How a Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude

This past year I have noticed how my vocabulary impacts my attitude. Words have power. They impact others, of course, but they can also have an impact on us.

How a Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude

For example, several weeks ago, I was headed out of town to a speaking engagement. A friend called and asked me where I was going. I said, “Oh, I’m headed to San Jose. I have to speak at a convention.” I said it with a little resignation in my voice.

When I hung up, it hit me. I don’t have to speak. I get to speak. That instantly changed my attitude.

How many people would gladly do this for free—or even pay for the opportunity? Yet I was getting paid to do it.

The first expression (i.e., I have to do it) is the language of duty. Nothing wrong with that. I am all for responsibility. But too often, we say it with a sigh, like it’s a sentence—or we are a victim.

The second expression (i.e., I get to do it) is the language of privilege. It is as if we have been given a gift, and we are relishing the opportunity.

This subtle shift may seem small, but it has had a big impact on my attitude. I am choosing the language of privilege every chance I get.

  • I don’t have to workout this morning; I get to workout. What a privilege to be healthy and be able to care for my body.
  • I don’t have to write a new blog post. I get to write one. What a privilege to have readers that actually care what I have to say.
  • I don’t have to meet with the guys in my mentoring group; I get to. What a privilege to meet with eight young men who want to learn and grow.
  • I don’t have to go to church today; I get to go to church. What a privilege to belong to a church where I can worship God and where I have such good friends.
  • I don’t have to stop by the grocery store on my way home; I get to stop by the grocery store. What a privilege to live in a place and at a time where we don’t have to forage for food.

You get the idea.

You can make this shift, too. Here are three suggestions:

  1. Become aware of your vocabulary. This is a little like my post last week on the difference between try and do. The first step is to actually become aware of the words you are using.
  2. Start using get to rather than have to. You don’t need to become compulsive about this, but start intentionally using the language of privilege rather than duty.
  3. Notice the difference it makes in your attitude. For starters, it can suddenly make you grateful. Rather than dreading or resenting an activity, you can be thankful for it.

A few days ago, I was talking to an author friend, who was lamenting the fact that he had to actually write his book, now that he had a contract.

I stopped him and said, “No, Josh, you get to write this book. This has been a goal of yours for as long as I have known you. You are living your dream, buddy!”

Instantly, his attitude shifted. “You’re right. I get to write this book.”

Question: What do you GET to do today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Sundi Jo Graham

    Thank you for this today, as I’ve been focusing on the fact that I HAVE to take a final today, instead of focusing on the fact that God has blessed me with the opportunity to go to school. 

    I’ve been telling others about your post the other day on saying, “I’m trying.” That’s really had me paying attention to what I’m speaking. Thanks.

    You’re missing a word in this sentence. Thought you would want to know: “I am trying choose the language of privilege every chance I get.”

    • Chris Patton

      Actually, you should probably eliminate the words “trying to” and change them to “determined to” if you really want to be on target.  

      I read a great post about this the other day!

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        Good call. Maybe I’ll just change them to, “I am already doing.” 

      • Joe Lalonde

        While responding to Michael’s post, I was thinking of other words to use instead of trying. Determined to sounds pretty good!

        • Enoch Burke

          Yes. Like “I get to write this comment”!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Good luck on the test Sundi!

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        Thanks so much Joe. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      I fixed that sentence. Thanks!

    • Geoff Talbot

      Hi Sundi & Michael,

      This is a great blog and it really hit me hard. Have is such a bad word when it is used in the context you describe!

      Have is everything we have been given and “get” the opportunities that arise from have.

      Thanks Again

      Geoff Talbot

      • Sundi Jo Graham

        Very true Geoff. 

  • Timothy Fish

    I noticed this a long time ago. Everyone does it. I suspect it is a way of trying to appear humble. There is also this notion that no one is supposed to actually enjoy something that is considered work. We’re all supposed to be longing to hang out at the beach or whatever it is that lazy people do with their free time. And especially with something like public speaking, which so many people are afraid to do, to say you get to do it implies that you are special because you actually want to do it. I’m not sure that changing from “have” to “get” will do anythign to change our attitude, since we already want to do these things, but it will certainly make our communication more clear.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Why not try it? Thanks.

    • Ben Patterson

      Good point, Timothy. If you like your job then there should be no harm in saying so.

    • Andy

      Hi Timothy, 

      I like this quote from Marianne Wiliamson: … as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

      I sometimes put myself down to avoid triggering peoples discomfort – and at the end, I feel less adequate and I am perpetuating a cycle of negativity. So I now take a moment to center myself and say things as they are. 

      I don’t feel cheated anymore. :)

  • Patricia Zell

     I am praying about writing regular posts on my blog (rather than just turning my material into a website and being done with it), so the words “I get to write a blog post” may be my mantra in 2012. Like many other people, my time crunch is the biggest problem in writing posts, but God can make the time for me to do what I really like to do.

    Way back about 35 years ago, after my husband had some serious health problems that almost cost him his life, God opened our eyes to Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (about choosing life and blessings rather than death and cursings). Our vocabulary went through a huge change as we started speaking life rather than death and blessings rather than cursings. That change has continued through this day–it is just as easy to speak positive words as it is to speak negative. (And, it is just as easy to speak words of love rather than words of hate.)

    • Brandon Weldy

      I started posting regularly just a few months ago. I thought of a time when it would work and I stuck with it. There have been days when I thought “I have to write today” and it was draining. Thinking “I get to” helps considerably.
      It’s great that the two of you were able to have this shift in thinking! I hope that 35 years from now I can look back to a time when my thinking shifted and it changed the course of my life.

  • Chris Patton

    I do not HAVE to go to work today…I GET to go to work today at a place where I can freely honor God and live out my faith as I work!  

    I GET to run a business as a steward for God and watch Him impact employees, customers, and the community through this business!  I am certainly privileged and thankful for it!

    Thanks for another good post.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Chris. You’ve got the hang of it.

  • Joey Espinosa

    What a great post!

    Today, I get to pursue a new job, as a few weeks ago I resigned from the one I had worked in this past year. I have a privilege of using my skills and passions in something I’ve never done before — teaching at a small private school.

  • Jon Stolpe

    I get to help my team at work today.  I have the privilege of passing along merit increase statements, bonus incentive statements, and performance feedback.  I get to rub shoulders with co-workers and friends as we work towards meeting our company and personal targets.

    On a personal note, I get to guest post over at The Handwritten by Michael Perkins.  I get to spend time with my family after work.  I get to go over our family budget and finalize family Christmas shopping plans.

    It should be a great day!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great shift in vocabulary. Awesome attitude!

  • Joe Lalonde

    Great post. My wife and I have shifted the words we use as well.  We also try to encourage our youth group students to do the same. It is amazing the difference changing a few words can make.

    Some of the things I GET TO do today:

    I GET TO go to work: There are plenty of people who would love to have the job I have, or a job at all.

    I GET TO write a blog post: It’s another day to write. I am glad I get to share what I have learned and am learning with others. To see people respond and say that it has touched them.

    I GET TO take care of my dogs: They provide great companionship, joy, and laughter. It should be a joy to take care of them and spend time with them.

    I GET TO spend time with my wife: Yesterday was our 7 year anniversary. It reminded me, once again, of all the reasons I married her and that it is a blessing to spend time with her.

    • Ben Patterson

      Congratulations on celebrating 7 years of marriage! We’re cheering you on for another 7 years and beyond.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks Ben! We’re looking forward to many more.

        My mother and father have set a great example. They’ve been married for over 30 years together and my father and his first wife were married 20 or so years before she passed away.

        • Ben Patterson

          That’s sweet to hear.  I also have the benefit of seeing my parents enjoy their marriage 25+ years later.  It’s huge!

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s an awesome list. You’ve got the hang of it!

      • Joe Lalonde

        Thanks Michael.

        I was thinking of other words that my wife and I use instead of words with negative connotations. We also use the word CHOOSE or CHOSE quite often.

        It helps us to not feel helpless in our situations and that there is always a choice to be made.

    • Jeff Randleman

      Congrats on the 7 years!

  • Joe Abraham

    I have noticed an amazing fact that our passion (or lack of passion) does emerge in our everyday vocabulary. For example, to know someone’s attitude, just listen to that person talking for a few minutes, even if that’s a telephone conversation! 

    However, the good news is that, we can transform our attitudes by simply changing our vocabulary! I have been practicing it for quite sometime and I find it amazing.

    Thanks for the very helpful post, Michael.

  • Cyberquill

    What a privilege to live in a place and at a time where we don’t have to forage for food.

    Trouble is, we have to forage for money to get to buy the food at the grocery store.

    Personally, no matter how often I refer to my leg wear as “pants” (plural), I keep thinking of them as a single object. So I’m not too big a believer in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. 

