Character Creates Opportunity® – “I have to” April 9, 2015

What do we achieve when we “have to” do something?

When we “have to” do something, we come to realize that we have the capacity to do more than we ever imagined.

In today’s world, we very rarely hear the phrases “I have to” or “I must do” something.  We pride ourselves on self-expression and for keeping our options open as we feel a sense of confinement with obligations and commitments.

Many times, our self-expression manifests itself in phrases like, “I just felt like doing something different” or “I just felt like it was time for a change.”  These choices often come about when the going gets tough and the outcome we desired is not so certain.

As we continue on our own personal journey to build and strengthen our character, we need to be careful that our desire for self-expression and keeping our options open does not side-step responsibility or consistently enable a way out when times get tough.

The risk to reaching our full potential is greatest when our desire to keep our options open becomes a convenient escape hatch to avoid responsibility. 

When we come to that point in life when we “have to do” something, we soon realize we have virtually unlimited potential.

Many times, the common expression shared after a significant accomplishment is, “I had to do it…I had no other option, but to continue.”

Ask any young parent, “How do you stay up night after night with a young baby with colic or just a troubled sleep pattern and still manage to function and be productive throughout the day?”  Most often you will hear, “It is just what I have to do.  There is no other option.”

Ask any immigrant family, who came to this country and overcame tremendous language and cultural barriers to survive and provide, “How did you do it?”  Most often they will respond with comments like, “We had to make it work.  Returning to our homeland was not an option.”

A detailed review of the great breakthroughs in scientific discovery would reveal a sense of “I must” or “I have to” find answers to these great questions.

Madame Curie became the first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice and her work to isolate uranium opened the door to so many discoveries in the field of medicine.marie curie  She spent most of her life in financial hardship, endured the tragic death of her husband early in their marriage, and conducted most of her greatest research in a leaky, rusted out shed.  Friends and associates would recall her passion to find the answers to some of science’s most complex questions. With frostbitten toes and working in that shed on an empty stomach, she saw her work as having no other option, but finding the answers.

Ask any great athlete how they can continue to push through intense training programs and overcome injuries and pain to continue to reach for their goals, we will find a sense of focus with no other option but continuing to move forward.

Ask any combat veteran how they overcame the horrors of warfare, we will hear expressions like, “You do what you have to do to survive. There is no other option.”

When we have no other option and we “have to” do something, we are often amazed at what we can accomplish.

Are there areas in our lives where we have conveniently created options to avoid the commitment of saying, “I have to”?

  • Is there a troubled relationship with a family member that could be repaired with a “have to” commitment?
  • Is there a child or adolescent who would benefit from seeing a parent with a “have to” attitude around the important things in life?
  • Is there a struggling business that could continue with a “have to” decision to succeed?
  • Is there a student struggling in the classroom that could overcome with a “have to” choice to learn and grow?

What do we “have to” do to reach our full potential?

When we do what we “have to” do, we build and strengthen our character, and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to reach our full potential.

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