I Don't Want To, But I need To

Whether you’re a parent, leader of a team, business owner, heck, if you work with people in any capacity; you know how big of a deal it is when the light turns on—that moment when someone gets it. A perspective shift occurs, and they see the world through a new lens or have a fresh understanding of what it means to be a part of humanity.

My oldest daughter had one of those moments recently, a sudden insight into what it means to exist. But before we get into that, let’s talk about a disease that is out there—one known as entitlement.

It seems everywhere we look, from social media to news stations, there is no shortage of people with the mentality of “I don’t need it, but I want it.” and this soon leads “I don’t want to work for it, but I deserve it.” 

We live in an age of entitlement.

Simply put, if you want something but don’t want to work for it, or if there is any privilege or special treatment you feel you inherently deserve, you’re entitled. 

I’m pretty sure this means we all have suffered a sense of entitlement at some point. I know I have, after all, I did use to be a teenager.

Back to my oldest daughter. She’s fourteen. Some of you think you know where this is going. We’ll see.

Cambria is a hard-working, driven, young woman who knows what she wants most of the time. And with that strong drive, she usually has an idea of how to get there.

She is a freshman in high school, playing volleyball, and is an active martial artist. So needless to say, there isn’t as much free time in her schedule as there was in my somewhat entitled teenage years.

A few weeks ago we were discussing her desire to get her black belt in Tang So Doo (a Korean form of martial arts), but volleyball practice and games are making it hard to attend practice sessions for martial arts.

I asked her, “How bad do you want your black belt?”

“Really bad.”

“It’s okay to take a break.”

“I’m not doing that.”

Some perspective — in martial arts, not only do you have to demonstrate proficiency in the various skills at each belt level, you also have to be consistently attending training sessions. 

“Okay, if you’re not going to take a break from martial arts, you’re going to have to attend volleyball practices/games and then head straight to Tang So Doo and still get your homework done.”

“I know.”

“So what do you want to do?”

“I don’t want to do all that work, but I need to if I want to be involved in both.”

I don’t want to, but I need to.

How many times in a day can I employ that mentality? How many people who want something need to understand that the path to what they want is filled with I don’t want to, but I need to moments.

Life is hard, and there are many good things out there that don’t come to those who wait.

Many of the good things in this world come to those who work hard and never give up. My daughter is starting to see this, and it makes me so happy.

We could all benefit from a little bit of I don’t want to, but I need to.