I used to think that the opposite of enthusiasm was apathy. I used to think that people who didn’t share my passion for the work just didn’t care. And when people were habitually late for meetings, consistently blew deadlines, and were generally disrespectful to their teammates, I chalked it up to apathy.
I’ve since come to believe that it’s something more unsettling. The opposite of enthusiasm is arrogance.
Only someone blinded by their own egotism could fail to see how disruptive it is when they assume that their needs, their opinions, or their time is more valuable than their colleagues. Only someone who believes they have nothing left to learn is that eager to tune out the group. Only someone desperate to appear cooler than everyone else finds it necessary to put people down.
I totally believe in unconditional love and giving people second chances. But I find arrogance almost intolerable. There’s a reason enthusiasm is a core Freeman value. There’s a reason enthusiasm is embraced by great leaders around the globe. If you lack proper enthusiasm for an assignment, for a career position, or for the group you’re working with, try taking a second, more objective look. If you can’t see what others are so excited about, maybe your next look needs to be a long, hard gaze in the mirror.
Enthusiastic people are more fun to work with. They instill confidence in others. They make it easier for everyone to do their best work. Arrogant people may seem cool. Their aloofness may pass for confidence. But when they most need it, arrogant people are less likely to find a friend, or get a pass, because they have failed to inspire trust. And that can hurt an entire team.
Arrogance isn’t a personality trait. It’s a choice to behave in a certain way. So is enthusiasm. Choose wisely.