Why do you get up in the morning?

Either you run the day or the day runs you.
Jim Rohn
1930 – 2009

When I’m working with someone, I often ask them this question: why do you get up in the morning? Take a moment to think about your answer before you continue reading.

When I ask this question, the overwhelming majority of the answers fall into one of these categories: I have to go to work; I have to take care of the kids; I have to go to school.

But I never rest with this first answer; I always dig deeper. So my next question might be, “Why do you have to go to work?” The person generally responds with an answer like “Because I have to pay the bills,” or “I have to put food on the table.”

If you notice, there’s one thing in common with the answers to my questions; they all start with “I have to.”

Occasionally, I find a rare individual with a totally different mindset. They answer “Because I get to.”

One of the primary drives we have as individuals is to control our own lives. Yet we often tell ourselves that we’re doing things in life because “we have to”. When we do something because we have to, we’re doing it out of a sense of duty — someone else is defining the rules and we are obligated to follow them. This situation doesn’t make for a very satisfying life.

Can you change the story you tell yourself? Would it make a difference in how you view your life? The answer to both questions is certainly yes. You can replace your “have to” with “get to”. You’re totally free to change your outlook from one of duty to one of choice. And this shift in mindset will make a huge difference in the way you approach life.

You won’t change your life by asking this question one time or one day; that level of change requires a fundamental shift in the way you think about life. Your beliefs about how much control and influence you have over your life have been developed and reinforced over many years. It takes time to change such ingrained thinking.

Learn to answer the question by starting, “Because I get to.” You’ll gradually notice a marked difference in your approach to life.

The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.
Chris Pine
1980 –

Copyright © 2021 John Chancellor

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