Get To vs. Have To

Originially Published 2/7/2018

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits…”

The quote goes on a little longer and digs deeper into our values and our destiny, but I want to focus on our thoughts eventually becoming our actions, and how we can gear the words in our thoughts to create more positive actions.

It all starts with substituting the word “GET” where we usually put “HAVE”. In life, when we wake up in the morning I’m sure many of us say to our self, “Ugh I have to go to school today”, or “I have to get this project done tonight”. 

What about if you when you woke up in the morning you said to yourself, “I get to go to school today and conquer new challenges.” By replacing have with GET, you completely change your outlook. You reframe what was once a daunting task, into an exciting opportunity. 

Reframing our thoughts is huge for helping us reach our peak performance in our respected sport. As a baseball coach, we use GET TO vs. HAVE to all the time to help us relax our emotions in tense moments of the game. 

Tie game. Bottom of the 9th. There is a runner on third base, with 0 outs. The infield is playing in. All eyes are on the batter in the box.

HAVE TO MINDSET: “I have to get this runner in. I have to drive this run in so we can win the game.”


Do you feel the pressure the batter just put on themselves? They HAVE to get this run in. It’s almost like the only thing that sentence is missing is, “or else…” The batter’s muscles will tense it, and tension in muscles slows down the physical performance of those muscles. Thoughts become wrapped around NOT failing instead of simply succeeding.



“The infield is in, that means I GET to hit with more openings in the infield. I don’t even have to hit it hard to sneak one through. I get to be the guy who drives in the winning run!”

By just replacing “have” with “GET”, our mindset has completely shifted. It is positive. It is confident. And by focusing on the wide open infield to hit through, the batter is no long focusing on the importance of the runner at third base.

Every sport has “have to” scenarios, and by reframing them to “get to” situations, you are increasing your chances of succeeding.  Think about your sport and come up with 2-3 "Get To" statements to have armed and ready for your next competition.

Of course this isn’t going to lead to success 100% of the time, but whether you think you can or you can’t…you’re right!

Create positive and confident beliefs in yourself, because as we learned earlier “your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits…” 

Ben Kaplan