degree to which, beginning early inFinishing life, they can pursue an arduous practice routine for years and years. And that doggedness depends on emotional traits – enthusiasm and persistence in the face of setbacks – above all else.”

You’ve heard the saying, “Practice Makes Perfect?” Well it turns out that the earlier they start the better. The top violin students at the best music academy in Berlin, all in their twenties, had put in ten thousand hours’ lifetime practice, while the second-tier students averaged around seventy-five hundred hours.

And this quote comes from long time subscriber, Don. “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect!” Many years ago, I had a meeting with a Disney Executive, when I lived in Orlando and we were talking about motivation, and the passion for excellence and so forth. In our conversation I told him that I believe practice makes perfect. He said; ‘That isn’t correct.’  I was perplexed with his reply, because this is what I had always believed, but he shed a new paradigm on my belief; he said that ‘PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!’ If you practice and your level of practice isn’t the best or perfect or at the highest level, then you will never achieve the level of excellence of the greatest or highest level.  From that day forward, I changed my belief and that it is only when we practice at the highest level, can we achieve at the highest level.”

Now don’t let this discourage you. The point is that enthusiasm is a key component to being able to achieve what you want. You need to be able to stay motivated in the face of defeat. Your emotions get in the way of – or enhance – your ability to think and plan, to pursue training for a distant goal, and to solve problems.

This week focus on your personal and/or professional plans and/or goals. What level of enthusiasm do you have for them? In what areas of your life do you feel zeal? Are you willing to practice at the highest level?

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