    That said, it’s probably a good exercise to replace “have to” with “choose to” or “get to,” albeit remaining mindful that we often have to do one thing (e.g., work or panhandle) in order to get to do others (such as buy food).

    • Michael Hyatt

      If you get to forage for money, it’s because you have your health. Yet another thing to be thankful for!

      • Cyberquill

        True. And when the doctor gives me six months to live, I’ll be thankful, for he could have given me three months only. It could always be worse, save for the unfortunate individual who’s worse off than anyone else on the planet, so every person except one has at least one reason to be grateful.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Yup! We will be uttering ‘have to’, when we lead our life with surviving mentality. We feel that we have to do in order to get by. A life spent with in this surviving mode would be a hard life indeed.

    On the other hand, the people with succeeding mentality are the people who will uttering ‘got to’ in thier life. They will not be doing anything out of compulsion, but out of love & passion and they  find happiness and meaning in it.

  • Sutton Parks

    Changing from a “have to” to a “get to” is empowering.  The choice is mine when I “get to” do something.  Also, I have a strong vein of defiance in me.  If someone, even myself, tells me I “have to” do something my response will sometimes be, “No I don’t”.  That defiance is not my best trait but using “get to” can help me overcome that.   As you mentioned in #3, it stimulates an attitude of gratitude.  Thank you for the thoughtful post Michael.

  • Ben Patterson

    I GET to make breakfast for my wife and four children. Then I get to take the kids to school.

    I also get to attend a Church Staff Meeting this morning and share some time with the other church staff.

    Even tonight I get to lead a small group of nine 8th grade boys. I think they have to put up with me as their leader ;)

  • Anonymous

    I get to go running, then yoga, and then take my husband for eye surgery.

    Mike, I’ve always said, “I get to go running,” but I’ve never applied
    this to everything else I do even though I usually keep a positive frame
    on life. Thank you. 

  • Alan Kay

    Thank you for theses great points. Your Josh story is marvelous. 
    In a similar vein, the language we use can have a great impact on others. For example, we often try to be helpful to people by saying, ‘You should…’ Or, ‘You need to to…’ This can create resistance. Instead, we might to try, ‘I can see you getting to make progress on this issue by doing…’. We can then ask them, ‘How do you see that being of benefit to you and how do you see yourself doing it?’      

    • Brandon Weldy

      I like your lines about encouraging others to get tasks done. I think by wording it that way instead of “you have to” would help improve their attitude as well as help them get more accomplished.

  • Saurav Chatterjee

    Lovely Post. Truely it does make a Difference… “have to” and “Get to”.

  • J. Gary Ellison

    I think this is major, and I need an overhaul.

    BTW, your last sentence has a typo: I get to write (not right) this book.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for pointing out the typo. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of gaff a spell-checker won’t catch!

      • Philputnam

        There were actually two typos. “Your” and “right”. You fixed the second, but not the first. Not to quibble, just thought you might like to fix it. I really love your emails. They seem to somehow focus on things that God is dealing with in my life. Thank you.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Ha! Just caught that one myself and fixed it five minutes ago. Thanks.

  • Daren Sirbough

    I GET to spend time with God today reading his word and getting quality time with him. I also GET to spend time with my girlfriend on our day off. I can’t wait to implement this with the tasks that I GET to do tomorrow.

    • Daren Sirbough

      Tomorrow I GET to write a blog post

      I GET to service my car

      I GET to enjoy the outdoors as I am going about my errands.

  • Genealynn

    I get to start a new career journey. I have been searching for 15 months only to have reached a point of helpless dispare. Then in less than 30 hours God dropped this wonderful blessing in my lap. I get to work today!

  • Daniel Decker

    110% agree. Words matter and we “get to”choose them. : ) We just have to make the choice to be intentional about them and not discount positive, affirming words as “Polly Anna” or cliche (as some like to do).

    It all goes back to perspective and how we decide to frame the world in which we live. Life is a gift, if we choose look at it that way. (And, positive words are contagious. The more we choose life-giving words, the more we encourage others to do the same).

    • Michael Hyatt

      I like your concept of “framing the world.” So true. Thanks!

  • Carlos Reynaldo

    Perfect timing Michael…I get to fly to Las Vegas tomorrow and speak at The Mandalay Hotel and fly back to my home in Los Angeles.

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic. Reminds me of a book I read a few years back. “How We Talk Can Change the Way We Work.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Larry. I have added this to my Amazon wish list. It looks great.

  • Eric S. Mueller

    Good reminder, Michael. Thank  you.

    It’s interesting how familiarity can breed contempt. I’ve always thought I’d enjoy being a professional speaker, but like many other things I’ve done in my life, I can see how it could become familiar enough not to enjoy it anymore.

  • Lisa

    I couldn’t agree with you more!  Reframing life through our vocabulary choices is absolutely critical.  Shifting from “have to” to  “choose to”  can entirely change each and every experience. 

    Today, I choose to make the most of every opportunity as I conquer the mighty “to do” list and respond to the needs around me.

    Great post!

  • Charlie Lyons

    Good thoughts here, Michael. I get to go into the office today for the first time in more than a week to get caught up on things because I’ve been at a staff conference, getting to be fed and refreshed in what I do and who I am. Definitely continues the “try/do” conversation from last week. Thanks for sharing.

  • David Barnes

    Your message about the power of words is a timely reminder – especially when we are using the shorthand of the twitter-verse and text messaging to communicate so much now.  And thanks for the “get to” prompt – a real tonic!  

    BTW in the last sentence – the quote should read “You’re right … ” 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for pointing out the typo David. I have fixed it.

  • Anonymous

    Michael – what a great reminder in starting a Monday morning.  When our kids were little we experimented with these subtle changes in vocabulary.  We reminded them we were “Americans” not “American’ts.”  We refused to talk about “problems” – only “opportunities for solutions.”  Those little habits still help me today in framing my daily activities.  I remind myself that success is not a destination – it’s a direction, and everything I do on that path is part of the success process.

    Thanks for clearly stating how we often slide into a negative framing of the things we have the privilege of doing.

  • John Richardson

    I have noticed this effect with Goal Setting. Let’s say I like writing and want to write a book. If I write the goal down and take it step by step, everything is fine. If I announce it to the world and tell all my friends and family that I’m writing a book, I have instantly changed  “I want to,” into  “I have to.” People are now expecting a completed book in a week. They get impatient. Now my writing becomes a chore. Having to write a book is much different from wanting to. 

    In this case it would be better to confide in a few people, such as a mentor or friend, and leave the broadcast until the book is done. And using your word “get” would make the job even easier…. if I start every morning with, “I get to write a chapter today.”

    • Ben Patterson

      Good insight, John.  And all the best on that book!

  • Perry Holley

    Great lesson Michael and one I have had to learn a couple of time in my life. I finally wrote about it so I could make it more of a permanent mindset. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!  It is a powerful lesson to learn. Affects everything.

  • iGranny

    Profound simplicity-  Love it Michael

  • TCAvey

    Wonderful post and so very true! 
    Today, I get to take my son to the doctor.  I am thankful to live in a country with great health care and to have insurance to help pay for it. 

  • Daara4994

    This is an awesome concept.  Thank you.

  • Cjtc

    My husband and I started using, I get to, with our children years ago. It does change your attitude. Today my youngest graduates from college a semester early with the ‘ I get to’ attitude. Our eldest is in medical school and with all the stress meets everyday with this positive out look.
    Positive attitude! Makes a difference!

  • Bobaubuchon

    Though it may sound strange “I get to speak at the funeral of a dear saint who faithfully served with gladness.” A rare but beautiful blessing it is it share of a meaningful life. Thanks for your encouragement to my life work.

  • Kelly Combs

    Spot on post.  I can lament that I have to do the laundry, or look at how incredibly blessed my family is with an abundance of clothes. And the fact that I am blessed with children that I get to bless by the things that I do for them.

    Attitude is everything, isn’t it?

  • Dyaji Charles

    Hey Michael, 
    You just blessed  my life with this article in a spectacular way. I have always known that a change in vocabulary can translate to a shift in attitude. But then, I have always found myself using the wrong words in certain situation. Most times because I do it involuntarily. But thank you for this wake up call. I should be Intentional about the words I choose to use. 

  • Gaylene

    I get to start writing chapter one of my dissertation! I am taking another step in the journey the Lord has laid out for me. How blessed I am!

  • Ayomide Akinkugbe

    Our words are a result of our thoughts. A change in our thinking would most definitely change our vocabulary hence leading to a change in HEARTttitudes. When our hearts are on fire, sparks definitely would fly out. A good question to also consider is what we are feeding our minds with, cause in the long run, we are what we eat. Thanks Michael for this amazing post, you’ve given my mind some new good thoughts to chew on. :)

  • Jonathan Michael Charles Colwi

    Today, I have the privilege of challenging indifference among public servants insisting that there is nothing that they can do to change our situation and that their hands are tied…  

  •!/PeterJHoppe Peter Hoppe

    This is so true. Reminds me of Blue Country’s song “I Get To” – Google will show a video as the top result, but I didn’t find an official video. If anyone wants to check it out see iTunes or Google. (I’m not affiliated with them, just love the song and love your post @mhyatt:disqus  and thought I’d share)

  • Chiefersone

    I get to first and foremost love the Lord this morning and spend time having coffee with Him. Then I get to spread Him anyway He directs me. Oh what fun it is to be called a friend of God.

