The “Get To” Shift

Our daughter, being eight, says something like, “But do I have to…?!” most days.

Shortly after that, on being told that yes she does have to, she’ll give a big sigh and say, “Okaaaay…” then go off to do whatever thing is needed.

I’ve seen a similar energy around the viva and viva prep on many occasions:

  • Do I have to read all my thesis before the viva?
  • Do I have to do a certain task as part of my prep?
  • Do I even have to have a viva?!

It’s hard sometimes to find words to explain helpful things in “have to” terms.

A few years ago Seth Godin published a short post that always helps me to shift my thinking when I “have to” do something. As a result I try to find a way to think of my “have to” as a “get to” instead.

You don’t have to have a viva: thankfully you get to have a viva. You get to have a viva after years of work and development. You worked hard and got this far, now you get to have a discussion with your two examiners.

The difference between “have to” and “get to” works well to shift my perspective and it also works well when thinking about the viva.

(or when explaining things to eight year olds!)