Gotta Practice vs. Get to Practice

I gotta practice.

I get to practice.

What’s the difference between these two statements? Here’s how I think about it.

It’s an interesting thing to think about (especially on long drives), but I always land on the same conclusion:

Here in the 21st century, we have it the best anyone has ever had it.

We’ve won the lottery.

The data is pretty clear: this is the best time to be alive by almost any measure: life expectancy, quality of life, freedom from violence, etc. As much as people complain about what the world is coming to, life has never been better.

We also live in a time when more people can learn a musical instrument than ever before. The internet has made that possible, and I can speak from experience: I learned to play the guitar from YouTube videos put out by this guy, Justin Sandercoe. I’ve never met Justin, but I can play the guitar because of him. Not well, mind you, but I understand the basics of the instrument. This is an incredible time to be alive.

There have been millions and millions of human beings throughout history who did not have the chance to make music during their lives. I am incredibly lucky.

We don’t gotta practice. We get to practice. It’s a difference worth remembering.