  • Cheri Gregory

    Great challenge, as final semester grades are due Friday!  So, I get to spend time this week reflecting on my students’ growth and needs.

  • Rick Carr

    I like the “rather than dreading… you can be thankful.” I believe when we learn to give thanks for all things, we will radically change how we live as Christians, and how the world perceives Christians.
    Actually, I was encouraged by the whole article, but that part particularly ties in with the message the Lord has put on my heart.

  • Joe Blaylock

    Great post, Michael and very timely. I have been dealing with this at my church. I am the Music Director at my church and at times, I am sad to admit, that I find myself using the same language you mentioned in this post…”I have to go to practice” or “I have to work on parts tonight”, etc. Privilege is a better way of looking at your vocabulary. Thanks for the post!

  • Alice M

    I get to go to work every day with a team of fantastic and passionate people. and I love it! :)

  • Pauline Logan

    “Get to” vs. “have to” has been on my mind lately also, Michael. Today I’m grateful for the time to continue writing Christmas greetings to friends, family and neighbors, and to begin a 30-minutes-per-day project of organizing books and papers in my home. Especially regarding paper organization, I’ll keep the goals of a pleasant home and a usable home office in my mind.
    Thank you for your ongoing insights and encouragement, Michael!

  • KatieMc

    Good morning Michael!  I get to go to my job, after having been unemployed for several months this year. I get to do some freelance work which is helping me to pay off debt. I get to continue my detox/cleanse to make my body more healthy. 

  • Ava Jae

    What a fantastic post–you’re absolutely right. It’d never even occurred to me the negative connotations of saying I have to do something. I’ll definitely be paying much more attention to this now. 

  • Cynthia Herron

    You’re so right–words do have power. For instance, God SPOKE the world into existence.
    I love words. I love to write them, to say them, to roll them around on my tongue. So much of our mindset is affected by the actual words we use and choose to verbalize. A single word can build up or tear down. I try to remember this as I greet people throughout my day and encounter various circumstances.
    And what do I “get” to do today? Hmmm… I “get” to cherish the freedom of “choice”–a by-product of living in the greatest country on earth.

  • cheryl

    I get to make “exploding” cookings to take to Denver at Christmas time

  • tammy werthem

    Thanks for the post!  I Get to raise my son, teach him school, take care of our home.  I get to choose Joy and reach out to others.  I get to pray for my husband as he is away and be an encouragement to him.  I get to live a life that is beyond my wildest expectations.  I GET how blessed I am.

  • Gina Holmes

    I needed this. Thanks, Mike. 

  • Brandon Weldy

    I get to come to the office and schedule out events and complete some lessons.

  • Brennan Eric

    I “Get To” meet with new patients today

  • Jenna Jeske

    I get to work today – what a privilege to work in a healthy work environment.

    I get to continue to attack my debt using Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball – what a privilege to honor God with my finances. 

    I get to write a blog post today – what a privilege to share my heart with my readers.

    I get to make supper tonight – what a privilege to have an amazing husband to cook for.

  • Jim Redman

    Very good article. But a publisher should either know how to proofread or engage someone who does… that last sentence of the article grates on me to no end.  It SHOULD read ““You’re right. I get to write this book.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thank you. It is fixed.

      Here’s my philosophy of proofreading: Should You Have Someone Proofread Your Blog Posts?

      • Brandon Weldy

        I tried following this link but it did not take me there. I went to a page that said “Oops –  Something Has Gone Wrong”

        • Michael Hyatt

          Sorry about that it. I think I fixed it. Thanks.

  • Pat Gerbrandt

    Today, I get to (am privileged to) spend several hours with a godly younger woman, sewing extra angel costumes because all the children from our children’s ministry are included in the Christmas celebration. I get to write letters and notes, and also have the privilege of editing testimonials from those involved in Christian camping in the former Soviet Union. Thanks, Michael for reminding me to choose my words carefully.

  • Sarah S.

    My son was blessed to have a little league coach years ago that was the most enthusiastic man about life I have ever known, and his vocabulary was much like this. When I was working a part time job that alternated days (and was draining the life out of me), he would ask, “Did you get to work today?” Yes, yes, I did — and I got a paycheck and many other blessings. Love this reminder — and the one about the exercise! I am SO unmotivated right now! But I have a healthy body I am called to be a good steward of. So I get to exercise!

  • Cocchi patti

    I get to go Christmas shopping today rather than staying in bed with a cold.

  • Larry Galley

    Michael, thanks for the reminder.  I get it.  I makes perfect sense. 

  • Joy Patton

    Today I get to accompany my mother-in-law to the hospital for some testing. She has dementia, and I get to be her advocate and care for her the way she has cared for many others in her lifetime, including my husband. Thanks for the reminder of what a privilege it is to care for the widow in my life.

    • Keith Wissman

      It was a privilege to be my father’s advocate, guardian, trustee, etc for the last three years as dementia robbed him of his memory, vitality, personality and joy. Even though it was/still  is a drain physically, emotionally and spiritually I was blessed to take care of him when he no longer could as he and mom did for me when I was young. It will be two months tomorrow.

      Thank you Michael and Joy!

  • Patty Gardner

    Isn’t that the truth! I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to say, “I’m tired” a lot.  I probably really am tired but I’m trying to stop saying that because I think it makes me MORE tired.  Words are powerful.  Thank you for the article – great reminder.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I found this, too. In fact, I really learned it from my wife, Gail, who rarely complains.

  • Kay Wilson

    Fantastic thought, Michael.  I am truly blessed as I get to help people every day with their health, wellness and wealth.  God has placed me right where He wants me and I love it.  Sharing this post, thank you.

  • Leah Morgan

    I caught myself thinking this way just Saturday, “I have to sing tomorrow.” I realized how ungrateful that thought sounded in my head and wondered what kind of attitude prompted that feeling. I determined to think it through.

    Perhaps my reticence comes from observing soloists who are obsessed with being seen and heard, and in their efforts to advance any small gift for melody into a career, they adopt this plastic performance mode and the focus on service and ministry is lost. It’s so unattractive to me I can allow it to color my own willingness to participate in the thing associated with it, singing.

    I decided I was honored to sing. I was privileged to share the loftiest ideals set to music, and began thinking about the man who wrote the lyrics, Mark Lowry. A gratefulness arose for his willingness to use his gifts to honor God, abilities that gave us the great turns of phrases in Mary Did You Know.

    I experienced a total shift in attitude.

    I found this article in my inbox Monday morning verifying what I just discovered to be so.

  • Jeff Randleman

    Great thoughts! Perspective is critical.  I kbnow I often need to recalibrate mine.  Thanks!

  • Barry Hill

    I live in the suburbs of DC and traffic is “challenging” and everyone complains about it! So, I decided to change the language I use about about traffic. I try to use the 30-40 minutes in the car to pray, listen to podcasts, make calls, and I get ready to hit my front door and be engaged as a dad.  But, it all started with mentally making the decision to not “fight traffic” but to get 30 minutes to “focus”. Like you said, Mike, it’s a small change but an important one.

  • Mariana

    This is so simple yet such a powerful shift.

  • Tunstall8

    Mr. Hyatt,

       Thank you for your encouragement, I have been working on a Green project for over the last year and a half, Trying to find Investors has been very taxing and challenging at the same time. Some days I just want to give up and quit.

    Your words have been exciting and encouraging and you are correct, I get to search out and meet new people and connect with that one right person that will see my vision.

    GOD Bless you and Thank you again, May you and your Family have a Blessed and Merry Christmas,

    Zachary Tunstall
    Cre8ive Planet – ReGenesis

  • Shannon Milholland

    I love it when God puts a common message on more than one heart. I recently wrote about the same thing based on some wise inspiration from my 6 year old. Thought you might want to check it out!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful. Identical thought. I love it as expressed by your six-year-old.

  • Tom DeWitt

    Several years ago our company adopted a philosophy similar to your proposal. In particular it is always “our pleasure to perform some service or courtesy.” Suggesting that it is “no problem” or “you’re welcome” as a response to a thank you does not illustrate that the attitude that we should have is to be appreciative of the opportunity to serve.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree that this is a big difference. It is one of the reasons I like Chick-fil-A so much. Their employees all say this.

  • Kumarshyam42

    Try CHOOSE instead of GET.
    ‘Get’ gives power to the circumstances in your life, and privilege to you.

