A few weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in a gratitude exercise facilitated by Lewis Howes as part of his School of Greatness Academy at The World Domination Summit #WDS2016. Side note: There is a whole bunch of goodness to be explored in both those links which I highly encourage you check out after you are done reading this.
During the exercise we were asked to share (with a partner, but if you haven’t got one handy you could instead write a list) all the stuff we HAVE to do. For two minutes we just spewed all the things that were filling our days…
(If you’d like to play along and are writing a list, don’t cheat yourself. Write as much as you can write for two minutes. You know you have a ton of stuff you HAVE to do!)
I HAVE to feed the cats. I have to take my daughter to school. I have to do laundry. I have to make lunch. I have to pick out tile. I have to…. etc. etc.
Then, after we each had a chance to spew our lists we were then asked to repeat the exercise, this time by substituting the word CHOOSE.
I CHOOSE to feed the cats. I CHOOSE to take my daughter to school. I CHOOSE to do laundry. I CHOOSE to make lunch. I CHOOSE to pick out tile. I CHOOSE to….
By changing that one word, the emotional charge disappeared. I didn’t really HAVE to do any of those things. Every day, in every moment I CHOOSE what I am doing. Certainly if I choose to not feed the cats there will be consequences. In my case, those cats will start walking up and down the hall wailing and crying which in turn will wake my daughter and she won’t get all the sleep she needs and in turn will be very grouchy and difficult… Every choice has its consequences but there really isn’t anything I HAVE to do.
Then, the exercise continues! I’m already feeling pretty good about reframing my world with choices instead of have to-s, and Lewis gives us additional instructions. We are to do the exercise again, this time replacing CHOOSE with BLESSED and we are also told to add the word BECAUSE to the formula.
I am BLESSED to feed the cats BECAUSE they are furry fun beasts that bring incredible joy and delight to our family every day.
I am BLESSED to take my daughter to school BECAUSE she will have an opportunity to learn at one of the best schools in California,
I am BLESSED to do laundry BECAUSE I don’t have to haul water from a creek to do it. I am BLESSED because I have other clothes to wear while I do the washing.
I am BLESSED to make lunch BECAUSE I am lucky enough to have good nutritious food available to give to my family. I am BLESSED to make lunch because my girl will grow up strong and healthy BECAUSE of the good food I am able to give her. I am BLESSED to make lunch BECAUSE my refrigerator is full of good choices.
I am BLESSED indeed!
The thing that really helps this part to be extra juicy is to get super clear and specific about those BECAUSE-S. Once you are clear why you are doing the things you do then the HAVE TO-s just melt away.
So how about if you try it now? What are you BLESSED to do today? I’d love to hear in a comment down below!