One word can change a lot.
Sometimes it’s like a key that opens the door to a much better way of life. My parents trained me in it from the time I was very young, and it wasn’t until later in life that I realized how differently I saw the world than some.
In the recent cold weather snap I caught myself saying “I HAVE to” more than unusual. I HAVE to go out in the cold. How many times a day do you say I HAVE to do this or that?
I HAVE to go to the grocery store. I HAVE to go to work. I HAVE to change diapers. I HAVE to listen to my mom.
It’s a small word, but it leads down a road whose destination you may not like. Your words can shift your perspective and make heavy lifting out of things that aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things.
I HAVE to get out of bed. I HAVE to do homework.
Years ago I tried swapping a different word in that makes me much happier doing the exact same amount of work:
I GET to.
Some country have grocery stores with no food in them. I GET to go here.
Some parents wish they had babies but don’t, I GET to change a diaper.
Some countries are cold but their houses aren’t warm, I GET to live here (and vacation in Mexico:)
Some country’s kids don’t have the opportunity to be educated, I GET to go to school. I GET to go to work.
When I HAVE to, the world becomes a place that’s out to get me.
Here’s the litmus test: How often do you say I HAVE to?
THEY won’t let me…
If THEY would then I could…
No one told me…
It is often the revelation of a slave like mentality. This seems odd because our country doesn’t have slavery, but that doesn’t mean we don’t become slaves to different ways of thinking…
The same amount of work needs to be done in a slave state and a free state. The same amount of food needs to be produced, the same amount of cars made.
In one state the work is done willingly and by owners, in the other by slaves being forced against their will to work.
I think you and I actually become slaves in our mindsets without knowing it. We start feeling ruled by our responsibilities rather than grateful for them.
I GET to work every day and feed my daughters because I love them. I can’t imagine them going hungry, and the pressure sometimes makes me say I HAVE to and forget the joys of life around the dinner table that work paid for.
When I HAVE to, everything OUT THERE that requires hard work becomes my task master in my mind. My boss. My teacher. My spouse. My dad. Sometimes God.
I start being a slave in my own home to the electric company. To the bank that financed it.
A HAVE to mentality looks at what my neighbour has and wishes I had it too, but not just what one neighbour has, but all of them!
Why don’t I have that? Why doesn’t my car drive like that? Why don’t my kids do as well as their kids in school?
A GET to rewiring looks at what I have as a gift that requires normal maintenance. It doesn’t assume I have the right to any extra happiness or fulfillment, but when I get a little extra I’m slightly surprised and thankful.
A GET to mentality teaches me to serve without seeing myself as a slave. I work with people all the time whose mentality is their own worst enemy. Everything a GET to person does seems easier than a HAVE to, even though it’s the same amount of work.
HAVE to people tell themselves it’s just how they feel and they’re being honest. They think they can’t help that they feel negatively about everything all the time. It makes them feel insignificant and powerless.
GET to people’s first response is positive because they’ve trained their mouths to speak properly, their mouths train their minds to think properly, and their minds train their emotions to feel properly.
They tackle the next problem confidently and with a little humour, after all…
It’s a nice problem to have!