Get to It: A Lesson in Positivity Through Fallen Heroes

I can guarantee that Boston firefighters Walsh and Kennedy, despite the risk of the job, loved what they did everyday.

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at around 2:43pm, a fire broke out in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. There, two firefighters would find themselves trapped in the basement of a four-story inferno. Sadly, neither Lt. Edward Walsh (pictured below), 43, nor firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, would make it out alive. Walsh, a nine-year Boston Fire Department veteran, left behind his wife and three children (all under the age of ten), while Kennedy, a CrossFit coach and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, left behind family and a saddened community.

Listening to the radio communication on the fire scene that day sent chills up my spine and really put into perspective the danger of the job. Sometimes we take these dangers for granted, but there have already been 33 firefighter fatalities so far in 2014.

As a firefighter, sometimes you are put in a situation that could not be avoided. No two fires are the same, no two police calls are the same, and no two military operations are ever the same. In emergency services, the only thing you can do is be prepared and never let your physical conditioning be the reason you’re put in a bad place.

Firefighters Walsh and Kennedy were met with horrible conditions and put in an unavoidable situation. While I wanted to share this with the Breaking Muscle community and show my respect to these heroes, I hope this makes you think about one of my favorite concepts in life.

The Get-Toer Versus the Got-Toer

“Ugh, I’ve got to [fill in the blank] today,” said the Got-Toer

“You don’t got to, you get to,” replied the Get-Toer.

For some the fill-in-the-blank might be a workout, going to a job, attending a family event, or watching the kids. Simply put, the Got-Toer sees everything as a chore or a burden, almost like someone is holding a gun to his or her head and saying, “Come on, you’ve got to do this.”

But the Get-Toers realize that every time they workout, go to work, or see their family, they are privileged and fortunate enough to get to do it. The Get-Toer only does things that he or she enjoys doing. Being a Get-Toer, you don’t have money or having the best abs on the beach as your end-goal, you have a privileged mindset and are looking for overall quality of life. I’d rather be 100% happy with everything I do during the day, than to wake up punching the alarm clock saying, “Ugh, another day of work.” And I can guarantee that firefighters Walsh and Kennedy (pictured below), despite the risk of the job, loved what they did everyday.

How to Get a Get-Toer Mindset

1. Assess

Think about all the times in the last week you thought, “Ugh, I’ve got to _____ today.”

2. Find the Positive

Look for the upside in every situation. “I’ve got to workout today!” No, you’re fortunate enough to be able to workout. “I’ve got to go to work.” Please, be grateful you have a job, fool, so either suck it up or get a new one.

3. Get Rid of the Negativity

There are always people around who will pull you down. Disassociate yourself from them as quickly as possible. Getting rid of people hurts, but it’s imperative for your self-development. You must also stop doing the things that are causing negative thoughts. Take a step back and examine which tasks are causing these feelings.

4. Share Your Newfound Positivity With Others

Once you find that inner balance, then share it with others. If you hear someone who sounds like a Got-Toer, do what you can to enlighten him or her on your newfound outlook on life. People appreciate positivity, and the more you share it with others, the more you are enforcing it with yourself. You’ll never hear people say they don’t want to hang around someone who is too positive.

Homework: Your Obituary – Two Ways

At the end of your life you will have an obituary written about you. In it, your life’s work will be summed up. Your assignment today is to write your own obituary – but you’re going to write it two different ways.

Obituary One: Write it as a life of mediocrity, a path you could potentially be going down currently as a Got-Toer. If you continued down the current path, how would your obituary ead? Are you lonely because you don’t make an effort to form lasting relationships? Are you making the impact you want in your current career? Have you not traveled enough?
Obituary Two: Write this one where you have led a life of fulfillment as a Get-Toer. You have made the impact you always wanted to. You are surrounded by a loving family, have economic freedom, and have been on some awesome adventures along the way.

If you do this authentically, you’ll find this exercise powerful and one of the more important ones you will ever do. By writing these out, you’ll see all of the amazing things that can happen when you make the right choices and have a positive mindset – as opposed to living a life you’re always intending to live, full of I’ll-get-to-it-tomorrows.

The horrible events like that of these fallen heroes should serve as a reminder to the rest of us. A reminder that life is fragile and those minor things we complain about are just that – minor. It will be sad to read the obituaries of the two firefighters because of all the life they will not get to live, but I am confident they were on the right path to living a life they loved.

The Boston Fire Department is in our hearts. It’s people like this that keep us safe and allow us to get to go home safe to our families. Thank you.

Photo 3 courtesy of Shutterstock.