Let’s be honest here. You have an endless to-do list and are burdened by things you have to do. But let’s see how things can be turned around just by changing one word in your vocabulary.
It’s true that life can be hectic and chaotic at times. You might be feeling that way right now and you’re not even sure if you can handle it for one more moment, and whether it will all be over at the end of the day.
In a typical day, your train of thoughts might look something like:
- I have to prepare the notes and slides for my meeting at 9.30am later,
- I need to make a phone call to a client to discuss his marketing plan,
- I’ve got to look through the project plans which my boss just handed over to me, to ensure that the project deliverables are specifically defined,
- there’s so many emails that need my attention,
- and I have to catch up with my mentee for dinner at the end of the day.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, since experts predict that about 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts go through our minds each day, and that translates to an average of 2500 – 3000 thoughts per hour.
At this rate, it’s easy to see why we can be so stressed up and overwhelmed by the things which are going on inside our heads and around us.
However, things need not have to be this way.
I’m not saying that there’s a magic bullet or formula that can instantly take away the cares of the world from you. What I’m saying is that while there’s no running away from our duties and responsibilities, we can shift our perspective towards them.
If you look back at the above train of thoughts, you’ll notice words like “have to“, “need to” and “got to“. These phrases do invoke feelings of burden, drudgery and obligation.
“I have to prepare the notes and slides for my meeting…” feels like you need to dig up Word and Powerpoint and start typing and firing away, and you wonder if your colleagues even care about the amount of effort you’re putting into this.
“I need to make a phone call to a client…” feels like you have to muster emotional juice to pick up the phone and you’re not even sure whether the client will want to listen to whatever you have to say.
“I’ve got to look through the project plans which my boss just handed over to me…” feels like your boss just gave you a ticket to overtime tonight. There goes your dinner and TV time for the evening…
“there’s so many emails that need my attention” feels like everyone just wants a piece of you, and that the emails never end.
“I have to catch up with my mentee for dinner at the end of the day.” feels like after a long day at work, you still have to listen to the challenges which your mentee is facing. As if you don’t have enough problems!
Let’s now change “have to“, “need to” and “got to” to “get to“. When you say you “get to” do something, it’s more like a chance and an opportunity for you to have a go at something, rather than a dreadful compulsion in which you have no choice over.
How does the train of thoughts look like now?
“I get to prepare the notes and slides for my meeting…” feels like you’ve been appointed for this project because you are a valued contributor to the team.
“I get to make a phone call to a client…” feels like you get the chance to converse with the client, listen to their needs and challenges and offer a beneficial solution to their problems.
“I get to look through the project plans which my boss just handed over to me…” feels like you have a say in the project plans and whatever you do does have a significant impact to the project outcomes.
“there’s so many emails that I get to give my attention to…” feels like your voice is important and others are willing to hear it.
“I get to catch up with my mentee for dinner at the end of the day.” feels like the dinner meet up is a wonderful opportunity to get to know him better and to inspire him to be his best.
Even though the number of things on your to-do list remains the same, your perspective about them changes. And when your perspective changes, your attitude and approach changes as well. You’ll start to see things in a more positive light and you will work on them more enthusiastically than if you viewed them as mere burdens and obligations. Repeat that over the course of many days, weeks, months and years and your life will never be the same again.
Back to you. What are some things which you get to do right now?
Image courtesy of Roshan Nikam.