    ‘Choose’ leaves you empowered to deal with any circumstances and you are no longer to what you ‘get’ either.

  • Dennis Brooke

    A similar example is when someone suggests something and you respond, “That’s not a BAD idea.” That sounds to me like saying, “Your idea doesn’t totally stink.”
    I’ve trained myself to reply, “That’s a [good] [great] or [excellent] idea.” I’ve also managed to encourage people around me to do the same. Much more encouraging.
    And I hope nobody responds to this comment with, “That’s not a bad idea.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. Much, much better.

  • marcapitman

    Thanks for this!

    YEARS ago, I heard myself saying I had to go to work. Then I realized what an awful message that was sending to my kids! We are created to work. And I really love getting to fundraise for great nonprofits. So I immediately began saying “get to” in terms of work.

    It is amazing how it picks up your energy level! AND sends a great message to my kids. :)

  • Ann Musico

    I loved this post and totally agree (I’ve written some on the same subject!).  I got to go visit several local chiropractors and give them literature and information about my business and the products I am privileged to offer.  What a difference “get to” makes!

  • Angelindescise9

    Thank you for these words of wisdom,
        It definately changed my attitude. I get another chance at life with my children and my family and all my wonderful friends I have in my life today. I get to make a difference today instead of making the same old mistakes. I get to be myself today because God gave me another  day of life.

  • Stephanie

    My business coach caught me using the same language, saying “I have to…”, and corrected me on it. Such a simple adjustment makes all the difference in my approach to my work, relationships, etc. 

    This week, I get to speak at the American Volleyball Coaches Association convention! 

    Thanks for the reminder, Michael. 

  • Clarke

    EXCELLENT!  I get to help our son and daughter-in-law prepare to move into a different home.  I get to play with and love on our grandchidren!  God has greatly blessed that I am healthy enough to help in many ways.

  • Katherine Harms

    I get to write a blog and a chapter of my book in progress in the main salon of our retirement home, a bluewater cruising sailboat. It’s a lot of work to write, regardless of where I do it, but in between sessions of research and writing, we cruise the ocean and feel that we are the first to discover every new landfall, regardless of how many other people already know all about it. I get to live out several dreams, including an adventurous life with my husband as a counter to the sometime drudgery of simply keeping my behind in my chair in front of the computer.

  • Jericho Mccune

    Hello. First time reader. Excellent post. I agree that the words we use are important to the way we think, and the way we use words says a lot about the kind of people we are.

    I would like to bring up one point of friendly debate. I think it is more important to change our understanding of the word duty than it is to try and avoid using the “language of duty.”

    If people begin to think of duties as privileges, they will become less inclined to do them. I “get” to do a lot of things, but I don’t do them because I don’t want to. I don’t play basketball every day, even though I have that privilege, and I don’t set around in my underwear and watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show – but I could.

    I “have” to do a certain set of things to achieve my goals. It is my duty. I write daily, constructively watch and listen to media regularly, read a selection of news websites and periodicals religiously and discuss everything fervently with my peers. If I don’t, I won’t succeed.

    I enjoy my duties. They are duties that I’ve given myself, and I know that they’re required for me to make my life the way I want it to be. I don’t think of them as a chore or a privilege, I think of them as a way to fulfill a dream.

    The word duty shouldn’t have a negative connotation.

    Also, duty and privilege are mutually exclusive. Some acts are both a duty and a privilege. Voting, for example, would be better served to be thought of as both a duty and a privilege. Too many people believe it is the latter without being the former, which results in horrible voter turnout. Worship is also a privilege given to us by a society free of religious persecution, but as it is seen as less of a duty there are fewer people filling the pews.

    Food for thought?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is indeed for for thought. You make several valid points. I think the important thing is to choose words that empower us.

  • Ngina Otiende

    I love your insights here Michael.

    Scripture says “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh”

    But as you have rightly noted, we can  actually train our mouths to speak right…and our hearts (attitude) will follow.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Michael

    This post was exactly what I needed today. I easily fall into the vocabulary trap and find myself feeling down when I could easily reverse the situation and have a positive attitude.
    Thanks for the encouraging words and helping me remember to be aware of and use a positive vocabulary.

  • Chuck Roberts

    For the most part I agree with you, Michael. Most of us are privileged to “get to” do so many of the things we do. The only thing I would say differently is that sometimes we’d be wise to pay attention to why we said we “have to” do something. It might reveal something deeper going on inside, or a change we need to make. For example, a person might say, “I have to go speak to this group,” and upon examination, realize she’s traveling more than she wishes she was and needs to make a change.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Excellent point. Our language really does reveal (and sometime “betrays”) our thinking. Thanks.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I have seen this type of thing work quite well with my wife who has been going through some tough times over the past year. A whole different element is when it is used to lessen negative situations. Saying “I’m uncomfortable” instead of “I’m in pain” really changes your attitude in how you deal with pain.

  • Brcooper8108

    Now that I am retired, I GET TO volunteer at the hospital ER and the high school nurse’s office and wellness center. It is a privilege to help out – and it helps me also!

  • Dawn Wilson

    Michael, one of the biggest changes in my life and ministry came when I stopped saying that I was “overwhelmed,” and changed that to “time challenged.” It’s hard to deal with “overwhelmed,” but with “time challenged,” there are some choices I can make about my time. Thanks for a positive, helpful post.

  • Ricky Lewis

    Thanks for this post Michael. This not only has changed my attitude and perspective but as I have worked on this (and continue to do so), it has also increased my confidence. This comes out in my speaking opportunities and also in my non-profit dealings with board members and potential donors. 

    As always thanks for your insight and wisdom.

  • Margaret E Anderson

    Amen, brother. in my training courses, I do a little experiment showing how the “have to” head talk actually physically weakens a person’s physical strength.

    Today I get to learn how to make my own web site updates.

  • Will Laohoo

    I love this, Mike. It’s so true. Just changing our vocabulary a bit can make a huge difference! It can sound like false assurance, but I’m starting to find that skepticism is often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Today, I get to reach out to shakers and movers in the marketing world to build a digital magazine on a topic no one’s talking about! Earlier, I got to have a great text dialogue with my uncle after wishing him a happy birthday. Later, I’ll get to spend time with relatives I don’t see too often and have dinner with them!

    Thanks for helping us adjust our perspectives! I’m hoping that soon, you’ll get to offer another book to readers, and I’ll get to win one!

  • Chris Lautsbaugh

    I love it.
    I use this type of illustration when teaching people about their relationship with God. It is no wonder when we have to read our bibles, have to pray, have to have to have to – we find no joy.

    What kind of relationship is one where things are required? It should be want to, get to, am privileged to…..

    This applies to so much of life – great thoughts Michael 

  • Karen

    I found this blog on Facebook (a friend had shared it) and I have to say “Thank You” for your post!

    Several months ago, God laid a challenge on my heart to change my vocabulary, and my attitude. I was challenged to start a thankfulness journal. The first few days I wrote all the usual things…. Thankful for kids, home, job, etc. Then there came a day that all I could write was that I was thankful for the breath to cry with – it was the only think I could think of to be thankful for. When I did that, something changed in me. I am now seeing every experience that I have, good or bad, as an opportunity, as a growing experience.

    I began to see my attitude shift, and my thankfulness list grew and grew each day! I am less stressed, and have many less worries than I used to. (let me just say that I don’t have any less stressors – just a new perspective!

  • kimanzi constable

    Awesome, beacause of this post I’m excited about getting to work out today!

  • Debby Thompson

    I too GET to write my book!

  • Leslie Allebach

    This afternoon, while on my way home from the grocery store, I realized that I had forgotten orange juice.  There was a mini-mart on my way home and I realized that I was going to have to stop there to pick up the juice and I started to feel annoyed about this extra stop.  And then I remembered your post– I am blessed that there was a mini mart on my way home!  I didn’t have to go out of my way to pick up my forgotten item. 

    Thank you so much for your post.  Now if I can just remember to react to circumstances the same way tomorrow!

  • Kari Scare

    I got to serve at the funeral of a friend’s son today. Very humbling. I get to comment on this blog :-) I get to go to prayer service tonight. I get to make dinner for my kids and husband. I get to write for a living (thank you my husband). Changing “I have to…” to “I get to…” is something I’m going to start working on personally and having my two boys work on as well. I already shared the try vs. do post, and they really got the point. (They get “Star Wars talk.”)

  • Terry

    I get to get up and go to work at 6 am.  I hate Mondays but this day and age many people do not have jobs.

  • Pat Katepoo

    Thanks for this nugget of nuance. Today I GET to write out Christmas cards to far-away loved ones, bake mango bread for local friends, and outline my January editorial calendar for my blog. I like how the nuance of words can change my mind and that of others, say, when positioning a request in a negotiation. 

  • Bethany George

    Language is SO powerful. It affects what we think about ourselves, our situations and other around us. We must become more intentional about the word choices we make and the attitudes we live.

