top of page

You Don’t Have To!

We all think we have to...

Many people believe they have to be a certain way or believe certain things. I was talking to a friend about this and he asked, “What do you mean?”

Here’s the story...

I had a major breakthrough in a conversation with my Dad. He said to me,

“Zach, you don’t have to do everything you want to do.”

Take a moment to let that sink in. You don’t have to do all the things you want to do. Brain explosion, right?

Here’s some back story...

I’m a guy who wants to create as much as humanly possible, as many projects as possible, whatever they may be. I could list all the creative stuff I do, but let’s get to the point. I put enormous pressure on myself, believing that it's life or death, whatever it is. I have a concept in my book about giving ourselves unreasonable deadlines to get things done. The idea was that reasonable deadlines lead to procrastination. But there needs to be balance. Sometimes we need to step back and realign with our mission and vision. Does this fit into my mission and vision, where I want to go?

A few months later, I packed up the van and headed to Palm Springs to help my buddy flip a property. On the way to California, I had an epiphany: “I am willing to sacrifice not achieving some particular self-imposed creative goal if in return I get happiness, joy, contentment, peace of mind, and a great relationship with my wife.”

I don’t have to. I have a choice.

This led me to a train of thought.

People think they have to...

You have to be a Republican or a Democrat or a liberal… You have to be either Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever, but you can only be one. You have to post on Facebook five times a day… You have to only do one single thing as a career… You have to buy a house… You have to have kids… You have to…

You get the point.

Here’s the magic sauce: you don’t have to do anything except what you think you have to do. Deciding what you have to do is the key to unlocking a new path and outlook.

The only thing you have to do is be at peace, feel good and healthy, and live in the moment.

This is a letter I wrote to an artist friend on this topic:

When we find ourselves in this type of place, we need to return to our foundation. We should ask ourselves: what is our vision, mission, and objective, and why?

Why do we need to continue on a certain path? Why is it important to us?

Often, we find that we believe we have to because we’ve put ourselves into a box and shackled ourselves to our own ideas and expectations.

Our vision, mission, and objectives are flexible and should be reanalyzed regularly, especially at times like this.

I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been there many times.

In addition to self-reflection regarding vision, mission, etc., I like to switch gears. By doing this, I release the tension of the “have to’s.”

(Note: when I say switch gears, I mean try something new. Explore other ideas. Find that child inside.)

Let’s face it, you don’t have to. You think you do, but the truth is you don’t.

We all get caught up in the “have to’s.”

“We have to keep doing the same thing over and over again.” “We have to make the same type of art or creative project.” “We have to be either a ‘materialist’ or an abstract expressionist, or a realist, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Democrat, or a Republican.”


What we have to be is content, at peace, balanced, feeling love and passion, and importantly, we have to keep the lights on and food on the table.

I talk about a concept in my book called, “you can’t have your head in the clouds when your feet need to be on the ground.”

We all like to get caught up in our heads, but we need to get back to reality and take action.

So, the vision, the mission, and the WHY are crucial. This sets us in motion towards an action plan and, essentially, our momentum. If that’s what we want.

By the way, there’s no problem with being an artist and just chilling out making art. Essentially, that’s what needs to happen anyway. We need to create.

As we self-reflect, we begin to take an inventory of ourselves, our assets and liabilities, and we put together a plan to fill in the gaps.

So, I know this is long, but it’s because you asked me what I would do if I were you.

I would start back at the beginning.

Who am I? Why am I here? Why am I doing what I’m doing? Do I have to?

Then, after taking that inventory, we get honest with ourselves and ask, “What actions could I be taking that I’m not?”

Many times, we ask a lot of questions, but deep down, we already know the answer.

Do you need a website? Are you making art? Have you pigeonholed yourself to believe you have to be this or that? Are you really enjoying the process? Where’s the passion?

Here’s the next part. Right here, if you’ve made it this far, is where TRUTH starts boiling up. Your “truth.”

We make up a bunch of dogmas, rules, and viewpoints about the world that make us see the world a certain way and ultimately keep us from taking the actions we need to take. Maybe it’s political views, religious views, whatever it is. Either way, we use that as a barrier to getting what we want.

It’s fascinating, really. It’s human nature.

Let me assure you, it’s okay to do something else, it’s okay to be someone else, it’s okay to be somewhere else.

Hope you found a little golden nugget in this blog. Thank you for reading a be sure to subscribe.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page