My college strength and conditioning coach, Mark Watts, taught me an important lesson about how to be thankful that applies to life outside of the gym as well as inside it…
As adults, we spend a lot of time talking about all of the things that we have to do.
You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to work out today. You have to write an article. You have to make dinner for your family. You have to go to your son’s game.
Now, imagine changing just one word in the sentences above.
You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.
You get to wake up early for work. You get to make another sales call for your business. You get to cook dinner for your family. By simply changing one word, you shift the way you view each event. You transition from seeing these behaviors as burdens and turn them into opportunities.
Creativity also keeps you grounded. People who spend their life creating understand how hard it is to make something valuable. They appreciate great work. They respect the willingness to take a risk and the effort required to be part of the conversation. They live in the arena instead of judging from the crowd.
And perhaps most importantly: It is through the act of creating new experiences that we discover who we are and what is important to us. The act of creating things is one of the best ways to avoid living a short, unimportant life.
The joy of creativity is why I love photography and why I'm working to become better at it.
Nobody dreams about typing at a keyboard.
Almost everything we fantasize about involves a physical action: making the game winning shot, traveling the world, creating beautiful art. To accomplish the things we dream about, we are required to be makers, explorers, and creators. We are required to move and become active participants in life. In other words, to live fulfilling lives, we need to live physical lives.
Too often, however, we take for granted the opportunity that our health gives us to live a life that’s true to us. Good health allows you to actively participate in your life. Not everyone chooses to live fully, but if you’re not physically fit then you can’t even make the choice if you wanted to do so.
And finally, one of the best ways I’ve found for improving my mind is by improving my body. Not every person who is strong mentally pushes themselves physically. But I have yet to find someone who pushes themselves physically that isn’t strong mentally.
The key point is that both versions of reality are true. You have to do those things, and you also get to do them. We can find evidence for whatever mind-set we choose.
I once heard a story about a man who uses a wheelchair. When asked if it was difficult being confined, he responded, “I’m not confined to my wheelchair—I am liberated by it. If it wasn’t for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my house.” This shift in perspective completely transformed how he lived each day.
I think it’s important to remind yourself that the things you do each day are not burdens, they are opportunities. So often, the things we view as work are actually the reward.
Embrace your constraints. Fall in love with boredom. Do the work.
You don’t have to. You get to.
- And then it took me two weeks to start the article and another week to finish it — even though I wanted to write it. But now, I could cut myself a little more slack for taking so much longer tha
- BTS member, Suga, is still struggling to recover his shoulder after surgery in November 2020. Sugas shoulder problems originated from the incident five years ago.