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There is a big difference between the power of self-controlled enthusiasm that brings constructive ends, and the potential destructive nature of enthusiasm without self-control – it resembles a rampaging elephant running blindly on a path destroying property and people along the way.

Napoleon Hill said it most eloquently: “Enthusiasm is the vital quality that arouses you to action, while Self-Control is the balance wheel that directs your action so that it will build up and not tear down.”

These two traits are discussed in great detail in his book “The Law of Success” as two of the 16 laws of success.

In my 34-year career I have observed most people start out a new business or a new job with great enthusiasm but only a few of them take the time to learn the necessary skills to focus that enthusiasm into productive efforts.

Most jump in and start running the race with all abandon and within three to six months are so discouraged with it they either drop the business or start seeking other job opportunities.

Enthusiasm comes from a burning desire to accomplish a goal. There is most often a picture of expected outcomes in the minds of those just starting out in that new venture, but in a short period of time that picture is replaced with disappointment and the vision disappears from view.

Those who are able to push through the disappointment are those who have taken the time to learn systems and skills that make them better at their tasks, and who stay “plugged in” to leaders in their organization who are successful.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

He was teaching us that one must learn and hone skills that make the effort successful. This takes an enormous amount of self-discipline. When we take the time to educate ourselves in anything we do, it only serves to make us better people.

When I am sponsoring a new person into my business I tell him I need at least five hours a week and a year of his time to do the things that will build that business properly to give him the return he seeks.

I then break down the five hours into two categories. The most important is to learn the system and stay connected to proven leaders for three of those hours — then spend the last two hours doing the activities that eventually bring results.

This is applicable to any job in any business.

Some business owners think that a college degree is enough education for a person to do most jobs in their organization, but companies who invest in and encourage continued education are the ones that have workers who remain enthusiastic with measured self-control — and less turnover.

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Randy Martinsen is the president/CEO of BudgetWorks Inc., a marketing and business consulting firm, and brand partner for Nerium International. He can be reached at 707-206-6443 or randym@budgetworks.net.

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