Early in my marriage my wife came home and announced that she had signed us up for the bike ride across Georgia. She told me it would take a week, we would sleep in tents, and ride around 70 miles each day. I have always enjoyed adventure and endurance sports, but for some reason I had a bad attitude towards the bike ride. I kept asking my wife if I had to go. She would reply, “yes, and stop complaining.” The day of the ride arrived and we drove to the start, pitched our tent, and got ready to start the next day. The next morning we woke up early and started our ride. It only took about an hour before I realized I loved this bike ride. I loved getting up early, visiting small towns in Georgia, eating lunch at the rest stops, and everything else about the ride. The week was just amazing, and I have completed the ride across Georgia ten more times. I wasted all my energy complaining, and I’m sure drove my wife crazy. I have learned that it takes work to maintain a positive attitude and to not fall into the habit of complaining. I also know that a positive attitude can lower your stress, attract more friends, and help make life more enjoyable. I can’t remember when I first heard the quote “I don’t have to do this, I get to do this” but I love it. I think it is an easy way to stay positive during the day, and practice being grateful.
Here are some examples of when I may apply this quote. When I’m sitting down and unwinding for the day, and my daughter asks me to run with her. I can complain and ask “do I have to?”, or realize the gift it is to run with her, and there may be a time when she won’t ask,or we can’t run.
I run each week with a group of friends and in the summer we start early. When the alarm goes off I can say, “do I have to get up this early and run?” or realize I get to run with friends, I’m healthy enough to run, and I love the early mornings.
I coach a middle school cross country team. I enjoy running this team and the satisfaction of introducing the children to the sport of cross country. For two months I practice three days a week after school. I run practices after teaching all day. I have to admit it is easy to have a bad attitude towards practice and ask, “do I have to do this?” Every day I remind myself I get to make a positive impact on children,meet new parents, and get in shape while coaching.
This simple mindset of changing from “I have to,” over to “I get to,"can go a long way towards developing a positive attitude, and becoming a person of gratitude.
You may also enjoy these articles on gratitude...