A few months ago I was at a conference and the main speaker said something that really hit me. He spoke about the difference between having the “get to” mindset vs the “have to” mindset. The main idea is that for everything in your life, you can think about it as an obligation (have to) or as an opportunity (get to).
I started to think about this in the context of my own life and had the frightening realization that I live a lot of my life in the “have to” mindset.
“I have to go to work”
“I have to exercise”
“I have to go the grocery store”
“I have to go take care of my dog”
The list goes on and on.
Living life with that mindset leads to the feeling of dread when it comes to fulfilling my “obligations”. In this situation, dread can dominate my day.
I could go through my day with a “get to” mindset.
“I get to go to work”
“I get to exercise”
“I get to go the grocery store”
“I get to go to take care of my dog”
I’m lucky enough to go to a job where I have great bosses and coworkers. I’m blessed to have the physical ability to exercise. I have the money to go to the grocery store and buy good food (and so many raspberries). Everyday I get to come home to a dog that is absolutely pumped to see me.
Ultimately it all comes down to gratitude. We can either be grateful for the things in our life, or we can spend all of our time dreading about the next thing we have to do. Whether life is going great for you right now, or you feel like you’re struggling to keep up with all that needs to be done, living with dread hanging over you for each task will slowly but surely break you down.
Your circumstances are not always your choice, but your mindset is always your choice. You get to choose to live your life with gratitude and maximize every opportunity, or choose to sludge through each day, fulfilling your obligations and nothing more.
Now, I’m not going to be a sunshine pumper and say that this is easy, and that once you choose the “get to attitude” that your life will be rosey all the time. Sometimes life is really difficult, and that’s reality. I do believe though that if you look at your life as more of an opportunity than as an obligation, the day to day will be more enjoyable.
I wish I could say that I am becoming a pro at this, but the truth is that it’s really hard to choose the best thing for yourself on the day to day because it’s typically easier to just be average. With a lot of the principals I’m talking about on here, you have to scratch and claw each day to turn them into habit. But, as we grow, I think it will be worth it.
Habits take time to take hold, and challenging the status quo is a battle. In the end, you have to decide what you want out of our life and go get it. If you want to enjoy your life more, take the steps you need to take and keep moving.
I’m still learning to choose the “get to” mindset, but from what I see, it’s a better way to live.