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FIRST-PERSON: Getting to do what you’ve got to do

DALLAS (BP)–When you woke up this morning, were your thoughts on what you’ve “got to do” or what you “get to do”?

If your thoughts were on what you’ve “got to do,” they can be either negative or positive. For example, if you’ve “got to go to work,” that’s positive because it means you have a job and are gainfully employed. Not only that, you have a means of getting to your place of employment and you have the health and energy to do exactly that. So your “got to” is translated into positive steps toward performing what you “get to do” because at the end of the work period you “get to” cash your paycheck. Then you “get to” use that money to pay bills. Some of it will go to buy food, clothing and shelter and, ideally, a part of it will go to your church or favorite charity as well as to your retirement plan.

By and large, however, when we think of “got to,” we think of something that we are required to do whether we want to do it or not. For example, we’ve “got to” make those car and house payments; we’ve “got to” be on time or risk losing our job; we’ve “got to” perform satisfactorily or be dismissed; we’ve “got to” get home at a certain time to prepare the evening meal for our family; we’ve “got to” make those phone calls we’ve been neglecting; we’ve “got to” visit an elderly relative who is in a nursing home or hospital; we’ve “got to … got to … got to….”

If we concentrate on the particular line of thought of what we’ve “got to” do, we’re probably going to have a stressful day and end it by being tired and perhaps even a little “out of sorts.”

I love the “get to” approach that Lesleigh Ann Schaefer describes. She shares with her Internet readers how at age 44 she went back to college and is now headed for graduation. She made a list of her “get to’s,” which will give all of us something to think about:

— I get to go to school to fulfill my dream.

— I get to go to work when so many people can’t.

— I get to do the laundry, thankful for a washer and dryer.

— I get to play with my cat who is so thankful for the attention.

— I get to say a prayer; I have freedom of speech.

— I get to remember the things that make me happy.

— I get to spend time with a friend who needs my help.

— I get to read a book; I still have my sight.

Lesleigh Ann’s is a spirit and attitude that contributes not only to her physical and financial well-being but also to her emotional and social well-being.

Suggestions: Take out your pen and paper and begin to make a list, eliminating your “got to’s” and concentrating entirely on your “get to’s.” “I get to visit my mother in the nursing home,” “I get to make a phone call to cheer up a friend who is confined to her home,” “I get to write that thank you note to someone who sent me a nice remembrance on Valentine’s Day,” “I get to read that book I’ve been wanting to read on how to get a raise,” “I get to clean out my garage and make it more attractive in case unexpected opportunities to sell my home develop, so that I can reduce my costs of living and get to enjoy life more.”

Let your imagination run full bore. List all of the things you are grateful you get to do. It is amazing how much more excitement will be generated when you concentrate on the “get to’s” of life.
Zig Ziglar is a Dallas-based motivational speaker and author and a member of Prestonwood Baptist Church. Used by permission from his new book, “Zig Ziglar’s Life Lifters,” from Broadman & Holman Publishers, the trade books arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    About the Author

  • Zig Ziglar