3 Words That Can Change Your Perspective, Your Mood, and Your Life

Woman Jumping

“Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.” ~Dan Brown

It was a cold January morning in California when a woman living on the streets uttered three words that forever altered my life.

It started with my alarm blaring its wake-up call at 6:15AM. I had a Kundalini yoga class at 7:00, but I wanted nothing more than to hit the snooze button. I did. Four times.

Lying in bed with drowsy eyes open, I silently whined, “Do I have to go? I don’t wanna… Why did I sign up for this?” I was in full resistance when I finally got up and forced myself out the door.

Rushing to the yoga studio, with my mat under my arm and an unenthusiastic attitude in tow, I crossed the path of a woman on crutches.

She had a missing leg and was clearly homeless; but rather than ask for money or food, she pointed a finger at me, smiled, and asked, “You going to yoga?”

“Yes,” I replied.

Her smile got bigger before she said, “Good for you. You’re lucky.” She continued on her way, but her words, so direct and honest, crippled me momentarily.

In that moment, I realized something big. Something life-changing big.  I am lucky. I don’t have to go to yoga; I get to go. Those three words—I get to—completely changed how I experience life.

It wasn’t a fell-swoop change. It took effort and time. It took me being aware of my perspective, even catching myself in the backslide. I learned that if we’ve chosen to do something, there’s a good reason why; there’s something we’ll gain from it, even if we can’t see what that is. Yet.

After that day I saw how much I categorized things in my life. There was the “have to’s” and the “should’s.”

And when I lived from that perspective—the one of obligation—it completely stripped me of the fulfillment of all the things, even those I disguised as should’s, that are actually extraordinary blessings. They are things I want to experience, do, and learn.

Not only that, I was the one who chose to go to yoga in the first place. It’s crazy how all of a sudden my choice had become something that was being forced upon me.

There are benefits in the choices and decisions we make. And in those moments of have-to’s and should’s, we can shift into an attitude of get-to, which will transform our experience of those moments to being one of choice and a blessing.

Also seeing everything in life as a ‘get to’ has us focus on the positive benefits. You can apply those three powerful words—I get to—to any experience you feel resistant about. When you do, the resistance turn into liberation.

Up until that life-altering day, I had been feeling like this beautiful privilege of practicing yoga was something that was being forced upon me like so many other things in life. But really, I was lucky to get to wake up in a warm bed, and lucky to get to walk myself into the yoga studio with two working legs and a healthy body to do my sacred practice.

Often, we reserve luck to coincidences and random acts, like winning the lottery. But each of us is lucky, in our own right.

We can apply this same shift of thinking even when there is something that can feel challenging, like working a double shift on a Saturday.

That double shift doesn’t have to be the thing we grumble about; rather, it can be the thing we appreciate. That shift we get to do on a Saturday means we have a job and money to live.

While those three words can often shift your attitude to one of gratitude, it can’t fix everything.

There are some things in life we just have to endure—like being there for a loved one who’s fighting cancer—and that’s okay. We’re only human. Our experiences are never black or white but always a varying shade of alive.

It’s been about a year since that encounter on the sidewalk, and my world has shifted. In the big-big way. In the way that matters.

Living from a place of “I get to” and forgiving myself when I slip, which I’m happy to say has become pretty rare, has lessened my inner resistance and created deep fulfillment and possibilities I wouldn’t have seen before.

I now wake up with more vibrancy and gratitude, reminding myself of all that I get to do, get to be, get to know. Lucky me.

Woman jumping image via Shutterstock

About Stephanie Kwong

Stephanie Kwong is a transformational life coach, speaker, and creator of the ‘40 Day Self-Love Transformation,’ an online program that teaches the how of developing self-love that’s impacted thousands globally. Stephanie’s worked one-on-one with hundreds of people and has developed proven processes to bring forth happiness and peace–no matter what. For free love-fueled inspiration, visit and subscribe to her newsletter.

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  • LaTrice Dowe

    WOW!! This is the most powerful post.

    I understand that getting things to do is something that’s taken for granted all the time. I LOVE school, but I have those days when I don’t feel like attending classes. I’m taking notes, writing a term paper, and asking professors questions about mid-terms and finals. I get to go to school, since I have the opportunity to make something of myself, so I can make it to the finish line (I’m graduating next spring). Unfortunately, not too many people have the chance to go to college. Everyday, I’m blessed.

    Thank you, Stephanie for sharing your experience.

  • Wonderful article and great reminder!

  • Heather D

    Omg Stephanie! I love this so much. It honestly made me cry. A wonderful reminder that my ‘I have to’s’ truly are my ‘I get to’s’. A reminder to be more appreciative. Thank you for this.

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Thank you Shannon! Glad it was a great reminder for you!

  • Stephanie Kwong

    LaTrice, you absolutely are blessed everyday. Excited for you to make the finish line with school, and for all the other amazing things I know you will create! You get to!

  • Peace Within

    When our perception changes, our whole life changes. I am glad you used this experience in a positive way. Thank you for sharing. Everything you said is on point.

  • Mafe Loreto

    wonderful read

  • Tom

    This made my day and has elevated my already appreciative gratitude for life. I don’t have to meditate, workout, go to work,etc. I am allowed these beautiful things because I am able to and the meaning behind those are often forgotten and taken for granted.

  • Stephanie Kwong

    So glad you loved it! You are incredible Heather. You always ‘get to’ do anything you choose.

