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  • Writer's pictureLauren Morris

Have to vs Choose to

Language has power. So does our ability to reframe situations. The subtle difference between "I have to" or "I choose to" is powerful.

Think about how many times you say "I have to" and then consider the mood it puts you in. More often than not, it's not positive or a growth mindset.

I have to work.

I have to pay bills.

I have to take care of the kids. I have to pay attention to my spouse/significant other.

Yes, we live in a world where food, clothing, and shelter cost money, however, changing your language and approach can help you find more moments of happiness.

I choose to go to work because I have financial obligations and this job is what allows me to have money to meet these obligations.

I choose to pay my bills because I do not want to live my life in debt.

I choose to take care of my kids as I want them to grow up to become independent and productive members of society.

I choose to nurture my relationships as I care deeply for the people in my life.

Not only can this shift in language help us in our personal relationships, it helps us to be better teachers in the improv classroom. So many of us like to use guidelines versus rules so why would we say to our students they "have" to do X or Y? Instead, when we are giving feedback or setting up an exercise, we can use the word "choose".

Example: In this scene, you said "no, but", this time I'd like for you to choose "yes, and". Let's see what happens and check-in after this next go round.

It's a small shift that have a large impact!

It's not always easy to change our language or self-talk. After all, we have spent years building this habit. If you are looking to find more happiness and positivism in your life or in the classroom then give this a try and see how it works for you!

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