Tonight’s chapter is perhaps my favorite chapter in the book: Chapter 3 Want To vs. Have To Attitude.
This chapter was profound for me the first time I read it.
Tice explains how we don’t HAVE to do anything but that we tend to tell ourselves that we HAVE to do things. He explains that by telling ourselves that we HAVE to do something, we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
Tice encourages you to dig down and find out why you WANT to do the things you are telling yourself you HAVE to do… because ultimately you WANT to do it for some reason deep down or you wouldn’t be doing it.
It’s all about priorities baby!
Ultimately, if you can get to the bottom of why you feel you “have to” do something and find out why you “want to” do it, then you can prioritize that with your other priorities and make your decisions based on your values–rather than a self-created pressure.
Coming from a “want to” place vs. “have to” place creates less resistance to the goal… the goal that you ultimately WANT to do for some reason deep down.
Tice talks about Constructive Motivation and Restrictive Motivation.
Constructive Motivation is painting a picture of what you want in life and striving for it. It is all about your values, priorities and what you WANT to do.
Restrictive Motivation is avoiding a negative picture that you don’t want to happen. It is about fear, “I can’ts” and “I have to or elses”.
I think of Constructive Motivation like driving forward in a car with your eye on the road of where you want to go.
Restrictive Motivation is more like backing a car up. You are too busy looking at all the things you don’t want to hit that you can’t move very fast and you can’t maintain momentum very easily.
When you feel like you “Have to” do something, ask yourself “Why?”… and if your answer is another “have to” keep asking “Why?”–like an obsessed 3 yr old until you get down to what it is you really WANT.
For example: I hate… no loathe… doing dishes. I feel like as though I HAVE to do them. I definitely don’t WANT to do dishes… am I crazy or something?
When I walk into the kitchen and the dishes aren’t done I feel awful.
Overwhelmed… with everything else I need to do.
I am agitated…
I feel like I NEED/HAVE to do the dishes to regain peace, order and cleanliness…
So in essence, I enjoy a peaceful and clean kitchen to cook and bake in…
Wait for it… Wait for it…
I want to do the dishes to maintain the kitchen environment which I enjoy.
Now, I realize to some folks this might sound like a whole lot of sugar coatin’… but that is not it at all. This shift in thinking wouldn’t work if it didn’t really get down to what I want.
I am not telling myself that dishes are fun or that dishpan hands are lovely.
I am simply cutting through all of the unproductive protesting of “I hate dishes” and getting down to the point of why I want to do them…why I am even telling myself they need to be done… a clean kitchen. I enjoy cooking and cooking is a heck of a lot easier in a clean kitchen.
Truth be told, if I didn’t really want to do them deep down… I wouldn’t –Really, I don’t have to and there have been times I have chose not to… just sayin’.
So what is the point of claiming I “have to” do something when there are valid reasons of why I want to do it?
Tice explains this is the difference between a positive and negative attitude. Positive attitudes lean towards a goal while negative attitudes lean away from a goal.
So what about you?
Are you spending your life wanting to do things or having to do them?