Written by Gavin Sklar, 2023 Let Go & Grow Summer Intern
Edited by The LG&G Team
Our life is filled with motion happening around, within, and through us at all times. From social life to work life, from schoolwork to sports games going on, you name it; there’s a lot going on. So often, we go through these daily events without thinking twice. We operate in a state of autopilot versus in a state of expansion and growth. For example, we may say to ourselves things like “I have to get this done” or “I need to go to work,” from a default state.” Or we might say “I feel like I’m always behind,” or “I hate Mondays.” Right now, you may not think there is anything “wrong” with these statements. Which there’s not… BUT, if we keep these patterns going without building awareness of our way of thinking, we may not realize that these thoughts are sabotaging our success, our happiness, and what we truly want. They are programming our mind to think of our daily events as obligations [need to’s and have to’s] versus choice.
It is true that our brains have a constant negativity bias to look for what is missing in need for survival.
But what if we can flip the script? What if we told you that by changing one word in the above sentences, in your thoughts, you can change your life? Well…. It’s true. This word is a simple 3 letter word “GET,” but it holds the power to go a very long way. We like to call this shift, “I HAVE to” vs. “I GET to.” Next time you think that you “have an assignment to do,” say “I get to study. I get to go to work today!” and see how just that simple shift creates an immediate change in your mindset. Just see how these thoughts make you feel. I agree, it definitely might feel weird at first, but with observation, notice how much power it truly has. It turns what one might see as an obligation into viewing it as an opportunity, through our power of choice.
When we choose to shift our perspective from “I need to,” to “I GET to” and “I choose to,” everything changes- we start to cultivate a sense of gratitude around everything we do. Importantly, gratitude is not forgetting about the negative thoughts or bad feelings; but more so, it’s realizing that the good outweighs the bad. Because at its core, these are truly opportunities of a lifetime. It shifts our perspective from lack to abundance, and from surviving to thriving. Sooner or later, with this perspective shift, you’ll find yourself saying “I love Mondays,” “I get to impact others today,” and “I am feeling ahead of the game today!” Hence, you will feel even more gratitude for these special opportunities, in a positive cycle.
The key is building awareness to know that this shift is possible. Then, peace of mind builds, which allows us to expand, unlock, and discover more good feelings in our life. With awareness, we can evolve and adapt despite the high stress environment we live in– taking us beyond our ancestral mode of survival. Reading this article is a great way to build foundational awareness. However, the real awareness comes through action. Doubtful? Try it- change ONE word. It definitely can’t hurt.
Our mind is a lot like this picture. Based on how we see the picture, our perspective changes. Take a moment and look at the image. What do you notice in the picture?
Do you notice the fog right away? We can easily say the picture has too much fog and that we can’t see anything. But we can also choose to see the glimmer of the sunlight against the fog, the green grass, tall trees, and our eyes that allow us to view this picture! Notice here, we have a choice. The same is true for life. Will we view our daily events as obligations, or choose to view them as opportunities?
Mahatma Gandhi, arguably the most influential person in the Indian civil rights movement, said the following quote:
“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep you values positive, because your values become your destiny.”
Therefore, it is likely that our life and everything in between all starts with our thoughts. Just as in our LG&G article “Taking in the good– A Powerful Practice for more Joy and Peace in your Life,” daily thoughts compounded over time can be hardwired for contentment, calm, and confidence, or worse, they can be hardwired for dissatisfaction, pain, and frustration.
How can we increase awareness of our thoughts?
Two practices we love are journaling and meditation:
- Journaling can be free flowing where one writes whatever is on their mind, or structure where for example, one writes about gratitude.The key is to keep a rule that the pen/pencil cannot leave the paper to the best of your ability. This allows a genuine transfer of one’s current mental state from the mind to the paper, for a close up view. If it sounds complex, just try it and I know it will provide you benefit within just one session.
- Mediation can seem very complex without knowing where to start. I recommend starting with a simple technique of 5 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth (counting each one after the exhale). Aim for the exhales to be twice as long. After 5 breaths, let your breathing return back to normal and act as an observer of your thoughts. What is coming through my mind right now? Watch like you’re standing on the edge of a stream gazing at the flow of water (thoughts represented by the flowing water). How do I feel in this moment? How do my points of contact feel against the chair or the floor? What sounds do I hear in the background? The key here is to “let it flow.” Let the thoughts flow like you let the stream of water flow. I recommend to stay in this “observation mode” for at least 2 minutes. Feel free to start with the Heart Based Practice, a simple 3 minute meditation- for more information, check here.
The reason I feel strongly about this mindset shift is because I believe that everything, every circumstance, every conversation, and every experience is an opportunity. No matter if it is a failure or success. It is an opportunity to let go of what is no longer benefiting us, and grow into a better version of ourselves in our life experience.
At Let Go & Grow, we provide a comprehensive program The Mind Body Reset with a detailed approach to break free from limiting thoughts and habits, transforming them into more effective thoughts and actions that unleash our most authentic and powerful self. The essence of MBR is reconnect, reset, remember.
What is your choice?
The health benefits of journaling. Dr. Brooke Stuart. (2022a, September 10). https://www.drbrookestuart.com/health-benefits-of-journaling/
The heart based practice, a simple 3 min. meditation. Dr. Brooke Stuart. (2022, September 3). https://www.drbrookestuart.com/the-heart-based-practice/
Join the mind body reset. Let Go & Grow. (2022, November 3). https://letgoandgrow.com/mind-body-reset/?wpam_id=13
Shifting from scarcity to abundance. Dr. Brooke Stuart. (2020, December 22). https://www.drbrookestuart.com/the-shift-from-scarcity-to-abundance/Team, L. G. & G. (2023a, June 10). Taking in the good – a powerful practice for more joy and peace in your life. Let Go & Grow. https://letgoandgrow.com/notebook/articles/taking-in-the-good
Gavin Sklar is someone who strives for excellence in everything he does and is. He is passionate about feeling his best within his own body and helping others do the same. Gavin grew up playing plenty of sports with his main sport being baseball where he competed at the Varsity level in High School and was the team captain for his senior year. Sports taught Gavin the values of commitment, discipline, and effort while doing something that he loves. Additionally, growing up as the oldest of 4 children and later on the captain of the high school baseball team, he needed to learn how to lead others in many different ways for both an optimal family and team dynamic. Now, Gavin holds the positions of Content Writer at Let Go & Grow International and President of the Holistic Living Organization at UCF where he aims to grow and impact others on a daily basis.