Excitement. Excited woman jumping for joy at a beach.


They sicken of the calm who know the storm.

~Dorothy Parker


How often are you truly excited about something?

It doesn’t have to be a big thing; we can be just as intensely excited about everyday things as we are about big, important things. In fact we should be.

Excitement is one of my keystone emotions. It is one that I constantly pursue and use to gauge the quality of my life. I like to be excited.

Excitement can come in many forms and from many sources. When some people think about being excited, it is often in anticipation of some big event or trip. But if we only get excited during experiences that are designed to give us excitement, we are missing out on all the things that have the potential to be exciting if we pay closer attention.

We have to be intentional about excitement. We have to know ourselves well enough to know what will be exciting. We have to seek out those things and cultivate new ones. We have to step outside of our comfort zone (see Comfort).

My favorite form of excitement is nervous anticipation, and it is usually associated with butterflies in my stomach. I love that feeling. Competition always gives me butterflies. I always got them before martial arts tournaments—sizing up my opponent and planning my strategy. I have that feeling before running races, while standing at the starting line and keeping loose. I have it before every baseball game I coach. I still (after 35 years) have butterflies every time I perform music in front of people—setting up, sound check, watching the audience arrive—truly a magical process to me.

I also get excited by a lot of little things. A big thunderstorm is very exciting to me. I love to watch thunderheads forming in the distance—hoping they will pass my way. Arriving at the ocean is always exciting. The gradual increase in the smell of salt water, seeing the land end in the distance and knowing that the ocean is beyond, running over the hot sand, jumping in, and swimming out beyond the breakers for the first time—I love it all.

But how often are we excited? Is it enough?

Toward the end of each day, we might make a mental note of what we were excited about that day. If we weren’t excited (or weren’t very excited), it might mean that we weren’t living the day intentionally or weren’t paying attention. To be intentional about being excited, we have to be knowledgeable about being excited.

Excitement is often combined with other positive feelings. The parts of our lives that give us excitement may also be fun things, or romantic things, or risky things.

We all have things in our lives that we know make us excited. We might not be able to do some of them whenever we feel like it, but there are always those everyday things that we can turn to for excitement.

I have my little things—listening to certain songs, leaving my comfort zone, or pushing my limits on a bicycle or motorcycle is always exciting to me.

Each of us has our list and it’s important to be intimately familiar with it. We should also be on the lookout for new things—different things that make us excited.

There are many paths that lead to excitement; we should always be on one of them.

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