  • Jodi

    I get to potty train the new dog we just got for our boys.

  • jamie

    Yes I get to write. And I’m really thankful that I get to care for my community.

  • Greg Marcus

    Love this post.  One important value I try to cultivate in myself is appreciation.  Your vocabulary suggestion is a great way to do that.  Thank you!

  • Trinity_fan1956

    I get to go to work (when so many are unemployed); I get to teach Tai Chi class (always a plus!); I get to go grocery shopping in the morning :-)

  • jackalopekid

    Such a true post!
    I get to be employed.
    I get to spend time with my family.
    I get to have friends who love me.
    I get to live in this great nation.

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  • Cathy Presland

    Lovely post and some great examples. I find myself trying to make that shift in my vocabulary on a regular basis – but then awareness is the first step to change! I’m a Brit and sometimes we have that tendency to self-depricating humour so gotta watch my step ;)

    Thanks for posting


  • Glinda

    Incredible post!  How much you enjoy life is determined by your attitude.  I am grateful for every moment I have to serve God in whatever capacity He allows, whether it is through the responsibilities I am paid to perform, or those I choose to volunteer for.  Each experience is a blessing to me.  Thanks for sharing this message! 

  • David E. White

    One of my three daughters, a subscriber to your blog, forwarded your piece to me regarding “have to” vs. “get to” with the notation that it sounded strangly familiar and a winking emoticon.  I’m not sure from where I recognized this years ago, but when we were raising the girls it was a fairly regular occurence for me to correct them in this very thing.  One of them might say something like, “I have to play an offertory this Sunday” or “I have to accompany Mrs. So-and-So when I go to church today.”  I would say, “No, you get to…”  The girls are all grown up now and their cheerful service to our Savior is a blessing to us.  Prov. 22:6.  

  • Familaranjr Bernardo

    Now Im beginning to learn , i get to learn more

  • Dustin

    This is fantastic. What a game-changer and a small, yet powerful, way to change our perspective.

  • Rob Wright

    I bumped into an HBR piece last week which agrees with your view that the words we use – unconsciously or even casually – are powerfully significant… (free registration/log-in required)

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m checking it out now. Thanks.

  • Bob

    I GET to meet with a young man today who has asked for guidance

  • Curtis O Fletcher

    Hmmm… I would rather:
    Get to have a million dollars than have to get a million dollars.
    Get to have a job than have to get a job.
    Get to work this morning than have to work this morning.
    I would rather:
    Have a clue than need to get a clue.
    Have a clean bill of health than need get a clean bill of health.
    Have two cents of advice than need to get two cents of advice.
    I think you’re on to something with this vocabulary thing Man.

    • Lori Tracy Boruff

      This is great Curtis. You make me smile!

    • TNeal

      Funny and educational. Always nice to laugh and learn at the same time.

  • Lori Tracy Boruff

    I get to balance my checkbook means we finally got a paycheck! I get to tithe more than I think we can afford because God is our provider and I get to live in His blessings every day. I needed this reminder today when there is more month than money!

  • Costa

    I get to go to work today! I make great money for what I do, and it’s such a blessing!

  • TNeal

    I get to volunteer at the local library (which gives me time to catch up on my email backlog). By the way, I check people in and out of the computer room so I’m able to help others while enjoying some good reading.

    You mentioned the “try” vs. “do” post from last week. That came to mind immediately when I read your first few sentences. You’ve given two specific examples of the importance of our words (which directly influences our attitudes).

    I certainly think about this in terms of identity–what we call ourselves. A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a pastor friend. We were discussing my filling in as an interim pastor at a nearby church. I said, “Ethan, I’m a writer who preaches, not a preacher who writes.”

    The difference between the two deals with my profession and my attitude in relation to writing. I’ve earned more preaching but I’ve invested more in writing.

  • Kris Kelso

    Several years ago, my pastor (Maury Davis) preached a sermon titled “I get to”.  A songwriter in our congregation (Wil Nance) was so impacted he wrote a song by the same name.  Look it up if you get a chance – it’s a great song.

  • Brett Clemmer

    I try and use the phrase “I want to…” I don’t have to work out in the morning, speak at the convention or eat more healthy, I WANT to!

    I use this with the kids I coach on a youth sports team as well. We don’t say we HAVE to do a drill or practice a new technique, we WANT to, because it helps us get better.

    I have to or even, in some cases, I get to, puts control in someone else’s hands. I want to says I am making a choice. No one’s forcing or allowing me to. I am being proactive and intentional.

    I find great power in the language of intention and desire.

  • Nikole Hahn

    Thank you. My husband and I were lamenting like your friend on things. I GET to help people. Not, I HAVE TO help people. Thank you for encouraging me in the right direction.

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  • Guest

    Very timely Michael – I get to go back to work after a vacation! When I came back it was – “groan, I have to go to work today……”, when so many are unemployed I should be more grateful. I get it….

  • Rusty

    I get to read “you’re” blog. (hint: see last sentence of your blog)

  • Driven

    Wow. I get to make my own business a success today…

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  • Dubmcm

    Great article. It sounds goofy. It it really does have a major impact on your attitude.

  • Larry Carter

    I have done this from time to time. Thanks for the reminder that I “get” to do it all of the time.

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  • Les Dossey


    I get to thank you for being such a great example of how to live life up above the noise the world has become so skilled at generating. The insights, hindsights, outta sights and over sights you share encourage and inspire me regularly. I also get to weigh in on this post and share a few pieces of truth from Our “Very Cool and Wise Creator”.He wants us to know that:1. Everything He created, was given life by his spoken word.2. He created us in his image, and gave us the authority to create things with words just like him.3. We cannot not create with our words.3. There is great opportunity for people to awaken and realize, that every time they use words they create something.4. There is even greater opportunity, for people to become masterful at using words on purpose to create heaven right now, right here on earth.

    Maybe this visual will help.

    God established the Law of Cause and Effect. The bible refers to it as seed time and harvest. It’s beauty is found in it’s precision and reliability. The law is always active and it never fails!

    Every cause produces and effect and every effect has a cause. You sow tomatoes, you reap tomatoes, sow life, reap life, sow death, reap death.

    What most people don’t realize is that the law of cause and effect is activated by spoken words. Every time I open my mouth and speak, I activate the cause that is going to produce an effect somewhere in our world.

    If my thoughts and beliefs are right and I am conscious and skillful with the use of my words I can purposefully create heaven in our world, right here, right now.

    P.S. That is why Our Very Wise Creator said to Renew our Mind and to Guard our Heart, because out of the Abundance of our Heart the Mouth Will Speak.

    BTW – Your world, my world, the world improves when you improve your mind.

    Only the Best,

    Les Dossey
    Mentor | Coach | Speaker

  • Otis Pierson

    It’s amazing how changing one word can make such a big difference. Thanks for the great post !

  • Chris R. Smith

    Michael, I’m a regular follower and I must say this is one of the best post I’ve read from you that has a direct affect on my life. I just didn’t realize it until today! I work full time on an ambulance and today I got to run an unusually high number of calls. The last call was to take an older 80 gentleman home from hospital. I was dreading it because I was so tired. I remembered this post and told my self, “wait, I don’t have to do this, I GET to do this transfer!” It worked! God used that shift it my attitude as a chance to reward me. As it turns out, I am related to his wife of 57 years! It was a blessing to get to experience the love they obviously shared. It had huge impact on my day! Then, I was so excited that I decided to apply it to my relationship with my future wife. I was amazed at yet another shift in my attitude! This is HUGE! Thank-you so much for sharing this information!

  • Joanberdahl

    I will be able to finish my book today;  it will have become a good friend.

    • Anyone

      Good for you! I hope it was one worth reading. Obviously it was. Maybe you’ll GET to start a new book tomorrow.

  • Rajdeep Paulus

    I get to share a question with my readers who will hopefully be inspired this holiday season!   Merry Christmas to you and yours! :)

  • Yarteyannan

    I am extremely grateful.Attitude decides everything.From today I shall get to do/act. I say bye-bye to procrastination and trying.

  • Jeremy Burroughs

    I have found that a shift in my vocabulary can change my trajectory. Such a powerful true. The power of life and death is in the tongue.

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  • Diane Yuhas

    I may not like cleaning up after my Alzheimama, but I’m so grateful I get to stay home and care for her in her old age.

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  • Noah Lomax

    What a great reminder! I know there are times my job becomes laborious. Whenever this happens and I find myself succumbing to the “have to” attitude, I am reminded of how thankful I should be that I even have a job. In a time when many long for gainful employment, I certainly should be all the more thankful I have a place to get up and go to.

    Great challenge!

