"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." If you do something last minute and get praise, you feel bad because it wasn't your best.

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You can achieve something great with or without enthusiasm. If you achieve something great without enthusiasm, then it must be great to someone else. If you achieve something with enthusiasm and you yourself think that it's great, then it is great to you and possibly to others. It depends upon perspective and each individual's interpretation.

I guess as this applies to Transcendentalism, anything achieve will only be meaningful (great) to you, if it adheres to a tanscendental philosophy: that is, whatever you do must be something connected to a kind of individual, inner spirituality. The achievement must have mental or spiritual (something that transcends the material world) meaning for it to be "great" in the eyes of a transcendentalist.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How many people who were unenthusiastic about their writing ever won a Nobel Prize?  How many who were not enthusiastic about their research had the discipline to continue tirelessly for years until their discovery was made?  How many of the less enthusiastic scientists have won the Nobel Prize?  Perhaps, they did make a discovery about which they were not searching, but were they not working diligently and with vigor upon some other project?

It is a reflection of our times that now people are lauded for their unethusiastic efforts.  After all, nothing is praised as something so often.  So, what is "great"?

In concurrence with Post #8, there still must be talent, and most talent generates an enthusiasm, anyway.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree that you might feel a bit sheepish if you know inside that you didn't do your best, yet others compliment you on an achievement. However, consider that you might have a natural talent for the accomplishment that makes it feel as though you don't even have to try. When Michael Jordan had an "off night" playing basketball, he was still better than almost everyone else in the NBA.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with your statement from post 1 completely.  However, I do not see what it has to do with the topic that is stated.

I do not agree that you have to have enthusiasm to achieve something great.  People can be great at something even if they do not really care about it.  It takes more self-discipline that way, but it is possible, in my opinion.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Guess it depends on what your definition of "great" is.  If you're talking about the greatest achievement of our tie - in literature, medicine, science, education, etc. - then I would absolutely have to agree with the statement.  Enthusiasm in general is what propels us to excellence, and excellence usually leads to great accomplishments.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People can tell if you are passionate and enthusiastic about something because it will show in how well you work at it and in the end results!  But, if you're doing something because you have to, you don't really put forth an honest effort and the results will often be shabby. 

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that in order to do your best and achieving greatness are two different things. I also feel that in order to do either one you have to have enthusiasm and a passion about what you are doing.

nusratfarah | Student

I won't disagree with post 1, but I have a dissimilar opinion.

I personally feel much more better and confident when, not getting sufficiently prepared, I can do well and get acclaimed by others. Instant job and instant praise are fascinating to me. Preparation make one's genius numb, I think. Through the success achieved from impromptu action, my potential gets encouraged and it increases my self-confidence. :)

epollock | Student

That is not necessarily the case. Many things have been invented by people not looking for anything, and many cures for problems have been discovered by admittedly lazy people. You don't need enthusiasm to accomplish anything. Just ask any lottery winner.