Thursday, November 5, 2015
About two years ago, I was walking during my lunch hour on the UNC Charlotte campus. It was a nice fall day and as I was walking a young male student suddenly started running in front of me as hard as he could run straight toward a brick wall. Just before he reached the wall he put his foot out, pushed off and jumped straight up, catching hold of a ledge about 12 feet up. He hung there by his fingers for a few moments then dropped back down to the sidewalk and resumed walking, as if his acrobatic display was a common ordinary thing that anyone would do on such a day, at such a time, at such a place.
My walk took me to the other side of campus, onto the greenway trail, below the athletic fields. Two young female students ran past me, dashed off the paved trail, ran up the bank, crossed over to the soccer field, and without rest or missing the slightest beat began kicking a soccer ball, yelling and shrieking and running.
And I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could approach every obstacle or problem with enthusiasm instead of dread and see them as opportunities to grow and sharpen my skills and my strengths? Wouldn't it be wonderful to joyfully run to work and to shriek and laugh and have fun while I was there? Wouldn't it be wonderful if I had no fear of trying new things because I had no fear of failure?
Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." If this is true, and I think it is, we should do everything we can do to help young people entering the workforce to stay positive, to approach their work with passion, to have fun, and remain creative. It should be a great tragedy when someone in the workforce loses their enthusiasm.
Walking back on the main campus near the library I overheard two students talking. One student said, "My father just got laid off from his job. He said it was OK, though, because he hated his job and especially the people he worked with." The other student said, "Yeah. I really dread getting into the job market."