As busy people, we often sprint from one obligation to the next. The mandatory client meeting, the business lunch, the kid’s soccer game… all while keeping your seven social media streams up to date, your boss happy, and your family fed. In the modern age, we can feel overwhelmed with all the things we just have to do.
When the events in our lives are more duty-bound than optional, our vitality can take a nosedive. Running from one commitment to another, how can we possibly bring our best selves forward?
In his 2013 TED talk, Bert Jacobs (founder of the Life is Good t-shirt brand) offered up a simple yet incredibly powerful approach to flipping your perspective. He suggests changing out a single word to instantly shift your outlook:
What if you change “have” to “get?” In other words, instead of, “I have to go to this big supplier meeting,” it becomes “I get to go to this big supplier meeting.”
When you make this easy language shift, your entire attitude improves. It reminds us how lucky we are to be alive. How fortunate that we are healthy enough to take on responsibilities in the first place. We quickly realize that many people in the world would do anything for the opportunity to live the way we do. That compared to the majority of civilization throughout history, our air-conditioned, mobile-connected, airbag-protected lives are something others only dreamed of.
Since watching Jacobs’ TED talk, I’ve caught myself many times bemoaning something I had to do. But when changing the one word – from have to get – my mindset instantly shifted to gratitude. I realized that I get to prepare a financial model. I get to conduct research. I get to exercise and eat healthy food. I get to serve on a corporate board. I get to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for my kids. And yes, I get to sit in traffic… in a safe, comfortable car that transports my lucky behind way faster than walking or riding a horse.
In your complex world, try this surprisingly simple shift. When we turn our haves into gets, we melt away angst, frustration, and dread while liberating gratitude and energy.
I hope you get to do many things this coming week. For me, I’m truly happy I get to take out the garbage. Better than not being able to, no?