Get To

Another idea:

Instead of thinking that we ‘have to’ do things, let’s focus on the notion that we get to do things.

Being put upon is the de facto motif in the human existence.

But what if we changed that?  What if we controlled our thoughts?

I was talking to Heather yesterday about my own failure to get to the gym as often as I wanted.  Because it feels like a chore, I’ve not gone as much as I could.  Because I have dreaded it.  Man, I have to go to the gym.  Sucks.

We rebel against that.  Our inner two-year old kicks in. We say, “you’re not the boss of me.”  So instead of going to the gym, doing our work, we do what we want.  It’s hard to shake entitlementality.

What if…

…instead of acting as if it was something I “had” to do, something I was burdened to do…

….I treated everything that I do as a privilege.  Everything.  From paying bills (I get to support my family) to going to the gyms (I get to get rid of my front-butt).   What if I changed the way I thought of each activity….to an opportunity in lieu of a burden?

Then: what if I didn’t expect pleasure.  What if I “got to” go to the gym, and considered it a privilege?  What if I trained myself where I “got to” enjoy the opportunity to help a client, to carry water, or to shovel snow?  What if I got to do things instead of had to?

If mentally, I wasn’t stuck presuming or focusing on my own pleasure, would I be test about the predictable and mundane things that try and sap our focus?

Would I be stoppable?

Now, I know that most of my readers will say things like “Chris, you can’t always feel this way.”  No arguments here. “Chris, this is purely puerile Pollyanna pablum.”   Possibly.

When we treat something as an opportunity, a privilege  we get a bounce in our step.  We lose the drudgery.  When we try to snap back to this mode, I can see it as a wonderful thing.

I love my kids, a lot, and they’re damned lucky because they can be annoying.  But in lieu of “I have to put up with Jack/Change a Diaper,” what if it was all “I get to.”

What if we put more and more of our activities under that umbrella?

“Oh, boy, I get to go to the grocery store and get some food for our family!”

is stronger than

“Oh, man, I have to go to the grocery store in the cold, driving rain, this sucks,” which makes you defeated before you start.

So that’s saying, when you decide on what tasks need to be accomplished, enhance the link between their completion and your joy.  “I get to finish X,Y or Z” is more powerful–by far–than saying “I have to do X, Y or Z”.

When we think this way–a secondary consequence is that we are generally happier.  It feels better to be doing something you relish than doing some tedious chore.

The applications:

What chores are predictable that you don’t like? How can you re-frame them (oh, boy I get to finish the laundry).

How do you know you’re doing what you should be doing–and what is part of your nature?

How will you feel when you see things as choices and loving privs, rather than bad things?

Put Upon

We live our lives with the expectation of bliss and joy all the time.  Some prerequisite to activity is the activity being fun, pleasant or joyful.  If what we’re doing, working on gets hard, we give up and lose focus.

This is sold to us by Madison Avenue.  We are led to believe that we are to tolerate nothing short of perfect joy and convenience.  And when we get less than that, our attention spans wander to something else.   We become incensed when someone trips us up with what is, at most, a minor inconvenience.

We Are Entitled.

We go to  Starbucks, and when it’s our turn, someone gets one of 11 details a little off on one of 30 trips through.  We then act as if it’s the end of our world. “Excuse me.  I’m not usually like this but, can you PLEASE get this RIGHT for once?  What will you do for me to make up for this screw up?”

When BlueHost went down–for less than 12 hours–people were apoplectic — ranting about their $6.95/month hosting service.  As if some army of people should be waiting on us for $85 bucks a year.

Our narrative is that we are these noble, heroic creatures that are constantly put upon by someone: our spouse, the clerk at Wal-Mart, or the driver in traffic who cut us off.

We’re always put upon by something, and it’s because we expect bliss.  We use pseudo slights as an excuse for anything: to snap at our kids, to be mean to our spouse, or whatever else.

What Does Entitlement Solve?

What if  we really knew world wasn’t responsible for arranging itself for our convenience?  What if the world wasn’t going to arrange itself just to please you?

What if we took away that the expectation of driving was going to be a glittering path to our destination, but accounted for reality, for humanity?

What if we knew that we could set our course but there would be obstacles?  Instead of being taken by surprise, we’d be well prepared and ready for the next thing.

What if we knew that our flailing tantrums would never get a resolution?  What if we spent that energy in an OODA loop, looking for solutions?

What if we considered our place in it as small, and worked not to be more recognized, but for the betterment of the world?