  • Laura Johnson

    Love love love this post.
    God has been hitting me right and left with ‘attitude’. 
    I find myself in a situation that no one should have to deal with (as everyone does at sometime or another). It can be easy to say ‘I shouldn’t be treated this way’ or ‘I shouldn’t have to deal with this’, etc. But I think God wants me to realize, no matter what other people choose to do and how it might affect me or others, I still choose my attitude. And it should be Christ-like.
    Thank you!

  • Bp

    Love your blog. And this is the perfect post for today. I feel like I’ve been doing this pretty often lately. Not only does shifting your vocabulary like this encourage feelings of gratitude, but I actually have a pep in my step because I get to do these things – I should be excited about life – not barely getting through the day. 

  • Curtis Palin

    May want to contact this blogger. He seems to have copied this blog with zero credit to you.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have just written him. It is really shocking, especially given the fact that he is a college basketball coach.

  • Debbie Lynn Frye

    I get to inspire people by telling my story of growing up with an incarcerated parent.  No more shame and embarrasment.  Co-writing a book about my father’s life of crime has provided the  closure  that I did not know I needed.  I did not realize how therapeutic  it would be. 

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  • Andrea

    What a great article.  Perspective is always something we need to check and re-check.  This is such a simple yet powerful attitude changer.

  • Annietom D

    what a fabulous blog you have, and yes, you are so right about attitude!  My oh my, 177 comments for this post, yikes that’s a great fan club!!!  I’d better follow you for a while, looks like you are a popular fella!! 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Welcome, aboard!

  • Teddyrobi

    I think the whole thing is about our inner spiritual growth.I get
    to think that I only do what I am engaged in if I am fully
    healthy. And, if I am grateful to God about this, I would rather use
    “get to” which reflects a privilege.

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  • Astonger

    I get to serve my family.
    I get to drive my children to and from their sports’ practices (driving them crazy along the way)!
    I get to worship freely.
    I get to plan healthy meals for my family and shop for the ingredients at a grocery store full of choices.

    Thanks for sharing how our words shape our attitudes! 

    • Michele Cushatt

      Astonger, WELL SAID.

  • Aaron

    I get to go to work on a house I’m building. I am convinced that today at least 1000 people would be very happy to go build this house.

  • Ed Murray

    This is more important than just the “haves” and “gets”. It applies to much of our Christian vocabulary. People say it’s just semantic. Well, yes it is! Apply this to the gender question and you will see how inconsistent we can be with our words and language. No matter in which camp you might land on the question, our use of language betrays us in a world that is rightfully sensitive to an issue that the evangelical church is not addressing very well. EGM

  • Natemorman

    Nate Morman

    Dear Michael.
    One ot the greatest gifts in life is to share with others about our life experience.
    During our lifetime we are given a wealth of information from other people that we can past on to another person. It’s a joy to find we have something that can be of use to others, and the joy is multiplied when you share it. Today Michael [you get to do it] freely and gratefully.

  • Sharon Gibson

    Thank you! Great suggestion! I’m going to not “try” to do this, I’m going to do this. :-)

  • Mark Morse

    I get to hang out with my boys, a privelaged day off!!!  Or on, depending upon how you look at it.

    • Barry Hill

      Yeah, I love that one. As a father of 6 I am with you that it’s not really a “day off,” but it is a privilege! good stuff!

  • Renee

    What an enjoyable way to begin my day by “getting” to read this article.  I enjoy my job, but I do catch myself saying ” I have to come to work”.  I will definitely become more aware of my word choices and pass this on to the many young adults that I work with daily at my high school.  I would like to see their attitude change by having them realize that they “get to come to school” instead of  them feeling they like they “have to come to school”. 

    • Michele Cushatt

      This is huge for me too, Renee. Simply changing my word choice can literally change my day.

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  • Colleen

    Loving your writing, sir. I’m abolishing ‘should’ from my vocab in a similar way as have, too. ‘I should’ feels’too much like hitting myself over the head with a stick, instead of “I will, or I could or I get to…..” An instant load off one’s shoulders, tweaking the vocab.  Blessings.

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  • Sherry

    I get to study as I planned…. 

    Thanks a lot :)

  • Carol Mcclain

    I get to live, to write, to savor our Lord. And one testimony to what you wrote. At one point I hated my day job. Then I decided to thank God for it every time I moaned about work. Immediately, my attitude shifted, and once the habit of “good vocabulary” was established, I had a permanent attitude change.

  • Richella @ Imparting Grace

    “The language of privilege.”  I like that idea.  The truth is that many of the daily chores I often lament are actually great privileges, and the way I speak should reflect that fact.   I’ve thought a lot lately about the privilege of parenting my 15-year-old, which is sometimes challenging, sometimes frustrating, often tiring.  One of his best friends was killed in a tragic accident a few months ago, and I know how much his friend’s mother would love to be facing my “duties” right now. 

    Thanks for the challenge and the good advice.  I look forward to seeing what a difference it may make for me to make this simple change.

  • Sarona

    I get to go to Bible study. I get to spend the afternoon on the playground with my son. I get to go to rehearsal tonight. And I get to do this because my husband works hard to provide me the privilege of doing so. Great attitude adjustment. Thanks!

    • Jeremy Statton

      I’m excited about your day just reading this.

  • Stefaneym

    I like this article. I am very glad that I got to read it. I never noticed the difference before. Thank you for opening my eyes. God bless you.

  • Enoch Burke

    How true. Just reading about the power of words yesterday in the book of James. ”
    if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body” (James 2:2). Control the tongue and the rest falls unto place!

    Thanks Michael.

  • Kiwibrotherhood

    You are changing lives in a good way, sir. What a prevlage to read your articles. I am reading them from long time…never had enough.
    Thanks for everything :)

  • Anders Gerdmar

    This was really the word for me today, having a book contract and complaining over no time.

  • Jonathan Moore

    This is a good reminder for a Monday morning and start of a new week.  I have the priviledge of being a husband to a wonderful wife, father to 4 kids that add excitement  to my life each day (interpret that any way you want to ;) ).  I get to help lead a team of employees and support them as they help people enjoy affordable video entertainment each day.  Life is wonderful!!

  • jamieeslinger

    Love this message Michael, thank you. I believe words are medicine — truly medicine.  I lead a coaching group called YOU CAN DO ANYTHING — and part of the power of it is believing in the words that “you can” — As my basketball coach would always say — “life is in the cans, not in the cannots.”

    • Jeremy Statton

      Right, Jamie. If you start with “I can’t,” why bother trying?

  • Erika

    I got to exercise today at the local CrossFit. After a tumor on a gland in my neck affected my bones and kidneys it is definitely a privilege to be able to workout. This morning I walked into the gym noticing the pains in my bones and then I remembered—I am here to live through those pains.

    • Jeremy Statton

      Thanks for sharing your story, Erika.

  • Doris Stanley

    I have the privilege to connect with more people in the world that are engaged and supporting me during this time of transition, discovery and job search for the right work that God has for me to do.

  • Loren Bruce

    Mike,  Good reminder!  Loren

  • Surrendered56

    I get to spend the day with my hubby who is off from work today. I also get to speak to my parents (age 77 & 75)  on the phone. What a priveledge!  Most of my friends have lost at least one of thier parents.

    • Michele Cushatt

       Love it!

  • Tracy Magwire

    This is the first time I’ve seen your blog and I thank you! Today I got to drop off my almost 3 year old for his first day of VBS (and first time away from the comfort of family caregivers). And now I get to spend the morning at home one-on-one with my baby girl. A change in vocabulary/attitude can definitely make something daunting much less scary!

  • Jsdavis

    Thank you! I do not read every email from you—but I thought it interesting that you loved what you do so much that you would take time during your vacation to write (and inspire and share) with  others.  Even the fact that you are vacationing inspires me—I’m hardworking, but can never seem to schedule (or afford) a great vacation so I am honored to see the world from another perspective!

    • Michele Cushatt

      Michael recently recorded an excellent podcast on how to get the most from your vacation ( I haven’t always been able to afford the time or finances for a vacation, either. But I’ve found a long weekend at home, camping trip, or visit with family can give me a needed break. It doesn’t have to be expensive or long to be effective at refueling.

  • Lorna Faith

    So true…I will start saying “I get to…” more often and erase “I have to…” from my volcabulary:) Thanks for the reminder!

  • Dorothy

    Love it!  I am a new reader and subscriber of your blog and with nearly every post, I am inspired.  Yours serves as a model for my own.  Thank you!

  • MyHelpSource

    Great post! 

    Changes in the words we choose can, indeed, change our attitudes toward a multitude of life’s circumstances. 

    This reminds me of Zig Ziglar’s wonderful comments about the “opportunity clock.”

    Keep ‘em coming — and enjoy your well-deserved respite. 


  • Vanessa Tachenko

    I get to study Anatomy & Physiology and hopefully take my dog for a joy ride. Life is good! :) Thanks for the optimistic post! 

