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Do You “Have to” or “Want to”? Article by: John Abdo

Dedicated efforts at applying the principles of success oftentimes leaves many people dissatisfied and frustrated as betterment mysteriously continues to elude them. There are plenty of people striving for self-improvement who, in their minds, are doing all of what they believe they should be doing to accomplish their goals, but considering all their efforts they are still falling short of their expectations.

Many business-minded, money-motivated people read all the right books, listen to scores of motivational self-help audiotapes, attend several seminars each year, record their goals into daily journals morning and night, recite positive affirmations at specifically scheduled times, pray, meditate, and even tithe and donate money to charities.

In fitness, there are countless people who strive for improved health and body shape by asserting themselves to better-body principles like monitoring food consumption, making conscious efforts to read labels when purchasing groceries, special ordering when eating out, and even placing a great deal of hope, and money, on nutritional or weight-loss products. Exercising is now a part of weekly agendas. Millions have purchased home exercise equipment while others join health clubs, hire personal trainers, or even compete in an occasional 5K race. But still, results are only realized in the “other” guy.

All of these principles — individually or in combination with each other — are, in fact, “actions” or exercises that promote self-improvement. However, if someone complies with these principles but their efforts don’t pay off as promised, or expected, what is the cause? And, why do “other” people, who perform the same actions, achieve results?

In studying the habits of people — why they succeed or fail either personally or professionally — I’ve discovered that successful outcomes result from a “want to” motive opposed to a “have to” viewpoint. The psychology of both, “have” and “want,” are polar opposites with very predictable consequences.

People whose actions are fueled with a “have to” attitude do so mostly because somebody else is demanding them to or they’ve been backed into a corner and have no other choice. A couple of “have to” examples: “My doctor told me that I have to lose weight otherwise serious medical complications are in my foreseeable future,” or “I have to spend time with my kids because when they grow up they’ll think I was a bad parent.” However, consider these comparisons of shifting from a “have to” to “want to” mentality: “I want to lose weight so I can be healthier and more productive for my family and business,” or “I always want to rush home from work as it inspires me to see my kids growing up each day.”

What initiates and sustains action is thought. And to produce successful results in any area of life, those initiating and sustaining thoughts must be motivated from a “want to” attitude, which is a characteristic relative of passion. Those who endure the process of getting back into shape or losing fat, or those striving to build a business and generate more income, with a “have to” attitude struggle arduously while any achievement is often temporary due to lack of a sustaining successful motive. A “have to” motive is more of an obligation to some other will or desire, but certainly not that of the beholder.

You must learn to enjoy the process. The journey might be long with some bumps along the way. But, learn to love it anyway, and find pleasure in your ability to do what so many others have done — become successful in spite of the obstacles. This can only be accomplished when you “want to” do what’s necessary to attain and sustain your goals. When you enjoy the process you send powerful signals throughout your entire being providing you with the energy, strength, endurance, courage, and confidence you need to succeed and remain successful. Champions in sports and business enjoy the process and literally enjoy the struggle; a good sweat is always healthy. When all actions are fueled with the proper mental energy success is not only possible, it’s inevitable.

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"First say to yourself what you would be: and then do what you have to do."

- Epictitus

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