I was having small argument with my seven year-old daughter recently because she didn’t want to do her homework. Some of you parents can relate to this, right? Well after some back-and-forth she finally said,

“Why do I have to?”

My head was about to explode when she said this, but I didn’t let it show. Fortunately, I stayed calm and I thought about her comment for a few seconds before responding. (By the way I’m not always this cool under pressure…)

Then I remembered three words —You Get To— which I read about in Joel Osteen’s book “Everyday A Friday” (I love this book!).

And I said to her,

“You don’t have to do anything, honey. You get to do it.”

I told her that from that day forward I wanted her to replace “Do I have to” with “I get to.”  I explained to her why she should do this and she seemed convinced, so I think she understood. But even if she didn’t, I’d like to think I planted a “positive-attitude seedling.”

But this is also a reminder for us adults too, so here’s my thinking on this…

 Sometimes life’s frustrations cloud our judgment and we address unwanted or uncomfortable situations by reacting instead of responding. Did you know there’s a difference between the two?  Reacting happens involuntarily like when we take medicine. But responding happens when we reflect before taking action.

I like what psychologist Victor Frankl said about this topic,

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Occasionally we need a reminder that help us slow down and get in the right mindset.”

Speaking on this topic, my favorite person, Zig Ziglar said,


“It’s not the situation, but whether we react negative or respond positive to the situation that is important.”

And just like my daughter, whenever we have that “do I have to…” attitude think about the situation from this perspective:

  • You don’t have to go to work.
  • You don’t have to clean the dishes.
  • You don’t have to exercise.
  • You don’t have to wake up early to work on your side-business (anyone else here with me?).
  • You don’t have love your spouse unconditionally.


  • You get to go to work.
  • You get to clean the dishes.
  • You get to exercise.
  • You get to wake up early to work on your side-business.
  • You get love your spouse unconditionally.

These are all things you get to do– if you’re lucky enough.

Try it next time. Just change your thinking to  “I get to…” and watch your attitude shift. If it doesn’t work, I’ll give you a full refund with no questions asked! But seriously, though, everyday I’m convinced that our attitude is more important than our circumstances.  How can you start responding instead of reacting to life?


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