  • Bernice McDonald

    I “get” to learn and grow as a coach for broken hearts.  
    I “get” to live in a relationship that is “exceeding abundantly above all I thought or imagined”….
    I “get” to love so many different people in my life.
    It really does change the way I feel about my circumstances.
    Thank you!

  • Francarona

    Dear Michael,
    Today is my first day back at work after vacation.  My husband reminded me this morning that we GET to go to work!

  • Jean Davis

    I get to prepare and deliver a meal to a family adjusting to life with their new baby.  I get to meet with a friend to talk and to pray.  I get to cuddle, feed and clean up after four foster kittens.  I get to plan tenth grade studies for my “mentee” – homeschooled daughter.  

    • Jim Martin

      Jean, this is great.  After reading your comment, I thought about how I need to begin the day tomorrow.  There are a number of things I “get” to do!

  • Lisa Allen

    Great insights and reminds me of so many thoughts I had while on African mission trips that quickly dissipate after being back on American soil.  I had not considered the connection to gratitude like you state here either.  I will definitely weave this into my coaching with clients.  Thank you.  Also, another word I remind myself and clients to identify is the word “should”.  I SHOULD pay taxes by 4/15 is a legitimate SHOULD.  Often, however, SHOULD indicates the same obligation or duty you are referring to!  By tracking the “shoulds” it is a great opportunity to unpack what’s underneath it.

  • Kirse

    wordsThey can be like a sun, words.They can do for the heart 
    what light can
    for a field.~ St. John of the Cross

  • TheImageCoach

    I really like this…I *get* to do things / activities that move my business forward, that move my life forward, that help others and my family. Beyond thinking positively, this is thinking / speaking with intention. Thank you for the timely reminder!

  • Mantha

    I really like the idea of changing ‘I have to’ to ‘I get to. I am going to start using that today. Similarly, a few months ago I changed my To-Do list to a Want To-Do list and my productivity has soared. I don’t wast time beating myself up anymore if I don’t get something checked off the list.
    Amazing how one word can change your life!

    • Michele Cushatt

      What a great idea, Mantha.

  • Sarah Elisabeth

    I get to wake up at 6:30 every morning and write

    I get to operate an internet based business

    I get to spend time in the evenings with my family because I get everything else done :-)

  • Dale Schultz

    Michael, thanks for the timely reminder that our words can guide our perception before they reflect how we’re looking at life.

    • Michele Cushatt

       Amazing how it all starts with one word, isn’t it?

  • Jennjoleva

    This is a reminder of my mother’s words .. she always said ” here we go we can do it !”
    Words  are so powerful they can shift or attention to helpless or hopeful. The bottomline is It is our choice.

    • Jim Martin

      Jennjoleva, I like your mother’s words!

  • Mike

    Great post!  And I get to comment on it!

  • Sdragoo

    Thanks, Mike! Great perspective.

  • Marcia Ramsland

    Excellent! I’m sharing this link with my 9,000 blog readers that I’m “privileged” to write weekly. Hopefully everyone will speak well today.

  • Alohabeckyjo

    Praise God! I get to be alive today & enjoy Maui where I live. I have chronic Hepatitis C & Liver Cirrhosis Stage 4 with no treatments available at this time. Today, after receiving your blogs for quite some time, I get to reply! I get to receive disability in 2 months as I went from managing a store, to treatment to welfare. I get to have a chance to write the stories God has told me to write! I get the opportunity to pray along with Bob at Westbow Press to help this come true!  I get to have the opportunity to lighten my load again and give away & sell whatever “stuff” I have left that I do not need. I am 55 years old, I do not have a retirement, savings or anything else so I get to experience living on Faith with God and experience more of his adventures! I now have the opportunity to pray for funds for the virtual speaking engagement with John Maxwell! And being alive gives me the opportunity, to still pray for my son’s – who I raised alone with God – one is experiencing severe post traumatic war syndrome, the other is serving in the Army. I have come close to not making it a few times, so I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF STILL DOING SOMETHING FOR GOD! Mahalo nui loa. Thank you!

    • Barry Hill

      Thanks for taking the time to share all this. Your attitude through all these challenges was an encouragement to me today. 

      Romans 5
      …because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  • Melinda Todd

    Thank you! I needed this today. Had a rough weekend and it’s leaking into Monday and dread follows. I GET to go to VBS tonight and minister to kids in our community! How fun is that? Duh :) Kids LOVE VBS and they openly enjoy learning about Jesus. Can’t ask for a better audience. Thanks :)

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    • John Tiller

      Right on, Mel! Thanks for sharing the link to your blog. Great content! I just subscribed.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Melinda, you have a beautiful way of splashing joy on people … and I know this simply from Facebook. How blessed these kids will be to have you in person!

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  • Kayharms

    I get to add the final touches to my e-newsletter and schedule it to go to 89 subscribers. That’s 89 more than I had just 60 days ago! And I get to write a devotional for a devo magazine that is read daily by thousands. What a privilege to lead someone in their quiet time with the Lord!

  • Kay

    I get to add the final touches to my e-newsletter and schedule it to go to 89 subscribers. That’s 89 more than I had just 60 days ago! And I get to write a devotional for a devo magazine that is read daily by thousands. What a privilege to lead someone in their quiet time with the Lord!

    • Michele Cushatt

      Kay, I feel the same. Whenever I’m asked to write for a devo project, I’m humbled at the privilege.  Which mag do you write for?

  • Scott Lara

    Wow. Great stuff.  I’m in the health care industry (and cruise for fun). So many people can’t even get up and walk. I am thankful everyday for the ability to go to work, interact with people and for my health! Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961:twitter 

    • Jim Martin

      Good reminder Scott!  You are right, “So many people can’t even get up and walk.”

  • DoMoneyBetter

    Thanks for the reminder, Michael– I get to go work two jobs today in order to pay off my Sallie Mae loan. Some people can’t even find one job. 

    • John Tiller

      Love it!!  Great way to apply this!  Right now, there is 8-12% of the population that wishes they had one of your jobs.

    • Michele Cushatt

       Amazing attitude! And so true!

  • Peter DeHaan

    …and I get to read your blog!

    • Michele Cushatt

       :) Well said.

  • Angela Victoria

    I love this perspective of turning the mundane into Life Opportunities…  Behind door #1 is ….  Behind door number #2 is … It’s all good!

  • Betsy S

    Thank you for this excellent reminder Michael!  And have a good time refreshing yourself.  “As a man/woman thinks in his/her heart…so is he/she.”

    I GET TO spend the entire day and night at the Denver airport, missing 3 standby flights and waiting for the redeye!!! Yeah!!! So I’m getting some writing done. Thankful for these great words of yours. :)

    • Jim Martin

      Betsy,  I appreciate your remarks about the Denver airport, the flights, etc.  What you describe is where many of us are.  We are dealing with a messy situation right now and are trying to be deliberate with our language.  Thanks so much.

    • Rachel Lance

      Way to shift your thinking, Betsy! Bummer to be stuck anywhere, but at least you *get* to be stuck in Denver!

  • DoMoneyBetter

     Thanks Michele. Trust me, I don’t bounce off to work in the morning beaming with gratitude, but definitely needed to hear what Michael had to say on this article.

  • DoMoneyBetter

     John, really good point. Thank God! Attacking student debt would be even harder with limited work available.

  • RonnieTabor


    I am always fascinated about “How Things Work”.  When I saw your post about how our vocabulary affects our attitude, I immediately think about “how” that happens.

    Maybe the answer is found throughout the Bible, here is one example.

    Young’s Literal TranslationAbove every charge keep thy heart, For out of it are the outgoings of life. 

    I think that you change your vocabulary by what you think about, and what you think about changes your heart (Prov 23:7) which is manifested in a changed attitude.

    If nothing else your post bot me thinking.


  • Glori Surban

    I get to write today!!! :)
    Thank you. I needed this…

    • Jim Martin

      Glori, I was just thinking the same thing.  I needed this today.

  • Denise

    I know the power of our words and how they change our attitudes and lives so strongly, (this very one inparticular) so much so, that I’ve founded a nonprofit to ‘recondition perspective.’ My teenage daughter, had through her 3 year bout with leukemia said, “I GET To have chemo.” When it came time to plan her funeral and in my head there was a resounding, “I have to bury my baby,” I prayed for God to show me the GET to. I heard, “You get to release her back into my hands! And you GET to because of ALL the women in the world, you were the one who GOT to be her mother.” Sorrow and weakness left my body and the want to give thanks and celebrate her life, and my part in it, took over.  The video that begins playing when you land on our homepage, “What Kids are Saying about ‘We GET To’ will make you smile. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel Lance

      Thanks for sharing your story, Denise. What a great example of the power of words.

  • Brown

    Thank you for this positive frame of thought.  I get to go to work today.   What a privilege to have a job in a country with such a high unemployment rate.

  • Tony Gulledge

    Thank you.  I needed that word.  I get to finish the final edits of a book that will be published any day now!   I’m excited again!

