(don’t) curb your enthusiasm

November 2, 2009

Curb your enthusiasm. That’s a name of a tv series, that’s a sentence that generates a sound that I like when it’s pronounced. What I don’t like is the meaning of it: enthusiasm, in my opinion, is something that should never be curbed… But nonetheless, it generally is.
I had the luck, overtime, to get in touch with people with different degrees of enthusiasm in what they do and what they are. You just feel it… It’s in the words that those people use, in the gestures they do, in the tireless effort and courage they put into things. Enthusiastic people are those who make things happen, that don’t sit and wait for the time passing by. Enthusiasm should by the way generate enthusiasm, which is totally normal (and highly welcome) for me… But I found that to be an exception.
Fact is, most of the time I found that those who were enthusiastic at first, got ‘curbed’ over time, and most of the time it wasn’t their fault: they just gave up on a overwhelming pressure on avoiding enthusiasm, on sticking to the ‘rules’.
This is very much true especially in work areas, where bureaucracy and endless hierarchies seem to have a vital need of getting rid of enthusiasm. Eventually I understood that need: it starts as a way to make certain that basic rules (indeed needed) are followed, but it blatantly ends as a way of controlling what you don’t know or can’t understand. Too many rules, by definition, curb enthusiasm and creativity.
In the long run, you’ll probably end up with something that’s as much controlled as useless.
Luckily, a few bright minds keep their enthusiasm, no matter what… I don’t know if I became picky over time, but I found myself growing an exclusive preference for this kind of people. I’m not interested in shallow, controlled, ruled minds: their predictability is both their virtue and the cause of their ultimate failure. I believe, in the long run, this difference (enthusiasm vs lack of enthusiasm) will define something bigger: the difference between living and surviving. Count me in for the former.

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