Why do we get so righteous about being anti-money? Why do we single out money? Why not go all the way?
“We’re trying not to get too excited.”
That was one of our students talking about a deal they’d found. There were excited and they should have been. It was a great deal and it suited them perfectly. And they’d been searching for something like it for months. But,
“We’re trying not to get too excited.”
It was just a throw away line at the end of our conversation – and it didn’t really register until later.
I mean, it’s a totally normal thing to say. “I’ve found this amazing deal that looks great… but we’re trying not to get too excited.”
“There’s a new opportunity opened up at work which means a lot more money… but I’m trying not to get too excited.”
“That hot guy I met at the boot camp just asked me out for coffee… but I’m trying not to get too excited.”
We don’t even question it – like we all understand the reasons why you’re trying to not get excited. Don’t even need to mention it.
But on this particular occasion, it struck me as strange.
And I guess that’s because more and more, I’m in the business of ‘cultivating’ energy. Getting excited is the point.
As you know, we often do a lot of mindset work with our clients. That’s often about tapping into our deepest drives and motivations. It’s about connecting with our excitement so we can channel that energy into the hard work we need to do.
It’s one of the foundations of personal development. I’m not one of those American type gurus who get the audience to do a session of callisthenics before every meeting. But I do recognise how important it is.
When we’re in that excited space, we’re close to our true centre. We’re moving towards the things we really want, and our bodies respond with an extra dose of energy and adrenalin.
Excitement can move mountains.
It’s also a joyful state to be in. We got to great lengths to put ourselves in states of excitement – throwing ourselves out of airplanes and what have you.
I mean, think about a young boy at Christmas morning, running to open his presents. You wouldn’t tell him to not get to excited. What are you, The Grinch?
Or what about the girl waiting for her dad to get home, after two weeks out on the mines. You wouldn’t tell her to keep a lid on it.
Excitement is fun. A life without excitement is a sad life indeed.
So if excitement is a potent energy source and there’s entire industries built around getting people excited, why are we so instinctively anti-excitement?
I mean, if excitement is so great, why would anyone want to hose it down? And why do we think that hosing down excitement is a perfectly normal thing to do?
The answer to that. I think, is avoiding pain.
We don’t want to build ourselves up too much in case we get disappointed. Disappointment is an uncomfortable, almost painful experience, and it’s best avoided.
So if you don’t get too excited, then you don’t run the risk of being too disappointed. If you never get too high then you’ll never have too far to fall.
So when you say, “I’m trying to not get too excited” what you’re really saying is “I’m trying to not build myself up for painful disappointment.”
This makes more sense, but is also kind of silly when you look at it.
Because what you’re really saying is that I’m willing to sacrifice the energy and joy of excitement in order to avoid a little pain.
Pffft. Don’t be such a sook.
Disappointment sucks, sure, but it won’t kill you. If the only thing a highly energised life costs you is a little disappointment from time to time, it’s a total bargain.
I think what we should really be saying, rather than ‘don’t get too excited’ is ‘don’t over-identify with it.’
That is, sometimes people pin all their hopes and dreams on a single outcome of something – “He cancelled our coffee date, therefore I’ll be lonely forever and I’m doomed to become some dark spinster aunt with 15 cats.”
This is totally worth avoiding. When we get excited about something I think there is this tendency to overestimate what it will mean for our life – like everything hinges on this one deal coming off.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.
The discipline of an abundant mindset is being able to get excited about something, but if it doesn’t eventuate, knowing that there is an abundance of other opportunities waiting to take it’s place, (and many of those opportunities will, in fact, be more perfect!)
So don’t over-identify with your goals, sure.
But get excited. Give yourself that energy and that joy. Jump out of bed hungry for what the day has to offer.
Don’t smother yourself just to live up to some fearful ideal of what an acceptable level of excitement is.
It’s just too expensive.
How do you manage your excitement?