When there is no one to share your excitement with

Picture courtesy — Unsplash

There was once a struggling writer who used to teach at a school to make ends meet. Struggling, as most young writers do, he stayed in a trailer and sent short stories to magazines. If they got published, they allowed him to supplement his meager income. During summers, he worked in an industrial laundry and at various points had done stints as a janitor and a gas station attendant.

Every night, he would sit and type words on a borrowed typewriter while his wife took care of their infant child, giving him the much needed time and space, which was incidentally the laundry room in their trailer, to follow his muse and write.

One day, frustrated with his writing and the state of his life in general, he threw away his manuscripts into the trash. His wife found them, unwrinkled them and told him that she found what he had written promising. He continued writing, completed the novel and sent it off to a publisher.

One day, while sitting in school, he was told his wife had called and was summoned to the office. There, his wife read a telegram to him:

“CONGRATULATIONS. CARRIE OFFICIALLY A DOUBLEDAY BOOK. IS $2500 ADVANCE OKAY? THE FUTURE LIES AHEAD. LOVE, BILL.”

For a lowly paid the teacher, the money felt like a million dollars. glad to have finally found a publisher, he bought a new Ford car and moved out of the trailer.

A few months later, he got another call, again from his publisher. He was alone at home as his wife had gone to her mother’s. His publisher asked if he was sitting down. He then told him that the rights to his novel had sold for 400,000 dollars and that half the money was his.

Stephen King, whose novels have over 350 million copies, was at a loss of words.

At that very moment, there was no one to share his excitement with. Imagine going from a 7,500 dollars a year salary to being told you are going to get 200,000 dollars for your first novel. And imagine having no one to share your excitement with.

At that moment, Stephen King felt like buying something for his wife and went to the local drug store. Not finding anything exciting (it was a drugstore, not a mall), he bought his wife a hairdryer.

When you’re excited, you do strange things.

And, we’ve all felt like Stephen King at different points of time.

Offer someone a slice of pizza and 9 times out of 10, they will gladly accept. Share a piece of juicy gossip and watch it traverse quicker than Usain Bolt’s bolt to the finish line. But what about someone sharing your excitement?

We sometimes wonder why someone isn’t anyone as excited as us about something. Why don’t they share our enthusiasm? Why can’t the light bulb go off in their head as it has gone in ours?

Excitement is a lovely feeling. It’s exhilarating, you feel like you’re going berserk, so many ideas, so much to explore, share, create that you wish you could never sleep.

At the same time, unshared excitement leads to frustration.

There are very few times when everyone around you shares the same excitement for something. Or sees the potential in something, or wants to make a change. During these times, your excitement makes you want to bang your head against the wall in frustration. This lag causes frustration to pile up until the person who was excited in the first place loses all excitement.

For excitement to spread, you need to find people who are excited about the same thing. Or moved by the same cause. We’ve all been in situations where cold water has been poured on our excitement and we’ve watched something that was molten hot turn to ice right in front of our eyes. Headbanging in a concert is much more fun than headbanging in the confines of your own room.

Excitement is also scary. Sometimes, you get all enthused by something and it blows up in your face, and you’re scared to risk excitement again. That happens to all of us.

The mistake most of us make with excitement is this — we spend more time trying to convert people instead of going in search of people like us.

And when you find that cohort or person, or thing, or project that blows your mind and shares your excitement, you say ‘here’s what I have been looking for. Where were you all this time?’

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