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Yessssss Tom! 🙂

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Thank you Mafe!

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Thank you Peace Within! Our perception is everything! Whatever we choose it to be will determine whether we see and experience love or fear.

  • Anne

    I love this perspective. Life gets so much more beautiful when we see things this way. You are right, I get to and I will!

  • Hi Stephanie 😀

    I am glad I “get-to” to read posts like this from people like you who “get-to” inspire others, me included.

    If more of us could realize about how much we “get-to” do things in life, humanity would make a huge leap forward..

    Three words. Ultimate wisdom.

    As simple as it sounds, it is challenging to follow through. However, conscious focus on gratitude holds the key, in my opinion.

    Thanks a gazillion. 😀

  • Hey Heather.

    You “got-to” cry out of joy. Thats awesome. 🙂

  • Bob

    Steph, by looking at your profile I see you are a beautiful woman. But here’s a reality check for you, you have a horrible personality, you disgust every male that looks at you. So please (and I mean this politely) but please fuck off.

  • Hello @latricedowe:disqus

    That’s a good one.

    Its easy to forget the “get-to” attitude for education as we take it for granted. Partly because it becomes a part of our daily life for years (I’ve been going to school and now college, like forever… hehe), and we easily miss the gratitude.

    I think we can take it one step further by not restricting ourselves to the gratitude for the education we receive only. How about the fact that most of us “get-to” sleep under a roof each night and have ensured regular meals each day (we even have choice to eat a variety of food items).

    Hey @stephaniekwong:disqus, your “get-to” gratitude message is spreading like wildfire here.. 😀

  • Stephanie Kwong

    YES Anne!

  • Stephanie Kwong

    You are so welcome Ankit. One step at a time with shifting consciousness on our planet, and it looks like you are already taking those steps forward. I bet you’re creating a ripple effect too with those around you. Conscious focus on gratitude does hold the key. We get to inspire everyone to hold gratitude in their hearts!

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  • amr ali

    I love California and I love Joe strongly cold January

  • Rebecca Regnier

    “Varying shades of alive.” AMEN SISTER! Phenomenal insight Stephanie, thank you for sharing your gifts!

  • 😀

    Hi @stephaniekwong:disqus

    I certainly do love to help out people.

    My take is that through conscious awakening, we all can make the transformation and lead more meaningful lives. And this is what I aim to do to myself and help others with.

    Besides gratitude, another value I think is really important is “humility”.

    Most of the times, we are either stuck about what we don’t have (lack of gratitude) or feel too boastful about what we do have (lack of humility).

    Humility in my opinion, gives us the best platform for growth.

  • LaTrice Dowe

    Everyday, I’m thankful to have food, clothes, and a roof over my head, Ankit. It’s something that I don’t take for granted. 🙂

  • Lisa Gibson

    WOW, great piece on perspective & how it can change EVERYthing! Much needed, thank you!

  • Wow @latricedowe:disqus

    That is so cool. 😀

    You have some kind of ritual each day to do this?

    If yes, perhaps you could show me how to do it. 😀

  • This was a beautiful article Stephanie. I ‘get to’ share it with my tiny friends following through social media.. and I did it moments ago. Thanks! 😉

  • LaTrice Dowe

    I’m NOT sure if you’re a religious person, Ankit, but I get on my knees every night and pray to God for His guidance. Also, I think about my future, knowing that I have the opportunity to change my life for the better.

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    within my profíle.. ít reveals how a few
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    indíviduals without leaving theìr job

  • asdfasdf

  • when you have a few addìtíonal hours a
    day you may make about 4000 dollars per
    month from your home, in the event you
    are interested how then check for a lìnk
    that explains how íts done in my

  • I wouldn’t call myself a religious person @Latrice Dowe.

    But I can relate to you.

    In short, it is about feeling gratitude, being awe-inspired by the Infinite Intelligence and working proactively to improve or life. 🙂

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Wooohooo! Glad you liked the article and thank you for sharing Abhi!

  • Stephanie Kwong

    Thank you Rebecca! You are a miracle.

  • Stephanie Kwong

    You are so welcome Lisa!

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  • Michelle Schisler

    I loved this article so much!!!! Out of all the things I have read on Tiny Buddha, I think this has been the most helpful for me. I have a bad habit of viewing a lot of my day to day activities as “chores” or something to cross off on a “to do list”. Since I have read this, I have caught myself numerous times during that line of thinking and reminded myself of how lucky I am to be able to “get to” do these things, That I am physically and mentally capable. That even though I have things I have to attend to in my home, and that there seems to always be something that needs repaired lately, that I HAVE a home. A safe place to live. Each time I insert this mantra into something I am feeling burdened or anxiety over, I feel a small shift closer to gratitude. Thank you!!

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  • Stephanie Kwong

    I am so happy to hear that this article really resonated for you Michelle. You are SO capable, and love that you are raising your awareness to catch yourself to remember how lucky you are! 🙂

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  • Karl Stott

    That’s a really powerful story and I can already feel it transforming my cognitive processes, what ever happened to the lady on crutches?

  • Alina Shmilove

    Beautiful!! Thank you 🙂

  • Essential Rose

    This was such a great lesson! It definitely helped me see my life from the perspective of privilege instead of obligation. Thank you for opening my eyes to this shift in thinking.

  • Gandikota Khutija

    wow!!! amazing