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  • Gottatellgail

    Hey, I tried to share this post with 2 friends today and they got a “Confirm Your Subscrition” message.  Not cool, esply b/c these were to my 2 bosses.  Just letting you know.

  • Gottatellgail

    Never mind–apparently my boss wanted to re-subscribe and was happy about it.  No more reading emails backwards for me!  Sorry.

  • Charles Plant

    Well for one thing, I got to read your blog. Recently I got to read your book. Thanks for the effort. I enjoy your perspective.

  • Travis Hinkle

    Thanks for the post, Michael! Great info as usual. It’s true, our words have a huge influence on others just as much as ourselves. We can speak life by encouraging those around us or we can be lazy or disgenuine with our words and bring people down.

  • Christopher Battles

    Thank you Michael. This is something I have been more aware of lately in my own words.  I get to versus I have to…

    K, bye

  • Stephen Melancon

    This is a great post, Michael. I have recently been working on changing from the use of “but” to “and”. That also has a great impact on you and your reader or person you are speaking with. I completely overlooked the concept you express here! Now, I “get” to add another positive change to my vocabulary.


  • Sandy

    Very inspirational.  Thank you for reminding me that whatever we do is a privilege and an opportunity to serve.  

  • Dam Mallya


    This is another reminder of that we either can look at live as obligation or opportunity. If we live in opportunity, we will realize we GET to do the things we do in our lives. Thanks for reminding us once again.


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  • Alan Hoffler

    I will correct a total stranger who tells me they “have to go pick up their kid.”  No, you GET to go pick up your kid — what a blessing!

    Good reminder — not as easy to pick up in my own language

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  • Wayne

    Ha! Today I’m privileged to be able to mow the lawn. It’s one of those things that pops up on a weekly basis. But after thinking about the importance of attitude and general thought patterns, I am totally blessed with a beautiful house and the health I have that allows me to mow.
    Thanks for some excellent insight.

  • Kaylus Horton-Adams

    I get to live. I get to enjoy living my ideal life. I get to do what other consider as work – to help people find the clarity, focus and direction they need to live their ideal life.  I get to pray. I get to learn, love and give.  I get to be me. 

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  • Rosseti

    Today I get to study for my English exam -after all nobody has forced me to do so. It’s me who has chosen to study English -by the way, it’s not a piece of cake whatsoever!

    Thank you for this useful piece of advice!

    Kind regards,

    Enrique -Madrid, Spain-

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  • Leanne Shirtliffe

    As an English teacher and an author, I love this. Another common vocab “error” is the phrase “I need to…”. Try replacing it with “I want to.” It’s another minor (but major) change in perspective.

  • dixie

    I believe, as the scripture says, the power of  life and death  are in the tongue..thanks for the reminder!!!

  • Megacat95

    Great article! Today, I get to bake cookies, wrap presents, and prepare dinner for our family Christmas diiner. I am blessed to have family to share in this special time of year and I get to show them how much I appreciate and love them.

  • Ricardo Butler

    I’ve had to learn this recently, especially after I read How to Win Friends and Influence People.

  • Glenn Felty

    I got to work out.  I got to make dinner for my wife.  I got to share my passion for the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge with a few people.  I got to do a lot of great things that could have been “had tos” but they were “get tos”.  Thanks Michael

  • Chris Frederiksen

    Awesome post. I’m going to try to enact this in my life too.
    I get to share my writing from my blog today!

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  • Enin

    This is so cool.

  • John Partridge

    As a pastor of a church I often say that the people here “allow me to say that I am in charge.” It comes off as a joke, but it reminds me that even as the “leader” I am a part of a greater whole.

  • Gail Jurczyk

    I get to put Christmas decorations away efficiently today so the home front is in readiness for me to accept a new work assignment and go on-site!

  • Paul Chaney

    Amazing how one little word can shift an attitude from one of duty to one of privilege. Immediate lift!

  • Pamela Lipscomb

    So cool. It is amazing how we pick up language, that is not conducive
    to positive thought or feelings, as the norm. You can use the term, “get
    to” for so many things. The term is rooted in gratitude! Nice post!
    ie. I get to good food shopping. Thank God you have money for food. I
    get to clean my house. Thank God you have a roof over your head, etc.
    Love it!

  • reviewer12

    A friend shared a link to your article. It was quite disappointing to discover they were fooled by someone who can use so many words and yet say so little.

  • Stacey Bellows Anderson

    Thank you for this. I am dealing with a somewhat debilitating illness right now, which makes ordinary things difficult and tiring. My husband just started a new job this week (which he really likes, and for which I am grateful). But this means our whole schedule was changed drastically. And now, I am the sole caregiver to our little flock of sheep, which we keep a few miles from home. I was just saying…I have to go feed the lambs. Whether I feel up to it or not. But after reading your post I thought, how many folks would love to live in the Highlands of Scotland, in the country, and have their own little flock of sheep. So, now I am off…I GET to feed the lambs (which phrase always makes me think of the words of Jesus, so it’s a double blessing)! Thank you again!

  • Mark Morris

    Michael, I realize that this comment is coming in late in the game, but I hope it’s better late than never. I love this post! I lead a customer service seminar, and as part of that seminar, I teach people that words mean things and have great power. Negative words can create a negative environment, and positive words will create a positive environment. Further, I teach that people respond in kind – if I’m positive with a customer, they are more likely to be positive back. So I teach the participants to try to remove words with negative connotations – can’t, won’t, etc. – from the customer service lexicon. And this can be done without lying to the customer. I’ve found that when I do this, and add positive words, I feel better as well.

    Thank you for the great info on your blog and podcast!

  • David Sample

    The influence of a single word has great power. Let me give you an example and further support the example with a poem i wrote titled “Words” I discovered years ago that i was trapped by the internal dialogue “you are so bright BUT” I had been told this repeatedly from the time is was young boy. The use of “BUT” negated the positive part of this statement. How many time have you found yourself responding to a suggestion by one of your employees by saying “that is great idea BUT” when you could have easily said “that is a great idea” OR “that is a great idea AND” The second and third choice are far better ways of encouraging your those around you. To further illustrate the power of words consider the following poem and its message.


    We think it, we say it, we become it and it becomes our legacy
    The person who spoke the words
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones
    but words will never hurt me”
    Knew not of what they spoke
    While bones may heal, the ill placed comment inflicts a wound
    Living in the mind of the receiver it remains an open sore
    Repeated by the receiver it becomes a sword
    Lived by the receiver is how they become known
    To come full circle to the legacy they leave
    All by the power of a singe spoken word

  • Joshua Beasley


    I want to thank you for putting out some excellent content lately. Good leaders don’t often get the compliments they deserve. I’ve been a follower for a little over a year now, and while you’ve always impressed with your wisdom, humility and knowledge, it seems that of late you have stepped up your game. That, or like a good preacher, you’re picking at my tender weaknesses. Regardless, I benefit, and appreciate you.

    Josh Beasley

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Josh. I really appreciate that!

  • Owen Hemsath

    A good friend of mine lost his ability to walk a few years ago. Certainly changed how I viewed simple tasks like running or helping someone move.

  • Natalie Cutler-Welsh

    This blog was so timely for me as my hubby keeps pointing out that I often use phrases like ‘I NEED to get my podcast out’ or NEED to xyz… What would the better term be? I get to?

  • Andrew Ralon

    This is so worth doing. When I am dragging myself to my next task, I put a smile on my face and remind myself I get to go to work, write my blog, care for my baby, and spend time with my wife. It’s amazing how powerful a few words can be.

    I got to write a similar post on the topic:

  • Meg

    I love your perspective- don miguel ruiz would agree as be impeccable with your words is one of the four agreements! I love the “i get to” mentality- thank you! I get to say have a nice day!

  • Jeff Stormer

    What a timely reminder! I learned this key difference after enlisting in the Army decades ago…as a Boy Scout, I *got* to go camping and loved every minute of it. In the Army, I *had* to go “camping” and it was often…not so fun. Obviously a few other, tiny details there making the difference, too, but it was primarily attitude.
    Same applied/s to cooking. As a teen, I enjoyed cooking enough that I nearly choose a culinary arts school over college…years later because I *had* to alter my cooking/food perspective due to diabetes, celiac & food allergies (none of which I had as a kid)…again my attitude withered.
    “Get to” goes such a long way in developing an attitude of gratitude as you mentioned, Michael.

  • Maren Breitwieser

    A student nurse corrected me when I was in nursing school. fyi: Her life was out of control but when I said I was “just” a student nurse, she challenged me with, “You ARE a student nurse!” I rarely correct others but when I hear someone say “just” about their role, I respond with, “You are JUST a volunteer (or whatever), you ARE a volunteer!”

  • Shelia Frazier Bruno

    Great post Michael, I’m blessed my it, can’t wait to share it with my husband!